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This article is about paths for use by pedestrians that are not next to a road. For paths beside roads, see Sidewalk. For other uses, see Footpath (disambiguation).
An urban footpath in Ipswich, United Kingdom
A rural footpath with a stile in Derbyshire, United Kingdom

A footpath (also pedestrian way, walking trail, nature trail) is a type of thoroughfare that is intended for use only by pedestrians, not other forms of traffic such as motorized vehicles and horses. They can be paths within an urban area, or rural paths through the countryside. Urban footpaths are usually paved, may have steps, are called alleys, lanes, steps, etc., and may be named. Other public rights of way, such as bridleways, byways, towpaths, and green lanes are also used by pedestrians.


The terms "shared-use path", "separated-use path" or "multi-use path" may be used, if pedestrians and other forms of traffic make use of the same thoroughfare. The term footpath can also be used to describe a pavement / sidewalk in some English speaking countries.

In some regions of the United Kingdom, such as England and Wales, there are rights of way on which pedestrians have a legally protected right to travel.

National parks, nature preserves, conservation areas and other protected wilderness areas may have trails that are restricted to pedestrians.[1]

Construction materials[edit]

Footpaths may be constructed of masonry, brick, poured or modular unit concrete, cut stone or wood boardwalk. Also crushed rock, decomposed granite, fine wood chips are commonly used. The construction materials can vary over the length of the footpath and may start with a well constructed hard surface in an urban area, and end with an inexpensive soft or loose surface in the countryside.

Footpath issues[edit]

Footpaths do have drawbacks. The main issues include maintenance, litter, crime, and lighting after dark. There are also growing issues concerning conflict between walkers and livestock resulting in severe injures and deaths. Dog walking is also associated with these conflicts - see Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953. As many footpaths can be in remote locations, it can be difficult to provide needed routine maintenance to them.

Types of footpaths[edit]

Footpath Map: A designed network shown in blue provides easy accessibility around a residential neighborhood.

Footpaths can be located in many settings for varied uses and experiences. As a few examples, these can include:

See also[edit]


External links[edit]