in the United Kingdom is a minor secondary or tertiary road. In 2000 the legal term 'restricted byway' was introduced to cover roads on which it is possible to travel by any mode (including on foot, bicycle, horse-drawn carriage etc.) but not using 'mechanically propelled vehicles'.
Byway Open to All Traffic
In England & Wales, a Byway Open to All Traffic (BOAT) is a highway over which the public have a right of way for vehicular and all other kinds of traffic but which is used by the public mainly for the purpose for which footpaths and bridleways are used. (United Kingdom Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984
The Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 is an Act of Parliament in the United Kingdom, which provided powers to regulate or restrict traffic on UK roads, in the interest of safety. It superseded some earlier legislation, including the majority of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1967...
, section 15(9)(c), as amended by Road Traffic (Temporary Restrictions) Act 1991, Schedule 1). Byways account for less than 2% of England's unsurfaced Rights of Way network.
A byway open to all traffic is sometimes waymarked
Waymarking is an activity where people locate and log interesting locations around the world, usually with a GPS receiver and a digital camera. Waymarking differs from geocaching in that there is no physical container to locate at the given coordinates. Waymarking identifies points of interest for...
using a red arrow on a metal or plastic disc or by red paint dots on posts and trees.
On 2 May 2006 the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000
The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 is a UK Act of Parliament which came into force on 30 November 2000.As of September 2007, not all sections of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act have yet come into force...
reclassified all remaining Roads Used as Public Paths as restricted byways
. The public's rights along a restricted byway are to travel:
- on foot
- on horseback or leading a horse
- by vehicle other than mechanically propelled vehicles (e.g. bicycles, horse-drawn carriages)
In rural areas such roads can often be unmetalled – when they are known as green lane
A green lane is a type of road, usually an unpaved rural route.-England and Wales:In particular, a green lane is unsurfaced, and may be so infrequently used that there is no wearing of the surface, allowing vegetation to colonise freely, hence 'green'...
s. Such roads are lawful highways open to all traffic, although they often have the appearance of being no more than glorified tracks.
Nature and history of byways
Some by-ways that have not been over modernised retain traces of the aggers (or ditches) that originally ran along each side of the lane; good examples of this can be seen along the side of the Roman
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....
Ermine Street is the name of a major Roman road in England that ran from London to Lincoln and York . The Old English name was 'Earninga Straete' , named after a tribe called the Earningas, who inhabited a district later known as Armingford Hundred, around Arrington, Cambridgeshire and Royston,...
" as it crosses through Lincolnshire
Lincolnshire is a county in the east of England. It borders Norfolk to the south east, Cambridgeshire to the south, Rutland to the south west, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire to the west, South Yorkshire to the north west, and the East Riding of Yorkshire to the north. It also borders...
. By contrast, straight enclosure roads which were laid out between 1760 and 1840 run through the then newly enclosed lands with straight walls or hedges.
Many former Roman roads were later used as convenient parish boundaries – unlike the newer enclosure roads which rarely ran along boundaries but were solely designed to give access from a village to its newly created fields and to the neighbouring villages. The latter can often be seen to bend and change width at the parish boundary and as such reflect the work of the different surveyors who had each built a road from a village to its boundary. If the roads did not meet up exactly, which was quite common, a sharp double bend would result.
Many British byways are sinuous, as the poet G. K. Chesterton
Gilbert Keith Chesterton, KC*SG was an English writer. His prolific and diverse output included philosophy, ontology, poetry, plays, journalism, public lectures and debates, literary and art criticism, biography, Christian apologetics, and fiction, including fantasy and detective fiction....
- The rolling English drunkard made the rolling English road,
- A reeling road, a rolling road, that rambles round the shire . . .
- A merry road, a mazy road, and such as we did tread
- The night we went to Birmingham
Birmingham is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands of England. It is the most populous British city outside the capital London, with a population of 1,036,900 , and lies at the heart of the West Midlands conurbation, the second most populous urban area in the United Kingdom with a...
by way of Beachy Head
Beachy Head is a chalk headland on the south coast of England, close to the town of Eastbourne in the county of East Sussex, immediately east of the Seven Sisters. The cliff there is the highest chalk sea cliff in Britain, rising to 162 m above sea level. The peak allows views of the south...