Thousands of volunteers joined forces and checked the current Ordnance Survey map against two historical maps from circa 1900, looking for missing paths. This mapping project has for the first time given us all a true picture of the extent of these lost rights of way, to be able to make applications to the relevant local authority to add them back into the map, to restore them for future generations.
This identification of lost rights of way digital tool was only made possible because of the generous support of the Ramble Worldwide Outdoor Trust. We helped pay for an online mapping tool, which split England and Wales into 154,000 1km squares, each of which was searched by two separate users.
The identification of these potential lost rights of way is the first stage of this process – click here to see how you can help support the next few stages.
Now we are all exploring and using our local network of paths more than ever, we recognise the importance of being able to easily access green space and to connect with nature, it’s vital that we create better walking routes to enable everyone to explore our local areas on foot.
Once these paths have been legally recorded as rights of way, they are protected, and future generations will be able to enjoy them forever. If all missing paths are successfully claimed, there is potential to increase the path network in England and Wales by up to a third. However time is running out to find the remaining paths, with only five years left to collect the evidence! There is a lot of work to do to make the most of this opportunity before 2026.