Unknown name and tag of a fence passage

Hi everybody!

I just wanted to map the following fence passage, however i don’t know how it’s called and therefore how to tag it:

It’s very similar to a kissing gate, but with a fixed inner part instead of one that can be moved. Does anybody know how it is called? And any ideas how to tag it?

(This document i found online calls it a ‘livestock exclusion escape’, but i couldn’t find any other result when searching for ‘livestock exclusion gate’.)

Edit: correction: livestock exclusion gate → livestock exclusion escape


No, that’s a different one?

Maybe just either barrier=gate or barrier=entrance + access=yes + foot=yes + vehicle, bike & horse=no?

Not a rambler myself but I think this broadly fits the “narrow gaps” portion of the description of barrier=stile in the wiki:

A stile is a structure which allows people to pass through or over a linear barrier=* (ie. a fence or wall) via steps, ladders or narrow gaps.

I can’t see any documented values that fit. In the values in use at taginfo There is one occurrence of stile=kissing but that appears alongside barrier=kissing_gate so I doubt the mapper was going for the same type of feature (there are also 4 stile=kissing_gate).

There is an instance of stile=zigzag which seems like it might be describing a similar item although it looks to me like yours only zigs.

Outside of stiles the closest I can think of are the chicanes described by e.g. cycle_barrier=double or triple which similarly rely on the difficulty livestock cyclists have turning corners.

Edit: For what it’s worth, I just found that the image below has been categorised under Squeeze stiles in wikimedia commons. Might be worth a new value in OSM regardless.

stile in Switzerland consisting of a chevron of wooden fencing with a barbed wire fence terminating at a pole between the legs of the chevron and a separate run of barbed wire fencing starting at its point and continuing in the direction of the chevron

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The definition of barrier=gate is quite narrow: “a section in a wall or fence which can be opened to allow access”. As there’s no movable part in the object i found, i wouldn’t tag it barrier=gate.

Thanks for your research!

I thought that a stile were one or several steps for passing over a fence or wall, but it seems that this definition is too narrow. So i’ll tag it barrier=stile + stile=squeezer.

PS: I changed the definition of squeeze stile on the wiki from

Squeezer stiles are V or Y-shaped and locally also known as “hipster stiles”.


Squeeze stiles are narrow passages in a fence or wall. They are sometimes V- or Y-shaped and may additionally have a step.

because many images of squeeze stiles on the wiki and Wikimedia Commons aren’t V- or Y-shaped.

No, that’s really not a squeezer stile. Tagging it as one will just cause confusion! Better to make a name up rather than misuse an existing one. There is some usage of horse_barrier, but that isn’t quite right here either since these are primarily cattle barriers. barrier=chicane is more used, and arguably more correct.

I can think of 3 or 4 pretty close to where I am right now that just aren’t mapped yet…

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Actually, it calls it a “livestock exclusion escape” which appears to be the only example of those words together on the internet - so not very helpful!

Okay, thanks for your correction! Help from native English speakers is always much appreciated! Of course i don’t want to deteriorate the meaning of a tag.

I’ve finally found out how these fence passage are officially called - however not in English:

German: Dreieckdurchgang
French: Passage à chicane
Italian: Passaggio a triangolo

Schweizerische Eidgenossenschaft, Bundesamt für Strassen ASTRA: Zaundurchgänge für Wandernde und Mountainbikende. Praxishilfe. 2021. PDF. Page 19.
Confédération suisse, Office fédéral des routes OFROU: Passages de clôture pour randonneurs et vététistes. Guide pratique. 2021. PDF. Page 19.
Confederazione Svizzera, Ufficio federale delle strade USTRA: Escursionisti e mountainbiker: Passaggi nelle recinzioni. Guida pratica. 2021. PDF. Page 19.)

There might be some confusion with barrier=cycle_barrier (barrier=chicane even currently redirects to it) which usually allows bicycles to pass, whereas these fence passages don’t.

Maybe, barrier=triangular_passage would be clearer?

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Just seen this discussed on the talk-GB mailing list. Thought I’d repeat my views here.

Based on current OSM terms, I would start by classifying them as a form of Stile rather than Gate.
For me, a Stile is a way through a barrier for pedestrians that does not involve significant moving or opening of a barrier object (gate)

It clearly has similarities to a squeezer stile, a bicycle_barrier and a kissing_gate. But I think use of any of those terms would be misleading. It is neither of those three, so I would create a new tag.

I would simply create a new tag under stile.

