Rombalds Riding

Rombalds District Bridleways

Main menu

Historic Problems

More Information

There are historical reasons for the missing or under recorded paths. These stem from the making of the Definitive Map in 1950s, when the first legal records of rights of way were compiled.

In 1950, each local council carried out a survey recording every right of way they believed to be public. In our area the information was then sent to the West Riding County Council who were responsible for compiling the Draft Map and Statement. These were put on public display for consultation in 1953. That consultation resulted in a total of 3,495 objections from landowners.

Surprisingly, many of them were omnibus objections from Statutory Authorities such as, the British Transport Commission, British Railways, the Water Board, Forestry Commission and even on local council owned land. Many of the footpaths and bridleways were deleted from the map then but hopefully times have changed and they could be restored now. 40

Bridleways were particularly badly affected and unless you have actually tried to use the local bridleway network on a horse or a bicycle yourself, you are unlikely to realise how fragmented it is in some areas. 

The main reason for this is that under the 1949 Act, a new category of right of way was created; these were called Roads Used as Public Paths (RUPPS). These lanes and tracks formed the sustainable basis of the bridleway network. However, when the WRCC realised the extent of the RUPPs for which they were to become responsible, they decided to reduce it by downgrading most of them. The picture on the left is a RUPP in Denholme which was reduced to footpath status.

WRCC took the view that there was no need to formally advertise the changes. At the time the public were totally unaware of this, and so had no opportunity to object.  In our area, Area 1, a total of 439 RUPPs were changed to footpaths. In Keighley alone there were 29, in Pudsey 13 and in Otley 10.


In the Wharfedale Rural District area, where most of the bridleway network was comprised of country lanes, there was only one bridleway left between Nesfield and Otley by the time the Definitive Map was published in 1973. These are just a few examples.

Sue Hogg’s paper on RUPPs  explains the process in more detail- Microsoft Word – WRRUPPs 2007

Site by Simon Battersby Consulting Ltd