Public rights of way (PRoW) are highways that allow the public a legal right of passage.
The permanence of a ProW is guided by the principle "once a highway, always a highway", so it remains a highway until there is a legal event to close, divert or extinguish it as a PRoW.
A PRoW can be established in one of three ways:
express dedication - where the landowner has given the public a right of use over their land;
presumed dedication - where the public have used a right of way for a longer time than anyone can remember; or
deemed dedication - where a right of way has been in use for 20 years or more.
The highway authorities keep definitive maps of public rights of way. They provide conclusive evidence of the existence of a PRoW.
Most frequently asked questions (IPROW)