The barrier=stile tag informs that it is a form a passage through a barrier only a pedestrian could use, and does not invovle a gate. Then stile=chicane shows it specific form

This would create some descriptive overlap with barrier=cycle_barrier, but there is enough variation in use & function for the two tags to exist.

The primary function is that a stile=chicane is a barrier along a pedestrian way that blocks the passage of cattle (but not sheep?)


Thanks for your reply!

I agree that it’s not a gate (no moving part). The question is if it’s a stile or not. @SomeoneElse thinks it’s not. Therefore my suggestion of a new barrier key (barrier=triangular_gate). It seems that there are also some other fence passage that currently lack a tag (the types and page numbers refer to the above publication):

  • Wire with insulator handle (type 1, page 15)
  • Tilt rod (type 2, p. 16)
  • Electric livestock barrier (types 3 & 4, p. 17-18)
  • Folding barrier (type 6, p. 20)
  • Arch ramp (type 9, p. 23)
  • Riding gate (type 12, p. 26)

Yes, these triangular passages only block cattle, not sheep. They usually are quite wide – people can pass them comfortably without having to squeeze through.

@JassKurn: I disagree, like @SomeoneElse I think labelling it as a stile obscures the meaning of a stile. This kind of passage is entire feasible for my father, but stiles (including most squeezers & ramblers gates) are not. Most squeezers in the Peak District, and elsewhere will have a small step and not offer a level passage. Changing the meaning of stile would mean that I would not be able to create a route avoiding them without having to write specific rules for this type of gap. This is a non-trivial issue for pedestrian routing for people with some limitations of mobility.

There are plenty of gap style ‘barriers’ on rights of way and this more logically belongs with them.

I don’t agree that labelling this structure as stile obscures the meaning of stile. The meaning Stile is well established

A Stile is a structure or opening, that does not involve a gate, which allows passage for pedestrians, but obstructs passage for large animals (eg Cattle & Sheep). They’re commonly found rural areas where footpaths need to cross a barrier designed to enclose domestic animals.

You’ve brought up a major issue that stiles are a huge access issue for many people. I am disabled (limited use of arms) and find Ladder Stiles nearly always impossible to cross, but can cross the other types. I also find it very difficult to use gates. Gates are replacing some forms of stile, making access for me more difficult.

Arguing that a specific form of “stile type barrier” should be not included due some form of default implied disability issue would create a mess. With there being such varied potential access limitations due to disability, this issue should be managed under a different tag.

Hmm. I’m not so sure it is…

It seems most dictionary definitions of a stile include some form of words indicating that a step is a key constituent of a stile [e.g., 1,2,3].

The original approved proposal for barrier defined barrier=stile as “stairs over a fence”.

OSM’s definition has come to reflect the definition on Wikipedia of: " forms include steps, ladders, or narrow gaps."

However, interestingly, Wikipedia’s source for that definition is Merriam-Webster which actually only mentions a step: “a step or set of steps for passing over a fence or wall”[2].

I think we may have had a bit of definition-creep in OSM and it would be better keep “stile” as an object that must be climbed over.

Edit: actually maybe that ship has sailed. I see that 20% of values for the key stile are for squeezer. So clearly the usage is there to expand the definition in OSM.

Looking at that page also mentioned Rambler gates which I hadn’t spotted before so had a look just for the sake of it :slight_smile:

That page in turn had mention of a Guide to Country Gates and Barriers, primarily intended for disabled accessibility, but full of all sorts of useful info!

P35 would seem to suggest that the fence passage is a “Neath Scooter Chicane”.

P12 also mentions that stiles have steps!

That’d be these. They’re in OSM as stile=ramblers_gate because that’s the name written on the mass-produced ones, which are the majority. Nearly all of them have an effective step, because the pivot mechanism for the two arms is above ground level.

Squeezers, for some reason, have always been referred to as stiles. Most traditional ones have a step and I have a whole sequence of photos of ones between Castleton and Hope which have progressively had other obstacles to livestock added (gates, a bar across the bottom etc). So no meaning creep there.

Extending stile to any other gap is certainly an extension of meaning of tags. This seems to be common practice currently within OSM, but I regard it as deleterious because it pushes work onto both data consumers and mappers: both may have to revisit objects mapped previously with an unambiguous meaning which gets lost.

Far better to document a thing and use a different tag at the outset. it’s much easier to recognise commonality once there’s a decent amount of data in OSM and experience of using it. In this case I think tagging is a bit deficient for gaps in hedgerows, walls etc., and could be improved. Turning everything into barrier=stile isn’t the way to achieve this.

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How did you end up tagging tthis?