Miles of our public paths are unrecorded but frequently used. If they are not put on the map by 1 January 2026, they will be lost for ever.
Ramblers.org is leading a campaign to preserve our lost or unrecorded rights of way before 2026, when the Countryside and Rights of Way Act officially comes into force.
This means paths (footpaths and bridleways) which existed before 1949 and which aren't recorded on definitive maps on 1 January 2026 will be extinguished.
What is a right of way?
Public rights of way can come into existence through creation (either by legal order or by an agreement made with the landowner) or dedication by the landowner (either expressly or by presumption or by “deemed dedication” following 20 years’ public use). More about all that here.
Whilst on some of our walks we've seen marked footpaths blocked off by fencing, gates chained and other natural barriers erected to try to prevent certain footpaths from being used (rather naughty). The Guardian has a series of interesting articles with stories from walkers like us who've found our paths obstructed in places.
How you can help
You can read more about the campaign to preserve our rights of way and join the campaign here.