A public footpath charter has been drawn up by Pulborough Parish Council in a bid to outline the responsibilities of landowners and walkers.
The council says that landowners have an obligation to make footpaths accessible to individuals, and individuals using footpaths have responsibilities to landowners. It says the charter defines each party’s responsibilities and obligations.
Ian Hare, vice chairman of the council’s recreation and open spaces committee, said: “As a landowner with a footpath running through my property, I understand the responsibilities for maintaining it, and, as a footpath user, I’m disappointed when I attempt to use a footpath which is blocked or not maintained properly.
“I’m also conscious that some footpath users do not use the footpath responsibly when walking or running through my private land. I felt the time was right to propose that we draft a charter to publicise each party’s obligations.”
He added: “The vast majority of walkers do respect the fact they are walking through either a farmer’s or householder’s land. However, some do not appreciate the fact that both they and their dogs should stick to the footpath and not stray into adjacent land. Equally, there is an obligation to clear up dog mess and litter, and not cause damage to the landowner’s property.”
West Sussex County Council has responsibility for working with landowners and footpath users to ensure that the amenity is maintained and used responsibly.
Contact details for the officer responsible are provided in the charter as well as contact details for Pulborough Parish Council, which has close local knowledge of the footpaths within its parish.
West Sussex County Council can be contacted by both footpath users and landowners at firstname.lastname@example.org