Cutting and clearance of vegetation

Bluebells alongside Doddinghurst Footpath 5

It is a duty of the highway authority to keep public rights of way free from obstruction by natural upgrowth [Highways Act 1980, Section 41].

Keeping side growth from encroaching on to a path is the responsibility of the landowner, although hedges may be trimmed back by us as part of the works associated with the seasonal cutting of paths.

When and where is it needed?

Vegetation cutting of the natural seasonal upgrowth during the summer on our PRoW network is undertaken between May and October. We deliver this service through the following schemes:

Maintenance Teams have an established annual cutting programme, which allows for the most cost-effective programming of routine work. Visit our interactive map below to see whether the paths near you are on our schedule.  These paths will be cut during May, June and July, as conditions permit.

Where cutting is requested on a path not contained in the programme an assessment will be made on site as to whether it should be added to future programmes or cut on an ad hoc basis. Please Tell us online.

Some paths are only cut outside of the bird nesting season. Select a path to see if it is on our Summer or Winter cutting programmes, or, in some cases, on both. Paths on the Winter Cutting Programme are cut during the Autumn and Winter.

Community Schemes to cut vegetation are managed through partnerships with Local Authorities and Landowners.

  • Parish, Town, District, Borough and City councils are able to enter into a service level agreement with us to maintain the vegetation on their priority routes. Councils make an application to us in December with a schedule of paths that they wish to take responsibility for cutting and we enable them through a grant. Many Parish Councils in Essex operate very effective cutting schemes using local contractors. 
  • Many Community groups volunteer through our Parish Paths Partnership scheme to clear seasonal upgrowth. Groups identify paths that need attention and organise a work party to clear the vegetation. The volunteers are supported by our PROW Officers and do this in addition to our fomal cutting programmes.
  • Over 75 farmers and landowners also cut paths on their land or land within their control under the headland management scheme.

See which parishes are cutting under a service level agreement or who is volunteering under the Parish Paths Partnership scheme see our Volunteering page.

To see where our maintenance teams are cutting in your area please see the interactive map below.