All public rights of way in Pembrokeshire – footpaths, bridleways and byways are recorded in the Definitive Map and Definitive Statement. If a way is shown on the map then it is conclusive evidence of public rights along the way unless there has been a legally authorised amendment. However, the fact that a way is not shown on the map is not proof that the public has no rights over it and thus, the map may be subject to change.
Pembrokeshire County Council has a statutory duty, under the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981, to keep the map up to date. The Council also has a duty to investigate any application to add or delete rights of way or to change their status – either by upgrading or downgrading.
The Definitive map is accompanied by the Definitive Statement. This is a description which may contain more information about individual paths, such as the start and end points, width of the way, etc.
The Definitive Map and Statement can be inspected at County Hall in Haverfordwest during normal office hours (9.00am - 5.00pm, Monday – Friday). No prior appointment is necessary but you are advised to contact the Conservation Team beforehand to ensure that an officer is on hand to assist with any queries you might have regarding the map.
The history (and future) of the Definitive Map and Statement
The first Definitive Map came into existence as a result of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949, which required all County Councils in England and Wales to carry out a survey of their area and produce a map showing footpaths, bridleways and byways which were, or could reasonably be alleged to be public rights of way. This was referred to as the draft map and was accompanied by a draft statement and was open to objection.
The Secretary of State dealt with all objections, either confirming or rejecting them and a provisional map and statement was produced. This led to the production of the first Definitive Map and Statement in 1960. The Definitive Map is under continuous review and changes are made to it by Definitive Map Modification Orders as they occur. There have been many changes since 1960 therefore we are consolidating all legal events since then and will republish a Consolidated Definitive Map and Statement in September 2010.