Rights of Way Improvement Plans (RoWIP) are the prime means for the Local Highway Authority to identify and prioritise actions to bring outdoor access up-to-date. This addresses the public need for recreation, sport, transport, health, economy, land-management, tourism and planning. Meaning it can fully benefit our way of life today.

The Dorset Rights of Way Improvement Plan identifies the key issues that need to be addressed to develop and improve the network.

Information about RoWIPs

A RoWIP is made up of 2 parts.

Part 1 of a RoWIP

The first part of the assessment looks at the current strengths and weaknesses of the access for legitimate:

  • walking
  • horse riding
  • cycling
  • horse-drawn carriage driving
  • use of a vehicle

It also looks at:

  • how easy it is for people of all needs and abilities to use, including people with impaired vision and mobility issues
  • what opportunities we have to develop and improve the access resource to meet people's needs today and in the future

Part 2 of a RoWIP

The second part is the action plan which lists the work and resources needed to realise these opportunities and develop an improved access network.

The RoWIP review and timetable

The current Dorset RoWIP is under review. The review will be informed through an assessment process which involves evidence gathering, research and consultation.

The delivery timetable

May to December 2021

Between May and December 2021 we will:

  • evaluate the current RoWIP assessment and action plan, looking at its relevance, what can stay the same or needs updating, the achievements, and any barriers
  • carry out research and information gathering
  • analyse asset condition and character
  • analyse available data and information
  • identify the current management, maintenance, issues, resources, opportunities and threats
  • gather evidence from organisations, groups and the public
  • interpret research and information gathered and compare with current RoWIP

July to October 2024

We will draft the new RoWIP for 2025 to 2035

October to December 2024

We will:

  • hold a public consultation on the new plan
  • input consultation responses into the new plan

March 2025

We will seek approval of the new plan by the Dorset Council Cabinet, and if approved the RoWIP for 2025 to 2035 will be published in summer 2025.

The new RoWIP plan 2023 to 2033

Our hope is that the new RoWIP 2023 to 2033 will provide an improved and effective outdoor access network benefiting a range of social, economic, and environmental issues that affect our lives today and in the future. 

We hope the network can help to:

  • reduce carbon emissions
  • enable people to walk, ride and cycle and reduce car journeys
  • contribute to green infrastructure in both rural and urban areas
  • provide local path networks where people can enjoy the outdoors, and meet members of their community
  • provide easy access to greenspace to aid health and wellbeing
  • protect the natural environment and landscape through sensitive land management
  • conserve and protect paths and their infrastructure, preserving the local character of Dorset
  • ensure Dorset is an attractive place to live and work
  • improve tourism in the area by providing well maintained greenspace for leisure activities
  • support agriculture and local farmers and land owners
  • support conservation and forestry work and education in these areas
  • build valuable greenspace corridors for people and wildlife
  • enable all residents and visitors in Dorset to access and enjoy the countryside

Service Manager for Coast and Greenspace

Name: Giles Nicholson
Name: Service Manager for Coast and Greenspace
Email: giles.nicholson@dorsetcouncil.gov.uk
Tel: 01258 456970
Full contact details

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