The worlds of motorsport and rights of way are riddled with acronyms, jargon, and terminology, which inevitably slip into written text and publications, This page is an attempt to list and explain those in common use. We are currently (November/December 2018) making regular updates to this page. Please email if the acronym you are looking for is not yet shown below.


  • Abatement : Legal term for a practical action to reduce a problem, as an alternative to legal action such as going to court. When a user removes an obstruction he is abating it; where the obstruction is unlawful abatement is not an offence.
  • Access Land : Those areas of open moor and mountain that are to be opened to the public (for walking only) under CROW 2000.
  • Accommodation Road : A route for the private use of persons with an interest in land to which it leads. Such routes, often created to link fields separated by canals or railways, may also carry public rights. (Similar to ‘occupation road’).
  • Adopted Road : When a builder makes an estate road it will normally be dedicated to the public, sooner or later, but it will not be maintainable at public expense until it is formally adopted by the Highway Authority (and added to the List of Streets).
  • Affidavit : A written statement of fact witnessed formally by a solicitor. In the absence of a witness, an affidavit can form very useful evidence, for instance of the use of a route.
  • AONB (Area of outstanding natural beauty) : This designation allows for tighter planning control so that the landscape is not damaged by development and can provide funding to grant aid landscape improvements.
  • Arrest : Detention of anyone by another; only legal if a serious offence has been committed or attempted (e.g. for criminal damage or obstruction, but not for trespass or riding on a bridleway).
  • ATV (All Terrain Vehicle) : Usually a light 3 or 4 wheeled open vehicle with motorcycle seating and controls, and often only vaguely ‘street legal’.
  • AWDC : All Wheel Drive Club.



  • CA (68) : See Government – Legislation page.
  • Carriageway : A route for vehicles of all descriptions. Public carriageway is the highest of the three statuses of Rights of Way. Horse-riders and walkers may also use (almost) all carriageways.
  • CCPR (The Central Council of Physical Recreation) : Now SRA (see below).
  • CLA : Country Land and Business Association.
  • CNPA : Cairngorms National Park Authority.
  • CoAg (The Countryside Agency) : Replaced the Countryside Commission. Now Natural England.
  • CoCo (The Countryside Commission) : Replaced by the Countryside Agency. Now Natural England.
  • Common Law : The part of the legal system that is based on old tradition, ancient practice, and the decisions of judges, rather than on Acts of Parliament (which produce Statute Law). Trespass and Nuisance are dealt with under common law. (Not connected with Common land). Common law says that use of a route for a reasonable time can establish public rights; in one case 18 months was enough.
  • Common Rights : A traditional land management idea in which ‘commoners’ who own a nearby house or cottage have rights on a patch of land (the common). The most important right, today, is that allowing sheep or cattle to graze the land.
  • CPRE : Campaign to Protect Rural England.
  • CROWA (2000) : See Government – Legislation page.
  • CSMA (Civil Service Motoring Association).


  • DA (2015) : See Government – Legislation page.
  • DCLG : Department for Communities and Local Government. Formed 2006 with responsibilities formerly under DETR.
  • Dedication : The main process by which a right of way can come about. It can be ‘express’ – a deliberate decision by the landowner, or ‘presumed’ – by inference from the landowner’s actions or inaction.
  • DEFRA : Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Formed in 2001 when MAFF was merged with DETR.
  • DETR : The Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions. Formed in 1997 from, mainly, the former Department of the Environment and the Department of Transport. Now DEFRA.
  • DfT : Department for Transport. Formed in 2002 when DETR was split.
  • DLW (Discovering Lost Ways) : Explanation to be added.
  • DMMO (Definitive Map Modification Order) : The official way that all changes (except RUPP reclassification) are made to the DM&S.
  • DMS or DM&S (Definitive Map and Statement) : Official record of public rights in the countryside, available for inspection and copying at county and district council offices. Not all unsurfaced vehicular ways are shown, and any public paths shown may also have vehicular rights. The term ‘definitive’ is often used (confusingly) to mean ‘shown on the Definitive Map’ rather than ‘beyond doubt’. The Statement which goes with the Map should detail the width, and any gates, etc.
  • DNPA : Dartmoor National Park Authority.
  • Drove Road : A route used before the railway era for long distance transport of livestock, usually cattle, which all had to walk to market, sometimes from as far away as Scotland & Wales. Also called Drift and Driving Road. Many green roads were used as drove roads. The right to drive cattle is a component of a carriageway – an all purpose highway. Other than a private right, an easement, the drove is not a stand alone class of highway.
  • Dual status : A highway which is shown on both the Definitive Map (qv) and the List of Streets (qv). Prior to 2006 there was a presumption that dual status highways had vehicular rights irrespective of the recorded status on the Definitive Map. This was expressly reversed by NERC which removed vehicular rights from dual status highways shown as Footpaths, Bridleways, and Restricted Byways on the Definitive Map.



