[OSM-talk] path or byway ?

elvin ibbotson elvin.ibbotson at poco.org.uk
Mon Jul 21 09:25:50 BST 2008

> From: Pieren <pieren3 at gmail.com>
> Date: 18 July 2008 22:14:32 BDT
> To: talk at openstreetmap.org
> Subject: [OSM-talk] path or byway ?
> Dear talk,
> Could some native english speaker explain the difference between  
> "highway=path" and "highway=byway" recently introduced in map  
> features ?
> The description is not obvious. Is it unpaved / paved ? Where is  
> the limit between path-byway and byway-unclassified ?
> regards
> Pieren

As I understand it, a byway (which may be yet another of the UK- 
oriented map features) is normally an old road or lane which probably  
was once well used by foot traffic, horses, carts, coaches, whatever,  
but was not adopted as part of the modern road network. They are  
often known in Britain as green roads because they have not been  
maintained and rarely have much or any surface left, being generally  
dirt, stones, grass, weeds and mud. They are distinguished from paths  
and bridleways (another British thing?) by still being rights of way  
for all/any traffic and so tend to be popular with the off-road  
community with their 4x4s, quad bikes and scramblers. These things  
tend to make the byways rutted and muddier and upset the walkers and  
mountain bikers (the latter also upsetting the walkers) so that local  
authorities get pressured into placing local restrictions on some  
byways. Enough detail? (I could drone on for hours).


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