Public rights of way provide a healthy, safe and sustainable way to access the countryside and other local services.
They are used extensively and generate investment in the Suffolk economy through tourism.
Suffolk has 3,500 miles of public rights of way and over 12,000 acres of open access. This provides car-free access throughout Suffolk, from bustling market towns to open heath land and other areas of outstanding natural beauty.
Through the Countryside and Rights of Way Act (2000) the government recognises the value of public rights of way and requires each highways authority to produce a Rights of Way Improvement Plan (ROWIP) in order to identify changes that will "improve provision for walkers, cyclists, horse riders and those with mobility problems".
In order to develop a ROWIP highways authorities are required to assess:
• The extent to which local rights of way meet present and future needs of the public.
• The opportunities provided by local rights of way and in particular by footpaths, cycle-tracks, bridleways and restricted byways for exercise and other forms of open-air recreation and the enjoyment of their area.
• The accessibility of local rights of way to blind or partially sighted persons and others with mobility problems.
Suffolk's first ROWIP was published in 2006 and titled "In Step With Suffolk". It was published following widespread consultation and included information on the extent, condition and use of the public rights of way network. The ROWIP was a 10-year plan that highlighted the key role that public rights of way play in maintaining and improving quality of life in the county. The plan recognised that public rights of way are linked to issues such as sustainable transport, local economy, recreation, tourism and health. The latest ROWIP entitled "Suffolk Green Access Strategy" (PDF, 2.1MB) and covering 2020 to 2030 is available now.
How to explore public rights of way
You can find:
- downloadable working copies of the Definitive Map of Suffolk's public rights of way
- details of landowner statements about village greens in Suffolk
- how to report a public rights of way issue online
Suffolk's public rights of way website also contains information for rights of way users and land managers. You can find out more about the different types of rights of way and access, and what your rights and responsibilities are when using or managing them.
Discover Suffolk is our countryside website for walks and rides in Suffolk. Our county is best explored on foot, from a bicycle or on horse-back. From the Brecks to the Sandlings and from the Broads to the estuaries.
Suffolk offers a wealth of opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors, with miles of marked paths, two Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, long distance footpaths and national cycle routes.
Within Discover Suffolk you will find inspiration on everything from a riverside stroll for all the family to a day long hike along secluded valleys.