Barrier Management, Review and Redesign

The existence of man-made barriers in the countryside effectively prohibits inclusive access for many mobility-restricted walkers and chair/ scooter users who are otherwise legally entitled to use the public rights of way (PRoW) that they cross.


This page provides support and guidance for those concerned with barrier review, improvement or removal, with the aim of optimising access for all.

To find new things, take the path you took yesterday (John Burroughs, 1837-1921)

Barriers of some sort may be necessary on PRoW for two main reasons:

  1. To warn/slow users of the approach to a road or other point of danger

  2. To contain livestock


Once in place however, barriers may outlive their purpose, but nonetheless remain as a permanent landscape feature. Additionally, barriers that do need to remain may be (and typically are) designed without careful consideration to the needs of the full range of entitled users.


Designing for all is not straightforward, and may not in every situation be an achievable outcome. It should however always be the starting point of any design, construction and installation process

Legal guidance and Best Practice

Meeting the Equality Act and British Standards

Design Specifications (as implemented in practice)

Scottish Natural Heritage: Countryside Access Design Guide:

A series of technical specification sheets on accessible pathway and barrier design (best options), including for example:



Paths for All (for a healthier, happier Scotland):

Extensive downloadable guidance on pathway design for rural settings, and have developed two  demonstration sites (for path types and barriers) , as detailed here:


Lake District National Park: Structures Standards Approved (2011)