A cross-field public footpath

A cross-field public footpath

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Credit: DR JEREMY BURGESS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: A cross-field path in Norfolk, UK, recently reinstated by use of broad-spectrum herbicide. In England and Wales, the public has a preserved legal right to use public footpaths for walking. This right can conflict with the growing of crops by landowners. The landowner is responsible for keeping the path clear of growing crops other than grass for hay or silage. Cross-field paths may unavoidably be removed during ploughing operations. In this case, the landowner has a duty to make good the surface; legally within 24h if no crop is sown, or within 14days if a crop is sown. This timetable may not alway be adhered to due to weather conditions or other factors. This picture shows a Spring-sown barley field that has been sprayed with herbicide along the line of a public footpath that had previously been destroyed by ploughing in preparation for the crop

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Keywords: cereal crop, cross-field path, farming, footpath, hay, herbicide, path destruction, path maintenance, path reinstatement, public footpath, right of way, silage

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