How name an existing Footway?

A one mile Footway, which was totally blocked by gorse, has been reopend over a period of over four years.
How do i give this Footway a name?
Thanks for any help.

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Does the footway actually have a name? Is there a sign/plate which shows the ‘name’?

If so, then add the tag ‘name’ with the appropriate value, as given on the sign/plate.

If there is no sign/plate, then there will be no ‘name’.


This is a countryside path with no name. Volunteers spent a long time re-opening it and we want to give it a name, which would be similar to a nearby connecting path along that has a name.

I am looking to find the process to be followed in OSM to apply a name to the Footway.

  1. Put up a sign
  2. Edit OSM, add a name, and you can also add the tag “source:name=sign”

Generally speaking, paths that have names in OSM will all have some sort of source for that name. It may be from survey (someone has read a sign), or from local knowledge (they live there, and know it is called that) or from an out-of-copyright map.


Thanks for info.
I am looking for the very basic information to apply a name to a path.
The path in question has never had a name since it was built in remote areas of countryside.
I have edited street names, which were wrong, but cannot figure out how to edit a path.

Thansk for the help. I have found the method to edit the path name.

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Many thanks for your help, which gave me a better feel for naming paths.

And now it’s signposted as The Gorse Path instead of “Duracell Bunnies Cut” one hour before?

The problem is, you can’t name a path by putting the name in OSM. OSM can only record the names that things already have.

Information in the database is supposed to be verifiable by other mappers, so ideally if someone else goes there, they should be able to see for themselves that the path has that name, that’s why people are asking you if there’s now a sign there.


The volunteers who spent years reopening this path were named the Duracell Bunnies for their work ethic over several years. After further discussion and with local knowledge, the name is set as The Gorse Path.

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A nearby path was named in OSM as Kemal’s Cut, around 20 years ago.
Erecting a sign(s) would be difficult but locals could direct visitors to ‘Kemal’s Cut’.

Another name option is the “loc_name” tag - that is for a name that something is known as locally, but isn’t really an official name.


for official names there is “official_name”, name is the name that is most appropriate according to local people (or people within the scope of the feature, e.g. for a national capital city or another major city, you would want the name the most of the population of the country agrees to, for a local hiking path you would not expect someone from farther away even know its name), so basically “name” is already the local name, “loc_name” is an additional name that is considered “more local” than the “name”. IMHO leaving “name” void and tag a “loc_name” does not make a lot of sense, if there is a name, it should preferably go into “name”, and if there are more names available, we can discuss about alt_name, loc_name, reg_name, short_name, etc.


Just a minor note, whilst it isn’t wrong, access=no with foot=yes isn’t really required on highway=footway since footway implies pedestrian access only.

Additionally, although one shouldn’t tag for the renderer, this does cause odd behaviour in OSM carto (it gets rendered very lightly because Carto currently doesn’t take the highway type into context when rendering).


Now that you mention it…

access=no with foot=yes implies that it’s against the law (not just impractical) to cycle there, or ride a horse. This is very rare in Scotland. You can cycle pretty much anywhere except on the pavement and on motorways. It should really only be tagged like this if there is a sign there saying pedestrians only.

If it’s what I think it is (a path in the countryside with no signs) it shouldn’t have any access tags.

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Scotland differs from England and Wales (and is more like places like Scandinavia) in that the The Scottish Outdoor Access Code applies. I’ve not mapped in Scotland for a very long time, but if I was mapping there now I’d imagine that I might use “highway=footway; foot=yes; bicycle=yes; horse=yes” for something that isn’t really more than a footpath but legally bicycle and horse access are allowed. What seems to be the approach (around here**, for example) is pretty much what you suggest - no access tags, and “everyone knows” that access per the Outdoor Access Code is allowed. That may trip some data consumers up - some German routers assume German access rules in England; it wouldn’t surprise me if some also incorrectly assumed English rules in Scotland. Also, “a bit more information about the path itself” to go with bare highway=path tags would be great in that area too.

** it’s a while since I was there, but my recollection is that more physical provision was made for bicycle and horse access was made than might be the case in England - regular gates not kissing gates, for example.

What you state is correct.

A group of us have spent over 4yrs reopening this one mile path, which had become blocked. The path is in a fragile state. The many stepped areas along the path have steps retained by wooden boarding, which are rotting. If cyclists and horses were to use the path it would become difficult for pedestrians to navigate.
It’s like a car satnav indicating that you are following the correct road, only for you to be classed as an idiot for following the satnav guidance - i think that’s a good analogy…

I understand that I should spend many more days in an attempt to understand how OSM works. The problem i have is that after reading and thinking I have understood and issue, I then find my thinking ios conflicted by something alse i’ve read.


  1. Put up a sign saying it’s for pedestrians only
  2. Add it to OSM with “bicycle=no; horse=no”
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Yes, tagging in OSM can be complicated and frustrating especially at the beginning because you often find information that contradicts something else you’ve read. Like when the Wiki says one thing but most people actually do something else.

You’re supposed to use bicycle=yes/no to map what’s legally allowed and then other tags, like surface, smoothness, etc. to map what the path looks like. And then people and apps that see that data can come to their own conclusions about whether it makes sense to cycle there.

I can see that there are sections of the Gorse Path that are already tagged as steps. The good news is, all cycling apps I know realise it doesn’t make sense to send a cyclist down steps.

So the whole discussion is theoretical, it actually makes no practical difference (for routing) whether the path in between the steps is tagged as bicycle=yes or not. Also, no car satnav will send drivers down your path if someone removes access=no. Paths tagged as highway=footway are considered off limits to motor vehicles.

By the way I love that you did all this work as volunteers. This whole discussion makes me want to go there :slight_smile:


This is a good point, I hadn’t thought of that. When a path doesn’t have access tags then in Scotland it implies foot, horse, bicycle = yes (and there is no difference between highway=footway and highway=path in this respect) but not all routers may realise that, so it can’t hurt to add it.

Still I’m not sure how many people would use that approach. I just feels wrong to tag, for example, the CMD arete with bicycle=yes just because you would technically be “allowed” to ride a bike up there.

In practice, from looking at the tags on the paths when I’ve been hillwalking, I think at least some people in Scotland use bicycle=no to map where it’s impractical or impossible to cycle even if it isn’t illegal (example 1, 2, 3). It’s technically wrong but it has the same effect, it prevents bicycle routers from sending anyone up there. It’s shorthand for a combination of surface, smoothness, mtb:scale, sac_scale, trail_visibility and others tags which would indicate that you wouldn’t want to ride a bike there, especially a road bike. It’s an easy “mistake” to make because it mirrors how wheelchair=yes/no is used.

I guess at some point these could all be surveyed and re-tagged, but doing that without adding all these other tags could have unintended consequences…

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