UK Bridleway Public Right of Way Tagging

Looking through “Robert’s OpenStreetMap Stuff” website, UK Public Right of Ways (PROW) seem to be a bit of a mess. Before I start manually updating some tags on existing routes, I want to confirm that my understanding on UK PROW tagging is correct – in particular public bridleways.

My understanding is that all UK public bridleways should contain the below tags. The only exception being bicycle=designated should be bicycle=no if bicycles are explicitly forbidden by a local authority or by-law.

highway     = *
designation = public_bridleway
horse       = designated
foot        = designated
bicycle     = designated
prow_ref    = *


And also, that even if the public bridleway is not physically suitable for bicycles, it should still be tagged as bicycle=designated, as the tag denotes the public have a legally protected right to access it on a bicycle, rather than whether or not it is actually suitable for bicycles.

“…designated ways are intended to be usable for the designated purpose(s). If real world usability does not match designation the ways should be still tagged as designated with additional tags such as for example smoothness=horrible to describe the real world (un)usability.”


So, when adding missing PROW reference numbers for example, it would make sense to also check the above tags are correct. I.E. a public bridleway should be tagged as foot=designated instead of foot=yes, and tagged as bicycle=designated instead of Bicycles = Not Specified.

Is my understanding correct? And route planners for bicycles should be using smoothness=*, surface=*, tracktype=*, etc. instead to determine suitability?

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