The Ramblers is calling on people to help them save thousands of miles of historic paths which are missing from the maps in England and Wales.
On the 1st of January 2026 unrecorded rights of way will no longer be added to the definitive map (the legal record of public paths) based on historical evidence. There are at least 10,000 miles of unrecorded rights of way that could be lost forever when we reach the 2026 deadline. Many of these paths have been created by use over centuries, dating back to medieval times or even earlier and they form a vital part of our heritage – we need to act now, so that we don’t lose them forever.
Don’t Lose Your Way is the Ramblers project focused on making sure these historic rights of way are properly recorded and protected for generations to come. The first step will be to identify where these paths are, and the Ramblers would love your help. They are launching an online mapping platform in February 2020 with the aim of making sure every single map grid square in England and Wales is checked for lost paths.
The path network is an incredible asset that makes it possible for us to access and explore our beautiful landscapes and green spaces – in villages, parishes, towns and cities across the country. Some paths missing from the map might be overgrown and long forgotten or in regular use but missing from the map – getting them back on there will help to protect them for the future. They might have historical significance or create new and useful walking routes perhaps by linking people more easily to local green spaces or improving the path network by linking up existing routes.
To get involved in the fight to save historic rights of way and help map lost paths, download the Ramblers guide at www.ramblers.org.uk/dontloseyourway or follow @RamblersGB on Twitter/ Instagram and @Ramblers on Facebook.