23rd October 2017

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Footpaths and Rights of Way in Leigh Village

Leigh parish is fortunate in that it possesses over 50 Rights of Way which occur in a variety of landscapes. While the first record of a footpath in Leigh occurred in the village map of 1805 there is little doubt that they existed for many years before that date, indeed many may well date back to Medieval times, and were used by farmers and village folk as they went about their daily activities.

All of the Rights of Way are accessible to both residents and visitors, with many leading directly from the centre of the village. With the passage of time the orientation/route of some have changed, but in most cases the present pattern is a fair reflection of what has existed for many centuries.

 Leigh footpath - footpath from Back Drove near to The Pound
Footpath from Back Drove near to The Pound.

Maintaining and Increasing Access

The opportunity to use footpaths as a recreational asset is now recognised as an essential part of both rural and urban life, so footpaths, bridle ways, and byways need to be in good order.

Some footpaths cross stiles and gates which can cause problems for people with limited mobility. This problem has been recognised by Dorset County Council and it is now their policy to erect gates in places where a need is demonstrated

Rights of Way are maintained by Dorset County Council, but those who use them also have a part to play in their upkeep. Users are encouraged to follow the Countryside Code and should remain vigilant, since some footpaths cross pasture land containing livestock.

If you use any footpaths, rights of way etc, please contact our local Footpath Officer if you encounter:

  • Poor signage
  • Too much signage
  • Routes obstructed by foliage or growth
  • Routes obstructed by other items


Where signposted, footpaths are indicated by Yellow Arrows, bridleways by Blue Arrows, and BOATS (Byways Open to All Traffic) by Black Arrows. Red arrows indicate the Stanley Waterfall Way set up in memory of Stanley Waterfall MBE in recognition of the fine work he did over many years to encourage the use and upkeep of our footpaths.

Landowners also sometimes set up Permissive Paths which walkers can use at the discretion of the land-owners; these are indicated by green arrows, but they are not designed to replace ROWs.

On the maps of the Parish, the broken red lines indicate footpaths, the green lines indicate public bridleways, and the black thick lines indicate BOATS. The only BOATS in Leigh Parish are Longbridge Drove, Bolters Drove and a short stretch of footpath Seivers Lane is a Restricted Byway, that is a Byway which cannot be used by mechanical vehicles.

Each parish has its own specific code reference. Leigh Parish is N18 followed by the footpath number.

 top of page Download Maps and Guidance Information

An Ordnance Survey map is available for download which shows all Rights of Way in Leigh Parish. Dorset County Council will hold the definitive map, but these things change rarely so the one here can be used as a reasonable guide.

 download Notes for Guidance on Rights of Way PDF Notes for guidance on Rights of Way - Dorset County Council - download PDF
 download Leigh Rights of Way map Leigh Parish Rights of Way Map - 3200 x 2400px - download JPG image - 4.6Mb
 download Stanley Waterfall Way map Stanley Waterfall Way - 3315 x 2325px - download JPG image - 1.6Mb

All new residents of Leigh receive a Welcome Pack which contains a map showing all the Rights of Way in the Parish. Copies are also available from the Footpath Liaison Officer (01935 873 172 - trevorevans61@uwclub.net).

The two photographs below illustrate the quite different characteristics found in the Rights of Way in Leigh Parish.

Bridle path leading to footpath N18/25 from the Batcombe Road.

Part of Church Lane Footpath N18/8.

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