Marking obstructed designated footpaths in, UK

I contribute to the OSM mostly by walking public (designated) and permissive footpaths following OS maps (Ordnance Survey = UK mapping sytem) then using my gps tracks to add them to the OSM - I’m pretty sure that this doesn’t breach the OS copyright - though please let me know if I’m wrong.

I have 3 issues:

  1. How do I mark a blocked path - eg where a way is impassable due to fencing, overgrowth, etc.? So far I have used the ‘note’ facility, is this correct or should I use a better way?

  2. Where there is a blocked path, as in 1 above, should I mark on the OSM the alternative where there is a nearby work around, or should this be left to the individual to find their own? UK law allows the walker to use the most practicable alternative.

  3. Where the landowner has made unofficial but practical alternative should this be marked on the OSM or the official path? For example a field has a footpath going diagonally through it. As it is being used for free range chicken farming the whole field has been electric fenced. The landowner has made ample provision for walkers to go around the edges of the field as, I’m guessing, the cost of electric fencing a path through the middle would be prohibitive. As a walker I felt happy to follow the edges. Do I mark my route following the edges or the ‘official’ route across the middle?

Advice would be appreciated, thanks.

Here’s what I tend to do:

  1. Usually there’s a way of tagging the thing that’s blocking the path (barrier=fence or whatever), so that’s what I’d tend to use - and I’d also do the same as you and add a bit more description in a “note”.

  2. I’d tend to map what’s on the ground, so if (for instance) there’s a blocked public footpath but an alternative path that isn’t labelled as a right of way that can be used I’d map the alternative path (but not labelled as a right of way), and also stick a note on it for good measure.

  3. Where the signed “official” route varies from the path that people use on the ground I’d actually map both (with appropriate access tags).

Here’s an example where I’ve done just that:

Thanks for the reply SomeoneElse. Good to find my I’m generally along the right lines.

I see you use a designation: public_footpath tag, I’m not familiar with this and can’t seem to find it on the Wiki site so can you give me some guidance please?

See this page for the designation tags:
Also this page has a useful summary of the recommended tagging for paths etc: Public rights of way in England and Wales

Oh dear, it seem the more I get into this OSM the more confused I become.

I have been using the Map Features page as my guide and marking public footpaths highway:footway, foot:designated. Now it seems that I should have been using highway:path, foot=designated, designation=public_footpath. That said, I’m not sure if the latter tagging is approved yet. This is all very complex and very confusing! :frowning:

That came out of various discussions (on the talk-gb mailing list I think, but also noted on the “Public rights of way in England and Wales” page) last year where it was clear that “foot=yes” was confusing at least to some people - does it mean that you’re physically able to access something or have a legal right to use it, and if a legal right is that because it’s on a council’s definitive map somewhere, is covered under the CROW act or something else again? I went for designation=public_footpath because it can exist alongside any other tagging, it can distinguish bridleways from restricted byways from footpaths and if there’s a sign at one end saying “public footpath” it’s difficult to argue with. “foot=designated” is another approach, and as the wiki page mentions, there are pros & cons of each.

To my eyes “highway:footway”, “foot:designated” is a perfectly valid (and widely used) way of tagging English and Welsh public footpaths. For the purpose of making Garmin maps for my own use I treat “foot=designated” and “designation=public_footpath” as equivalent (actually, if the source is a GPS trace I’d add “source=GPS” as well just to make it clear that the route of the path wasn’t traced from a map).

The most important thing is that the position of the path on the ground is recorded - someone can always fiddle about with the tags later!

Thanks for all the advice. I’ll mark all future paths thus, but won’t bother changing ALL my past ones:

highway:footway (or should that be path?)
designation: public_footpath