  • Footway : A route for pedestrians alongside a carriageway, normally provided with a kerb and paving. Not the same as footpath, and not shown on the DM&S.
  • Founderous : A route is founderous when it would be likely to bring a horse to its knees. Such a route is ‘out of repair’.
  • FP (Footpath) : A route on which any member of the public may walk or run. Prams, and dogs under control, may accompany walkers. Definitive footpaths may carry vehicular rights.


  • GDPO (General Permitted Development Order).


  • HA (1980) : See Government – Legislation page.
  • Higher rights : A Bridleway has ‘higher rights’ than a footpath, and a carriageway higher than a bridleway. Unrecorded rights may exist on any Definitive route, so footpaths and bridleways may have vehicular status, although this, post NERC 2006, will be rare and difficult to establish. It all depends on the evidence.
  • Highway : A route along which members of the public have a right to pass and repass. Highways are all public, and may be footpaths, bridleways, or carriageways. Technically the highway is the route, the right of way is the right to use it.
  • Highway Authority : The public body responsible for the maintenance of all Highways. For Carriageways, this is usually the County Council, Unitary Authority, or Metropolitan Borough, but Public Path matters are often devolved to District Councils.


  • Inclosure : The legal process which took away common rights and established private landowners, mainly between 1750 and 1850. Roads and access routes were set out in the documentation, and this is a valuable source of evidence for highway status.




  • MAG : Motorcycle Action Group.
  • MAFF (The Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Food) : Now DEFRA.
  • MCIA : The Motor Cycle Industry Association.
  • MFU (Motorsport Facilities Unit) : Set up as part of LARA but no longer separate.
  • MOLARA : Ancient title for LARA, and no longer used.
  • MPV (Mechanically Propelled Vehicle).
  • MSWG (Motoring Stakeholder Working Group) : Explanation to be added.



  • Obstruction : Anything which interferes with the passage of the public along a highway, or with free access over any part of it. It is a ‘public nuisance’ in law, and committing such a nuisance is a crime; it is the duty of the highway authority to seek, prevent and remove obstructions. Users coming across an obstruction may legally ‘abate’ it, removing enough to carry on their journey. Otherwise, the Highway Authority should be told. There is also a common law right to divert around the obstruction.
  • Occupation Road : One with private rights for those with an interest in adjacent land, not quite the same as accommodation road. It may also have public rights.
  • ORPA (Other routes with public access : A designation shown on OS Maps to indicate some (but not all) UCRs and/or UURs.
  • OS : Ordnance Survey.


  • PCNPA : Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority.
  • PD (Permitted Development).
  • PDNPA : Peak District National Park Authority.
  • PDR (Permitted Development Rights).
  • Permissive route : One where the owner has indicated that for the time being he does not mind use by a given class of traveller. Permission may be withdrawn at any time.
  • PINs (Planning Inspectorate).
  • Prescribed Body : One of the group of organisations specified in various Acts of Parliament to be notified of changes to the RoW network. The ACU and WTRA are the only prescribed motoring bodies.
  • Prescriptive rights : Legal terms for rights of way established by public use. Such use must be without force, without secrecy, and not as a favour or by permission (i.e. nec vi, nec clam, nec precario).
  • Public Inquiry : An investigation carried on by an independent inspector, often in a public hall; the official way of examining evidence and letting anyone concerned in proposed changes have a say, and produce their own evidence.
  • Public Path : A Right of Way which is a footpath or bridleway, with no higher rights. This  definition goes right back to the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949.
  • Purpresture : Encroachment on the roadside, such as garden extensions, and whitewashed stones to keep vehicles off the verge. Even if ‘official’, it is an illegal obstruction.



