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Definitive Map and Statement

Cornwall Council, as the "surveying authority", must keep a Definitive Map and Statement of public rights of way. This is a document that provides a legal record of public rights of way in Cornwall and is conclusive evidence that at the 'relevant date' the public had the rights shown on the Map. This is without prejudice to the possibility of the existence of higher rights over a particular way or to any other rights that may exist.

In Cornwall the Definitive Map was drawn at a scale of 1:10,000 for each of the former Districts showing the rights of way using standard symbology, though there are also a small number of sheets for some urban areas that were drawn at 1:2,500 scale.

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As the "surveying authority" Cornwall Council is also required to keep a register of applications made under Section 53(5) of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 for Definitive Map Modification Orders. The default display of Cornwall Council's register is that applications are listed in priority order with the highest priority application listed first.

Register of definitive map modification order applications

For further assistance and guidance using the register, please see the DMMO Register Help page. The priorisation of applications is in line with the Cornwall Council Revised Policy Statement 2006.

Important - The relevant date for each of the former District Areas are shown in the links to the individual Definitive Statements below. As a result any changes that have been made by 'Legal Events' (generally Public Path Orders made under the Highways Act 1980 or the Town and Country Planning Act 1990) or Modification Orders which were confirmed after the relevant date will not be shown on the Definitive Map map sheets. The Definitive Map and Statement will be amended to reflect these changes when the Council next makes a 'Legal Event Modification Order' to implement the changes to the Map and Statement for that former District Area.

However, paths that have been the subject of a 'Legal Event' or a confirmed Modification Order will be amended (subject to a short delay) on the Council's Public Rights of Way interactive mapping. This is not the legal record of public rights of way and should not be treated as such but provides up to date information about the path network.

The Definitive Map map sheets are available through the Definitive Map interactive mapping and are an electronic version (in pdf format) of this legal record. For further information and advice please see Viewing Cornwall's Definitive Map Online page.

The Definitive Statement is a matching series of written statements that describe the ways shown on the maps:

It may be that there are additional rights over ways that are recorded on the Definitive Map and Statement (e.g. a footpath ought to be recorded as a bridleway). Likewise, routes that are currently not recorded as rights of way may be added to the Definitive Map (e.g. a footpath that is not recorded as a public rights of way ought to be recorded). In both cases the Council will only be able to amend the Definitive Map and Statement if evidence is presented to the Council as part of an application for a Definitive Map Modification Order.

In addition applications may be made for ways recorded on the Definitive Map to be deleted or downgraded, if the applicant can adequately demonstrate that what is presently recorded is not correct.

For statutory, legal or formal purposes (such as planning applications) only the Definitive Map should be used to confirm the presence, location and status of public rights of way. If you wish to come and view the Definitive Map and Statement at the Truro One Stop Shop please contact us via email at in advance so that the relevant maps may be located and an officer is available to assist you.

Certified copies of extracts of the Definitive Map can be supplied by the Countryside Access Team and these may be purchased for the following fee:

  • A4 or A3 size copy - £33.00 including postage (duplicates may be ordered at the same time at 25p per copy)

The fee for the provision of a certified copy of an extract of the Definitive Map covers up to an hour of research and administration and includes copies of any orders that will have resulted in changes to the working copy of the Definitive Map through Creation, Diversion, Extinguishment, Town and Country Planning Act or Modification Orders after the relevant date that will not be shown on the Definitive Map extract itself. All certified copies will be supplied with an accompanying letter explaining the purpose of the extract and what it may be used for.

Local land and property searches (Con29 Search Form questions 5.1 and 5.2) are administered by Cornwall Council's Local Land Charges.

Parish/Town Councils

Each Parish Council has a copy of the relevant section of the Definitive Map and Statement to show its local network. This should be kept with the Parish/Town Clerk and may be viewed by appointment with them.

Maps made by Ordnance Survey record physical features that are deemed to be of cartographic importance. Cornwall Council provides information to Ordnance Survey about where public rights of way are to be found. This information is reproduced on some editions of their maps.

However, the fact that a public right of way recorded on the Definitive Map is not shown as a physical feature on an Ordnance Survey map is not evidence that the path is not a public right of way. Conversely, if Ordnance Survey has recorded a path, track or way because it is significant enough to be surveyed, it does not follow that a public right of way subsists along it. Ordnance Survey maps generally contain a disclaimer to this effect.