TW2 currently records 3 types of route, in the form of ‘layers’ which are overlaid onto OS basemaps. Each layer can be displayed separately, or they can all be displayed together. It’s important to understand which is which, and how they have been established.
UCRs (coloured blue in TW2)
This layer is a record of all non-classified roads which are denoted “ORPA” on 2017 Ordnance Survey Maps. ORPA stands for Other Route with Public Access and is intended to indicate a highway that is included on the List of Streets Maintainable at Public Expense. Every local authority is required to keep a List of Streets which includes all publicly maintainable highways. Although it does not directly deal with public rights, there is a common presumption that all rural ways included on the List of Streets carry public vehicular rights unless there is evidence to the contrary. Some local authorities have a disclaimer on their List of Streets to the effect that inclusion of a route is not proof of vehicular rights, so it is important to check the position with your local GLASS rep or the local Highway Authority before you drive any ORPA/UCR. Some ORPAs are remnants of old roads which have been bypassed but not legally stopped up. They may be cul-de-sacs, or impassable, or even dangerous to use.
ORPAs are often referred to as UCRs because these minor public highways were generally known as Unclassified County Roads. These days the term ‘UCR’ has no legal meaning - some councils have other terminology which they use, such as “Non-Classified Highway” (NCH), “E Road”, or similar.
Whilst ORPAs are shown on OS maps as having public access, the depiction of a road, track or path of any description on an Ordnance Survey map is, of itself, no evidence of a public right of way.
Some UCRs have Traffic Regulation Orders (i.e. they are subject to a legal ban on vehicles) or display “Unsuitable for Motor Vehicles” signs. The latter are not a mandatory restriction, but a TRO sign (a red circle with a picture of a black car and/or motor cycle) is mandatory and denotes a legal restriction. A white plate underneath may give limits of the restriction.
BOATs (coloured red in TW2)
This layer shows all the routes shown on the local Highway Authorities’ Definitive Maps and Statements as Byways Open to All Traffic (BOAT).
Legally, these are open to all forms of traffic – pedestrians, horse riders, cyclists and car and other motor vehicle drivers. These routes are often marked with waymarkers having red arrows. In practice a BOAT may be impassable due to poor maintenance or encroaching trees, overgrowth, or obstructions of some type. Some BOATs are narrow, and only suitable for small MPVs or motor bikes.
Some BOATs have Traffic Regulation Orders (i.e. they are subject to a legal ban on vehicles) or display “Unsuitable for Motor Vehicles” signs. The latter are not a mandatory restriction, but a TRO sign (a red circle with a picture of a black car and/or motor cycle) is mandatory and denotes a legal restriction. A white plate underneath may give limits of the restriction.
Section 66(1) of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 defines a byway open to all traffic (“BOAT”) as: “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 so used”.
Definitive Maps generally have a reference number for each route and TW2 provides space to record this information. Local reps are requested to identify these references where they are not shown and advise TW2 admin.
Legacy Routes (coloured purple in TW2)
This layer shows routes that were recorded in the previous version of Trailwise. Don’t rely on these for route planning as the information may well be out of date.
Legacy routes may be useful for referring back to comments and user evidence left by users in the previous version of Trailwise, e.g. for finding further information on lanes that may have been previously recorded, such as details of obstructions or surface description etc.