  • RA : Ramblers (Association).
  • RACMSA (Royal Automobile Club Motor Sports Association) : Now Motorsport UK.
  • RB (Restricted Byway) : CRoW 2000 turned all virtually all RUPPs into RB. This is a completely new class of highway that is effectively a carriageway way for all except mechanically propelled vehicles. There will be some exceptions.
  • Reclassification : This was the process whereby RUPPs on the Definitive map were reconsidered by the Highway Authority and reclassified as BOAT, Bridleway, or Footpath, depending on the evidence. Such changes do not remove any higher rights which may exist. This process was removed in CRoW 2000
  • RoW (Right of Way) : A right for any member of the public to travel over the land of another, without needing permission. There are three categories, Footpath, Bridleway, and Carriageway. Use can only legally be for a genuine journey from one place to another. The term is often used in a restrictive meaning for only those routes on the DM&S. Technically all highways are also RoW.
  • RoWRC (The House of Commons Rights of Way Review Committee).
  • RT Road : One maintainable by the landowner; ratione tenurae means ‘(maintainable) by reason of tenure’. All RT roads are public carriageways, sometimes marked on the List of Streets.
  • RTA (1988) : See Government – Legislation page.
  • RTPI : Royal Town Planning Institute.
  • RtR (Right to Roam). The freedom to walk on open countryside away from any paths. In England and Wales this means land defined as open access within the meaning of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000. Much wider access is permitted in Scotland.
  • RUPP (Road Used as a Public Path) : A classification once used on Definitive maps, meaning a route which is not a footpath or bridleway, but not with conclusive vehicular rights for the public. Any remaining RUPPs automatically became Restricted Byways under the Countryside & Rights of Way Act 2000.


  • SAC (Special Area of Conservation) : A designation given to land under the European Union’s Habitats Directive. that increases protection to a variety of wild animals, plants and habitats.
  • SDNPA : South Downs National Park Authority.
  • SNPA : Snowdonia National Park Authority.
  • SRA : Sports and Recreation Alliance (LARA is a member).
  • SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest).
  • Status : The status of a route refers to rights on it; it may be public or private, and allow carriages, horse-riders, or pedestrians. Vehicular status indicates public carriageway rights – an all purpose highway.
  • Street Legal : Term used to indicate that a vehicle complies with all the regulations for highway use. Trail riding can only take place with street legal machines.
  • SWG (Stakeholder Working Group) : Explanation to be added.


  • TCP (Town and Country Planning).
  • TCV : The Conservation Volunteers.
  • TPO (Tree Preservation Order).
  • TRO (Traffic Regulation Order) : Which can restrict any class of traffic on any route, for up to eighteen months, or permanently. TROs must be signed clearly so that users know exactly what is forbidden. The sign for no motor vehicles shows a BSA A10 motorcycle flying over a Ford Prefect of the same era, in a red ring. A plain red ring means no vehicles at all.
  • TTRO (Temporary Traffic Regulation Order) : See TRO (above).


  • UCR (Unclassified County Road) : A road recorded on the List of Streets (qv) by the Highway Authority as ‘maintainable at public expense’, and normally having vehicular rights. Such roads are may, or may not, be sealed. They should be, but are not always, shown on the Definitive Map (qv). On OS maps, if shown, they may be shown as ORPAs (qv). Properly the ‘County” part is now obsolete. Classified roads are the familiar A and B roads.
  • UUR (Unsealed Unclassified Road) : The currently preferred terminology for ‘green roads’, ‘stone roads’, and similar, formerly known as UCRs (qv).


  • Vehicle : A mobile contrivance for carrying goods or travellers or providing a service. This includes sledges, bicycles, prams, wheelbarrows, sedan chairs, and litters; as well as carts, cars and motorcycles. Legally almost all vehicles are carriages, and as a bridleway is only for walking or ‘leading or riding a horse’, evidence of any other public use points to vehicular rights.


  • Waymarking : The use of standard symbols on rights of way ‘in the field’ to indicate status and direction. A stumpy red arrow should be used for carriageways, blue for bridleways, and yellow for footpaths. The term is also used for the route marking of named routes, like the Pennine Way, but without showing the legal status.
  • WCA (1981) : See Government – Legislation page.
  • WHS (World Heritage Site).
  • WORMS : Wales Off-Road Motors Steering Group.
  • Written Reps : Written Representation Planning (or DMMO) Appeal.
  • WTRA : Welsh Trail Riders Association.




Page updated : 11 March 2022