The society has always encouraged easy access to paths and countryside. Structures in hedges and walls can all too often make this access difficult, and sometimes impossible. Many such obstacles are no longer needed, indeed many are not even authorised, but they remain. It is surprising how often these substandard or redundant stiles and gates are neither improved nor removed.
We recognize, of course, that features which are a part of our heritage, for example some historic stone-steps and squeeze stiles, should be left as they are. We support government policy of the ‘least restrictive option’. We worked with farming, landowning, government, and user bodies to produce the 2001, 2006 and 2018 versions of the British Standard for structures on public paths (BS5709:2018).
Our information sheet* is aimed at assisting those who share our goal of reducing unnecessary and undesirable structures from our public paths. It applies throughout England and Wales.