Countryside Access - Monlife

Countryside Access

MonLife’s Countryside Access team manages 2,165 km of public rights of way and nine countryside access sites. Further information on exploring the countryside and walking in Monmouthshire is available on There are nine countryside sites which are directly managed by MonLife’s Countryside Access team.

Caldicot Castle Country Park and Tintern Old Station are also managed by MonLife.

There are four types of public right of way.

Footpaths– for walking, running, mobility scooters or powered wheelchairs.  These are marked with a symbol for a walking man and/or a yellow arrow

Bridleways – for walking, horse riding, bicycles, mobility scooters or powered wheelchairs.  These are signed with a symbol for horse rider and often marked with a blue arrow

Restricted byways – for any transport without a motor and mobility scooters or powered wheelchairs.  These are signed with a symbol for a horse and cart and often a purple waymark.

Byways open to all traffic – for any kind of transport, including cars (but they are mainly used by walkers, cyclists and horse riders)

You can see where these paths run and the promoted routes on our interactive map HERE

For more information about countryside access and rights of way see the ‘Countryside Access Improvement Plan’ below.

Monmouthshire’s Countryside Access Improvement Plan 2020- 2030 (CAIP) sets out shared objectives for the county’s rights of way network, countryside sites and wider public access for the next ten years.  The plan is a combination of detailed research, analysis and consultation with the public and stakeholders (draft ROWIP and assessment reports below). It recognises the value in access to quality green space in terms of physical and mental well-being for residents and visitors.  The plan is ambitious and realistic about the challenges that Monmouthshire and our wider society face.

The delivery of this plan will contribute significantly to making Monmouthshire a healthier, more prosperous and more enjoyable place in which to live and visit.  It will be monitored by Monmouthshire Local Access Forum (LAF) and by annual Countryside Access Delivery Plans.

The Countryside Access Improvement Plan can be downloaded HERE for free. To request hard copies of the plan (note a fee may be applicable to cover costs), or for any other formats please email, or call 01633 644850:

The Monmouthshire Local Access Forum advises Monmouthshire County Council and others on ways to improve public rights of way and green spaces in Monmouthshire.

It is made up of volunteers who aim to provide a balanced view of access issues and priorities affecting the local area or which might influence national policy.

Members represent:

  • Users of local rights of way such as walkers, cyclists and horse riders.
  • Owners and occupiers of the land
  • Conservation, tourism and rural economy interest groups.

Meetings and Minutes

We meet about 4 times a year at various locations in the county. Meetings are open to the public.

Meeting minutes, agendas and dates are available on the MCC website.

Annual Reports

Copies of the forum’s annual reports are available by clicking on the links below:

Monmouthshire LAF Annual Report 2017/2018

Monmouthshire LAF Annual Report 2018/2019

Monmouthshire LAF Annual Report 2019/2020

Monmouthshire LAF Annual Report 2021

Monmouthshire LAF Annual Report 2022

Join the Monmouthshire Local Access Forum

We are looking for new members for the Monmouthshire Local Access Forum, The forum advises the Council, Natural Resources Wales, and others on ways to improve public rights of way and green spaces in Monmouthshire.   

These are voluntary positions to advise on countryside access issues and help support improvements to local access.     

We want the new forum to reflect the widest range of interests. So you could be a countryside and outdoor access user, a landowner or manager, a community or access volunteer, local tourism operator or involved in promoting and supporting countryside access for wellbeing and health. If you are willing to share your expertise and participate in the local access forum for the next three years we would love to hear from you.     

We are particularly interested to hear from prospective members who have good and active connections with relevant local organisations, partnerships, and interest groups.    

The forum looks to maintain a balance of interests including landowners and land managers, all types of access users and those representing other interests, such as health, access for all and conservation.   

Further information is available here and the application form is available here or for more information contact   

Completed forms are required by 15 January 2024.  For ‘Recruitment Guidance’, please click HERE.

Download Application Form HERE.

Contact the Monmouthshire Local Access Forum

MonLife provides the secretarial support to the forum and for further information contact the LAF Secretaryemail:

The legal rights of way map (Definitive Map & Statement) can be viewed upon appointment at County Hall in Usk.  The maps can also be viewed at Gwent Record Office but please note that this will not include any orders made since its publication.  A composite interactive rights of way map with modern base mapping is also available to view on line.

If you think the legal rights of way map (Definitive Map and Statement) is wrong you can apply to have it changed.

Examples of when you might apply:

  • To add a right of way to the map – often a path exists on the ground but it is not shown on the Definitive map.
  • To change the status of right of way – a footpath may have been used as a bridleway for 20 years or more.  You can apply to change its status.
  • To correct errors on the map – a path recorded on the map is not public, shown on the wrong alignment or needs defining more precisely.

If you need to close a public right of way temporarily to carry out works on it, or next to it, contact Countryside Access as soon as possible.

You can also apply to move a path to a more convenient route or close a path permanently if it is no longer needed for public use

For further information about the tests that would need to be applied, costs, priorities, procedure and application forms please contact   

Read the register of applications for current modification orders

The Countryside Access Team promotes responsible use by the public when exercising their rights and works wherever possible with landowners to ensure compliance with maintaining the network and in delivering improvements.

