Trail Riding Terms Explained!

Trail Riding Terms Explained!

Understanding Trail Riding Terms

Do you know your BOAT from your ORPA? Trail riding and map reading go hand in hand. Here are the explanations behind a few popular terms.

Always ensure you refer to the County Councils Rights of Way website to establish whether any restrictions exist on your planned route. If your in doubt, please contact your Wiltshire TRF Rights of Way Officer. 

Landranger OS ROW image
Explorer OS ROW image
Acronym Description Explanation Can it be used for trail riding?
 BOAT Byway Open to All Traffic This is a Right of Way that may be used by motor vehicles but is legally defined as being used mainly by pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders.  BOATs are marked on OS maps using alternating red crossed and dashes (Landranger) and green crosses (Pathrinder) Yes (unless TRO/VR exists)
ORPA Other Routes with Public Access This is a term created by Ordnance Survey to convey the locations of unpaved roads following a request made to Local Authorities for such information in 1997. Many shown in or near to urban areas have now been paved, though information generally remains accurate for those in rural areas.  

OS record ORPA using solid red circles (Landranger) and solid green circles (Pathfinder

Yes (unless TRO/VR exists)
PROW Public Rights of Way  A Public Highway where the type of permitted use is split in to four classifications: –

  1. Public Footpath,
  2. Bridleway, 
  3. Restricted Byway,
  4. Byway Open to All Traffic

Rights of Way are only found in England and Wales. 

Yes – when signed as BOAT
RB Restricted Byway A Right of Way that may be used by pedestrians, cyclists, horse riders and non-motorised vehicles (usually those driven by horses). The CROW Act reclassified all RUPP as Restricted Byway, extinguishing all motor vehicle rights of use in the process.

Some motor vehicle rights of use may subsist for a minority of Restricted Byways through the exemptions stipulated in the NERC Act, though the question of which Restricted Byways these exceptions apply to is a complicated, contentious and expensive one to answer.

Restricted Byways are marked on OS maps using alternating red dots and dashes (Landranger) and green demi-crosses alternating in different directions (Pathfinder).

RUPP Road Used as a Public Path An obsolete term used to describe highway that carried motor vehicle rights of use prior to their reclassification as Restricted Byway by the Countryside Rights of Way Act of 2000. No



Traffic Regulation Order 

Temporary TRO

Emergency TRO

TRO can restrict any type of traffic on any highway for up to eighteen months (Temporary TRO), or permanently. TROs must be signed clearly so that the public know exactly what use is forbidden.

The ‘no motor vehicles’ sign shows a BSA A10 motorcycle flying over a Ford Prefect of the same era within a red circle.  A plain red circle means no vehicles at all except bicycles being pushed by pedestrians.

Dependent on signage
VR Voluntary Restraint An informal, flexible method of management that a Council may use to request a particular route be avoided by the public – often before a TRO consultation.  VR has no legal compulsion and instead requires the public to exercise responsible restraint.  Sensible use of VR takes into account the surface condition when wet and the frequency and type of public use. Dependent on the terms of the VR, as some VR’s may state motorbikes are permitted but not cars/4×4’s
 UCR Unclassified (County) Road A minor public road which may be paved or unpaved. We enjoy riding the unpaved variant, which must appear on the List of Streets for our use to be lawful.

UCR are usually recorded on OS maps as ORPA or White Roads and are traditionally referred to as ‘County Roads’.

Yes (unless TRO/VR exists)