M69 motorway or footpath?

Did you know there are actually two ‘M69’s in Leicestershire? Most people will know of the M69 that is the motorway from Leicester to Coventry. But there is another M69, also a public highway, which is a footpath which goes from near Coleorton Primary School northeast for half a mile to join the path from Ginn Stables to the Post Office.
Each public footpath, bridleway and byway in Leicestershire has a unique reference number which is shown on the Definitive Map. These link to the description of each route in the accompanying Definitive Statement of Public Rights of Way. The reference numbers are invaluable in distinguishing routes in the formal legal documents such as the orders and plans involved when a right of way diversion is proposed.
The reference numbers were first allocated when the Definitive Maps were being complied in the early 1950s. The sequence starts with A1 which is a part footpath/part bridleway stretching from Husbands Bosworth north towards Mowsley. Initially  routes were numbered from 1 to 99, and then the next letter of the alphabet was used, so the numbers proceeded A1-A99, B1 – B99, in an anti-clockwise sequence round the County. So Z99 is a footpath in the parish of Saddington.
Subsequently somde routes were added to the Definitive Map in the mid-1950s as a result of a series of Tribunals and these are usually indicated by a suffix (usually A) such as A10A which is a short footpath on the edge of Husbands Bosworth.  A whole series of added paths in Great Dalby were numbered D98A – D98N. Newer rights of way have been added by using numbers from 100 onwards in the relevant letter sequence for that area, so Z110 is a short bit of path in central Blaby.
Numbers on the eastern edge of Leicestershire are in the D and especially the E series so, when Rutland became part of Leicestershire in 1974, the relevant Leicestershire numbers were used for all cross-border paths and then other routes in Rutland were numbered in the E series from E101 to E357. Rutland retained this numbering system when it again became a separate County in 1997.
So if you see a report of a proposed footpath diversion for example in The Paddocks area of Coleorton, using these reference numbers helps the County Council, and consultees such as the LFA, to distinguish a route such as M69 from the whole cluster of other uniquely numbered footpaths nearby. If you want to see what the numbers of paths are, this is possible with the new online rights of way mapping which can be accessed via www.leics.gov.uk/maps.
Andrew Poole 
Sustainable Travel Officer
Travel Choice and Access Team