Rights of Way

Public rights of way are paths along which the public has a legal right to pass and repass. You may also come across 'permitted paths', which are available by landowner permission rather than by legal right. The public rights of way network is managed and maintained by Exmoor National Park Authority which has delegated powers from Devon and Somerset County Councils.  This means that most maintenance duties, signing and waymarking are undertaken by Exmoor National Park Authority. Maintenance of gates and of overhanging vegetation (e.g. trees and hedges) is the responsibility of the landowner by law, but the National Park Authority undertakes some of these works in cooperation with landowners to ensure that the public rights of way network remains in excellent condition.

We use different colours on our path signs so you know what kind of path you are on. The table below shows you the different types of path and who has  a legal right to use them.

Path TypePublic FootpathPublic BridlewayRestricted Byway
Waymark ColourYellowBluePurple
Who can useWalkers onlyWalkers
Horse Riders
Horse Riders
Carriage  Drivers

waymark colour graphic

Reports from members of the public can be very helpful, as Rangers are not able to be everywhere at once!

There are several ways to report a problem on a path:

Reporting MethodDetails
phone01398 323665
Report an Issue anywhere in the National ParkSomerset County Council interactive mapping system
View Network (Somerset)Somerset County Council interactive mapping system
View Ranger AreasRanger Primary Contact Areas Map
For urgent issues during weekends or bank holidaysPlease call our Duty Ranger on 07970 099111
(available between 9am-5pm)