A staggering 140,000 miles of public paths criss-cross England and Wales, connecting us to nature and the countryside and making it possible for us to explore the rich and varied landscape.
Whether you’re a seasoned walker striding out on strenuous long-distance hikes, a daily dog walker cutting through local farmland and woods, someone who nips around town via old alleyways and twittens, or simply enjoys an occasional country stroll, it’s thanks to the path network that you can keep doing the things you love.
But what many people may not know is that there are at least 10,000 miles of unrecorded rights of way we are at risk of losing.
On 1 January 2026, it will no longer be possible to add unrecorded rights of way to official maps based on historical evidence
Many of these missing paths have been created by use over centuries, dating back to medieval times or even earlier.
THE PATH AHEAD
Jack Cornish, Ramblers’ programme manager for the Don’t Lose Your Way project, explains why it’s so important to get these unrecorded rights of way back on the map:
“This is our only opportunity to save thousands of miles of rights of way for future generations and time is running out.
“Some of these paths have been carved out by footsteps over centuries, some going back to Roman times or even earlier.
“There are old drove roads, that were used to walk cattle for miles across the country to get to market, and hollow ways that have been literally hollowed out by footsteps over time.
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