This project is a joint attempt by Ramblers and the British Horse Society to save rights of way which might otherwise be lost forever.
Over the last century, as a result of our changing habits and lifestyles, many paths and tracks have fallen into disuse. Recognising that these routes were at risk of being lost, the Government has made repeated attempts to ensure that they were documented and formally recorded. In 1949, every county in England and Wales was required to maintain a Definitive Map showing all rights of way within the county. Progress towards full inclusion of all rights of way has been painfully slow and so finally, in 2000, the Countryside and Rights of Way Act - commonly referred to as the CROW Act - introduced a deadline with the aim of focussing attention on the issue. Any claim for a right of way on a path or track which was in existence prior to 1949 must now be made before 1st January 2026. If not, the right of the public to use that path may be lost forever.
Thus, with just 9 years remaining, effort is now being made to seek out and document these routes. Across the country, Ramblers and BHS groups are rushing to beat the deadline. With potentially thousands of routes to be found, there is much to do. For each route, evidence must be found to support a formal claim for the inclusion of the route on the definitive map.