This may help explain for a start –   also see in our Files 

In the United Kingdom, a byway open to all traffic (BOAT) is a highway over which the public have a right of way for vehicular and all other kinds of traffic but which is used by the public mainly for the purpose for which footpaths and bridleways are used.

In rural areas such roads can often be unmetalled – when they are known as green lanes. Such roads are lawful highways open to all traffic, although they often have the appearance of being no more than glorified tracks.


Full info on what BOATS are and how they are managed via the LARA organisation that SGWI liaised with during the public inquiry 2011, on section 2 is the notation of the North Yorks National Parks precedent, which we both used and which the inquiry at Stonehenge reinforced – fundamentally if something is legally open dont expect them all to arrive on foot or bike or horse!!!

United Kingdom Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, section 15(9)(c), as amended by Road Traffic (Temporary Restrictions) Act 1991, Schedule 1). Byways account for less than 2% of England’s unsurfaced Rights of Way network, the remainder being footpaths and bridleways.

CROW – 2 May 2006 the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 reclassified all remaining Roads Used as Public Paths as restricted byways. The public’s rights along a restricted byway are to travel:[1]

  • on foot
  • on horseback or leading a horse
  • by vehicle other than mechanically propelled      vehicles (thus permitting e.g. bicycles, horse-drawn carriages, to travel      along restricted byways)

The Restricted Byways (Application and Consequential Amendment of Provisions) Regulations 2006

ROW – Rights of Way  England and Wales, public rights of way are paths on which the public have a legally protected right to pass and re-pass.

Scotland, a right of way is a route over which the public has been able to pass unhindered for at least 20 years.[1] The route must link two “public places”, such as villages, churches or roads. Unlike in England and Wales there is no obligation on Scottish local authorities to signpost or mark a right of way

HOW TO CLOSE A BOAT – its not easy, and any closure may be overturned by change of council, political or legal challenge

A BOAT may in time become a restricted byway as per the CROW ACT – what has to happen to lose Open to ALL traffic?

An explanation is here via the forum of Trail Riders

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