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Public-images-osm logo.svg prow_ref
PF Collage Yes.jpg
The reference number for Public Rights of Way (United Kingdom), as held by the Local Authority. Show/edit corresponding data item.
Group: references
Used on these elements
should not be used on nodesmay be used on waysshould not be used on areasmay be used on relations


Useful combination
Status: in use

prow_ref=* is used to tag the reference number (or alphanumeric code) for Public Rights of Way in England and Wales (parts of the United Kingdom). prow_ref is used as it is mainly used for administrative purposes, and it may not signed on the ground. This usage also avoids any potential conflict when the right of way also follows a numbered road. These reference numbers are held by the relevant Local Authority and are starting to be released as Open Data. Many will be widely known by local footpath and ramblers societies, and others can be ascertained from legal diversion notices.

See also:


A discussion on talk-gb mailing list in March 2013 seemed to end with this suggestion - namely (but read full message/thread):

I would suggest going for the "Ashleyhay FP 3" format as a default for the prow_ref key (i.e. parish name, two-letter type abbreviation, path number without leading zeros).

Numbering of PRoWs was usually done by civil parish, and a number might be used more than once across the different classes of PRoWs, so all three elements are normally needed. Some local authorities may use numbering schemes that are not suitable for this format, so check the local convention when adding prow_ref=* tags.


The following abbreviations are based on a quick look at what has been used already in taginfo.

PRoW type Designation tag Abbreviation
Public Footpath designation=public_footpath FP
Public Bridleway designation=public_bridleway BR or BW
Byway Open to All Traffic

(or just Byway)

designation=byway_open_to_all_traffic BY, BW, or BOAT
Restricted Byway designation=restricted_byway RB

Note that the abbreviation "BW" can mean either Public Bridleway or Byway Open to All Traffic, depending on local authority, but must only refer to one designation type in that local authority's area.

How to map

The prow_ref=* tag should only be used on a public right of way. A public right of way may be tagged as a way way or a relation relation of multiple highways. Below is an example of how prow_ref=* is used as part of a public right of way: