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Don’t let us lose our ancient paths

February 4, 2014

This today from the Ramblers Association – please click on the link to see what you can do to help.


Dear Rambler

14 years ago we won the right to roam over mountains and moor, over heathland and downland. When I open an OS map and see this right symbolised by swathes of yellow, I feel proud to be a Rambler and of all we’ve achieved together.


But included in that law was a catch. It said that in 2026, footpaths that aren’t on the map will be left off it. Forever.


We’re now halfway to 2026. We know that over 4,000 paths are still waiting to be added to the map and many more remain undiscovered. If a path’s not on the map it can be closed off, built on, gone forever. 


These are historic footpaths. Paths that have been walked by our ancestors, who used them to go to market, walk to church, visit their relatives. These footpaths are part of our heritage but unless things change, they won’t have a future.


It gets worse. It’s really hard to get a path put on the map. It can take over 20 years, and involves lots of to-ing and fro-ing between landowners, the council, the Government and the people who use the path. We just don’t have that time left.


Working with landowners and councils, we’ve come up with ways to make it easier to put paths on the map. So we don’t have to wait years and years for a path to be protected.


MPs are discussing our plans today. I’ll let you know how it goes, and how you can help as the political debate continues.


Together, we can ensure our historic footpaths have a future.


Many thanks,



Nicky Philpott
Director of Campaigns


PS – you can find out more about the plans and our Don’t Lose Your Way campaign on our website


2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 4, 2014 11:01 am

    We must not ignore urban paths as well.
    Will paths on local council land that are not public rights of way – many of them used regularly in places like housing estates – be automatically recorded before 2026 ?

  2. February 4, 2014 5:41 pm

    I suspect not. Important that all paths are claimed asap.

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