Should I map paths in private land?

There’s a disused golf course nearby that has become a nice wildlife refuge and is well used by locals even though it’s really private land. There are several access points, doesn’t feel like a private space, and I suspect many visitors would be oblivious that it’s actually private. This cherished piece of open space in an urban environment is now threatened with development (housing). To help register the fact that there are paths (albeit unofficial) I’d like to map the paths but was wondering whether OSM has any guidance/rules on doing so.

I believe that, in England, if it can be demonstrated that a path has been in use for some time then an application can be made to have it officially registered as a public right of way (though not 100% certain about this).

FYI, here’s the area (former Bramcote Hills Golf Course), east of Moor Lane & west of Thoresby Road:

Hi easl,

By all means map the paths if they exist on the ground. The legal status of the paths is probably a bit complicated, in that the landowner probably has not explicitly allowed access, but in the circumstances access=permissive is probably the best way to distinguish them from regular rights of way & to show that they are generally in use. If they are then closed off by the landowner then they can be changed to access=private. I see a similar situation has developed over “The Lawns” site further along the ridge.

For legal aspects of footpaths, OSM has been used in the, Nottingham area for defending public rights of way (see my write-up of the one in The Park). Our expert in this field is user “sladen” who, I think, these days lives in Germany but is probably contactable for advice.

I met Judith Nathanail, who was involved with the local community association around 4 years ago, and passed on some OSM data at the time (mainly related to cycle infrastructure). We (the OSM local group) currently meet monthly (at present in Derby, next on Tuesday 20th July) if someone would like some direct face-to-face advice), but I’m happy to cross-check any details you choose to add.

Jerry aka SK53

A reasonable way to collect the paths is to download a mobile phone GPS tracker (OSM Tracker is one I use) and capture GPS traces for as many paths as you can.

That is true in England and Wales.

You can submit a User Evidence Statement in order to provide evidence to get a right of way included on the definitive map. You should find these on the Rights of Way section of the local Highway Authority website.

Thanks for the advice, Jerry. I’ve had a go at this; As mentioned in the comment, where my GPS tacks appeared to align with paths visible in Bing aerial imagery, I deferred to Bing (since my GPS device is a none too accurate phone).

BTW, I think we met back in 2011 at a couple of Nottingham pub meetups. Glad to see you’re still active. My interest back then stemmed from cycle campaigning (you may remember Pedals). I never really got beyond dipping my toe in the water back then and haven’t done much map editing since, so still a novice. If you have time to look at my edit and have any comments, that would be much appreciated.


Good to know, trigpoint. Thanks!

@easl well that was somewhat unexpected! We just marked 10 years since those first meetings, although there are probably more of us active in Derby & Sheffield now than Nottingham.

I suspect paths on the other side of Bramcote Lane (Alexandrina Plantation, etc.) may be missing too.

I would say it’s definitely worth pinging Paul Sladen, as he’s done a few footpath cases in Nottingham (The Park, station footbridge). Phil (trigpoint) is an experienced Ramblers Association activiist, so there are other contacts.