The following documents have been developed to assist all those involved with public paths. Countryside Access Furniture Guide.

Countryside Access Biodiversity Guide.

Countryside Access Policy, Protocol and Operational Management Report

Visit Monmouthshire details the walks, rides and events that are available, along with accommodation and other attractions.

Enjoy our countryside, safely, be adventure smart and plan your visit.

To find out where you can go use our interactive maps and see all our promoted routes here. Please also follow this guidance:

  • Always observe social distancing
  • Be vigilant with hand washing and hygiene
  • Stay at home if you or anyone you live with has Coronavirus Symptoms
  • Please be respectful of other people’s space and wait at a safe distance in places such as bridges, kissing gates, or steps, until it is safe for you to continue on your walk;
  • Please do not leave litter – be prepared to take your rubbish home with you to recycle or dispose of it.
  • Be a responsible dog owner by following the Dog Walking Code
  • If our car parks are full or busy please come back another time and do not park on access roads or surrounding roads
  • Don’t linger in car parks so that others can safely come and go.

Many footpaths and bridleways cross private land and in some cases working farms are close to private homes. Please keep to the paths, follow the countryside code, keep your distance from landowners and continue to follow the restrictions and measures in place to protect you and others.

Closures on paths due to flooding, dangerous bridges etc. can be found here.

Be Adventure Smart –

  • Enjoy active outdoor recreation while practising good social distancing at all times
  • Do not travel to popular tourist areas and reduce the risk of groups gathering in one place
  • Stay close to home – consider low risk, familiar activities in local areas, such as a local walk or run
  • Avoid public transport and social gatherings – keep active by travelling on foot or bike

Ask yourself 3 questions before you set off:

  • Do I have the right GEAR?
  • Do I know what the WEATHER will be like?
  • Am I confident I have the KNOWLEDGE & SKILLS for the day?

For further information and guidance on safe active outdoor recreation, visit the AdventureSmart website.

Use our interactive map to report an issue on a right of way.

Alternatively you can email, or write to;

Countryside Access, MonLife
Monmouthshire County Council
County Hall
The Rhaydr
NP16 1GA

Urgent issues such as broken bridge should be reported as soon as possible on 01633 644850.

All reported issues are recorded and prioritised according to our prioritisation system which is published in the Countryside Access Policy, Protocol and Operational Management Report.

Rights of way in the Monmouthshire part of the National Park are managed on our behalf by Brecon Beacons National Park Authority.

View current public rights of way notices HERE.

Countryside Access work is supported by individual volunteers, local groups and “Friends of ..” Groups, who undertake a wide range of countryside tasks on public paths and on countryside sites. Examples of volunteer tasks are:- undertaking events, identifying and funding improvements, tree planting, clearance, conservation tasks, data management, monitoring, installing signage, surveying,  promoting and maintaining sites and walks.

“Friends of Groups” and other partners help to look after and promote our sites.  If you are interested in volunteering on our sites contact countryside, or find more information about groups below:

Friends of Castle Meadows

Friends of Rogiet Countryside Park

Rogiet parkrun

Fishing on Abergavenny Town Waters is managed on our behalf by a consortium of local angling clubs.

The Community Engagement Toolkit provides advice and information for community groups that want to help or maintain walking and other access routes in their local area.  These might be Community Councils, Walkers Welcome Groups, local walking groups or other organisations.

If you are interested in joining a countryside access volunteer group or wish to be involved with a specific task please contact the Countryside Access Team by email, or write to:

Countryside Access, MonLife
Monmouthshire County Council
County Hall
The Rhaydr
NP16 1GA

Avian influenza is a highly contagious viral disease.  It affects the respiratory, digestive or nervous system of many species of bird.

Situation update: The outbreak at Grassholm has spread within the colony (see here for latest from RSPB) and we are receiving reports of birds washing up on the coast of the mainland and further birds confirmed as testing positive in Wales (see here for APHA wild bird surveillance reports).   The Minister for Rural Affairs and North Wales, and Trefnydd has declared an all-Wales Avian Influenza Protection Zone from 17 October 2022.  The Prevention Zone will apply to the whole of Wales.  It will require all bird keepers to adhere to certain biosecurity measures, as set out in the declaration.  This may affect public access as poultry keepers increase biosecurity measures to prevent contamination such as disinfecting boots.

More details on Avian influenza (bird flu) and an interactive map at ArcGIS Web Application.

To report wild birds which may be infected or have died from infection phone your local Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) office immediately on 0300 303 8268. APHA vets will investigated suspected cases. You can also share any reports you have on mortalities with NRW through their NRW Avian Flu e-mail (

No public footpaths or other types of public rights of way, or countryside sites are closed as a result of bird flu in Monmouthshire.

To ensure these sites are available for all and to manage activities our countryside sites are regulated by byelaws. For any enquiries such as problems, events or commercial use of the sites, please contact us on:

Tel: 01633 644850


Write to:

Countryside Access, MonLife
Monmouthshire County Council
County Hall
The Rhaydr
NP16 1GA

This post is also available in: Welsh