The Definitive Map

Suffolk County Council has a statutory responsibility to maintain and update the definitive map and statement on which all public rights of way are recorded. The recording of a route on the definitive map is conclusive evidence in law of status, position and existence of the public rights of way.

The working copy of the definitive map can be viewed at Phoenix House in Ipswich, or at your local Area Rights of Way Office. Your district or parish council also has copies relevant to their areas, but they may not be as up to date.

The working copy definitive map is held on parish based negatives at 1:10,000 scale. If you would like a map for walking we recommend Explorer maps available at your local book or camping shops, or online via the Ordnance Survey website.

The definitive map is accompanied by a definitive statement which may define the position or width of a right of way shown on the map and describe limitations such as stiles or kissing gates, although the statements do vary in the amount of detail they include. The definitive statement is also held at Phoenix House and at the Area Rights of Way Offices. Both the map and statement can be viewed on request.

Changing the definitive map and statement

There may be unrecorded public rights of way in existence whose legal status can only be determined by evidence. Anyone can make a claim to the County Council for a route that they believe to be a public right of way to be added to the definitive map by means of a definitive map modification order (DMMO). Evidence of public rights of way can come from historical documents and/or from a continuous period of public use. The County Council maintains an online register of DMMO applications.  

Guidance to the definitve map modification order process and the application forms can be found on the Application forms and Guidance notes page.

More detail on the process of making a change to the definitive map can be found in Natural England's publication NE112 - A guide to definitive maps and making changes to public rights of way.

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If you are a landowner and wish to prevent a claim for a new right of way on your land you can find information about submitting a Statement and Declaration.

Occasionally some public rights of way in Suffolk are subject to Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs) prohibiting use by certain categories of user. For further information about TROs and to see a register of where TROs are in force please follow this link Traffic Regulation Orders.