Natural England - Paths for Communities

Paths for Communities

Latest news

11 March 2014
The winter 2014 P4C newsletter: (1.17mb)pdf document is now available

5 March 2014
Projects are now complete or nearing completion, and we are asking our projects to complete feedback on a template in the form of a case story. An example of a completed template is from the Beck Linear Park Path project: (2.84mb)pdf document in north Lincolnshire.

21 November 2013
The autumn 2013 P4C newsletter: (661kb)pdf document is now available.

20 September 2013
Following the 17 September Grants Panel, the budget allocation for Paths for Communities is now fully committed and the scheme is therefore closed to new applications. Projects who have submitted an Expression of Interest or are actively working on applications will be contacted by their local grant officer. We will be publishing a full list of the awarded projects along with a review of the scheme in due course. 

29 July 2013
The summer 2013 P4C newsletter: (1.66mb)pdf document is now available.

16 July 2013
An updated version of the P4C frequently asked questions: (62kb)pdf document is now available.

What is P4C?

Paths for Communities is a funding scheme set up to develop and enhance the network of Public Rights of Way (PROW) in England in order to deliver benefits to rural areas. Local community partnerships are eligible to bid to Natural England for funds.

The aim of P4C is to encourage and support local communities to work with land owners to make improvements to the network of Public Rights of Way. In all cases P4C projects must include some element of new Public Right of Way creation. In most cases projects will include an element of new Bridleway creation but projects that include Footpath creation alone will also be considered where community and economic benefit can be demonstrated.

Applicants for P4C grant should also consider how to secure:

  • Improvements to existing Public Rights of Way that encourage use by a wider range of people with different needs (e.g. improved accessibility for wheelchairs and pushchairs, benches for elderly);

  • Improvements to the network to increase the opportunity for access on foot, cycle or horse and to widen the appeal to visitors and residents;

  • Promotion of the improved network to encourage more use and better support for local services such as shops, pubs, hotels, bed and breakfasts, attractions and cycle and equestrian businesses;

  • Better integration with public transport services and links to popular destinations.

P4C will operate over the 2 year period from May 2012 to March 2014, with a total fund of £2m. The Applicant Handbook: (315kb)pdf document (updated February 2013) explains the detail of the scheme and frequently asked questions: (62kb)pdf document (updated July 2013) may help address questions you have.

If there are any questions we haven’t answered, please direct them to our email:

Where can I find out more?

For a basic summary of the P4C scheme, start by looking at the P4C leaflet: (233kb)pdf document and 6 steps to P4C: (22kb)pdf document.  Both these documents are a useful introduction to the scheme and we encourage that they are used at events and meetings to attract potential new schemes.

There’s lots of useful information available about Public Rights of Way, but we particularly draw your attention to:

P4C is funded by the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE)external link so each P4C project must deliver some of its benefit in a defined rural area. To help you decide if your project includes rural areas, you can use MAGIC, the Defra web-based interactive map service by following these simple instructions:

  • Go to link

  • Select: ‘Interactive map’

  • Under select topic -pick: ‘Design my own topic’

  • In pop-up window, select ‘2001 Settlements’ and press ‘done’

  • Under where do you want to go, select ‘Postcode’ or ‘place’

  • Agree to the terms and conditions and press 'open map'

  • You can then move around the map

  • Urban areas are shown as grey cross hatch – anything else is rural

  • Remember the definition is based on population where <10,000 is rural (If you click on the ‘i’ symbol and then click anywhere on the grey cross hatch it tells you the resident population as at the 2001 Census,2011 to be published soon)

Remember, not all of the project has to be in rural areas, you simply have to demonstrate some rural benefit.