NOTICE: is no longer in use from 1st March 2024. Please use the OpenStreetMap Community Forum


Often there will be gates across a public footpath and walkers will be expected to climb them or use the stile next to them. My wife is disabled so can’t climb over most gates.

Some gates are always locked, other are always unlocked and some are only locked when livestock is in the field. Yet other gates have a gap next to them that allows someone to get pass, but blocks cars etc.

Is this recorded anywhere?

asked 04 Sep '14, 16:08

ringi's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

I am assuming by the words public footpath you are talking England or Wales.

It is unreasonable to expect a walker to climb a gate, or fence, in order to negotiate a public right of way, if however there is a stile then that I think is a legal alternative,

If there is a locked gate with no alternative stile, then that should be reported to the local highway authority (usually county council).

On a bridleway, there should be an openable gate,

Many highway authorities are in the process of replacing stiles with kissing gate, but that obviously takes both time and money.

Your local rights of way section may have information on which paths have been converted to kissing gates.

I would certainly not map a locked gate, with no alternative on a right of way without reporting it.

I do map stiles and kissing gates, it is a great shame they are not rendered.

permanent link

answered 04 Sep '14, 17:04

trigpoint's gravatar image

accept rate: 13%

In the OSM database, we use access tags on barriers to express who can pass through the barrier. So gates that can be opened by pedestrians should at least get a foot=yes tag.

As for visualizing this information, Overpass Turbo is your best bet, as described in the stile question.

permanent link

answered 04 Sep '14, 18:18

Tordanik's gravatar image

accept rate: 35%


The issue is that a pedestrian is allowed to go over the gate, but can't open it. So the access is not private.

(04 Sep '14, 18:23) ringi

The access of the path behind the gate is not private. But the access of the gate itself? I think it is, as I would assume that the access value of a gate refers to whether it's open or can be opened, not to other means of circumventing it.

(04 Sep '14, 18:47) Tordanik

I'd suggest that "foot=yes" refers to the legal right of access, not necessarily the ease of doing so. I can think of more than a few footpaths that run over fences, or through locked gates, or through overgrown hedges. Certainly the majority of foot=accessible barriers in the UK don't have any access tag (whether they should or not is a different issue; but it doesn't help the questioner!)

(06 Sep '14, 00:11) SomeoneElse ♦

While it would make sense in theory that tags like foot=yes would refer to the legal situation, how often do you see barriers with legally signed access rights? In practice, these tags are used to map the ability (or perhaps the intended ability) to pass the barrier in the normal manner.

(06 Sep '14, 06:54) Tordanik

@Tordanik In Britain really quite frequently. Which is why people like @trig222 spend a lot of time volunteering to rectify the situation by reporting such problems to the highway authority. I've certainly come across worse What's clear from this question is that we dont have a good single tag to indicate that the legal right of way is obstructed.

(06 Sep '14, 08:00) SK53 ♦

Some mappers have also used "locked=yes" to indicate the normal state of a gate.

permanent link

answered 06 Sep '14, 00:07

SomeoneElse's gravatar image

SomeoneElse ♦
accept rate: 16%

Follow this question

By Email:

Once you sign in you will be able to subscribe for any updates here



Answers and Comments

Markdown Basics

  • *italic* or _italic_
  • **bold** or __bold__
  • link:[text]( "title")
  • image?![alt text](/path/img.jpg "title")
  • numbered list: 1. Foo 2. Bar
  • to add a line break simply add two spaces to where you would like the new line to be.
  • basic HTML tags are also supported

Question tags:


question asked: 04 Sep '14, 16:08

question was seen: 4,529 times

last updated: 06 Sep '14, 08:00

NOTICE: is no longer in use from 1st March 2024. Please use the OpenStreetMap Community Forum