Thousands of volunteers have worked to compare current maps of England and Wales with historic maps to identify over 49,000 miles of paths. Inclusion on this map does not mean that there is currently a right to walk them, and more paths may yet be identified. Historical and documentary evidence will need to be gathered and cases built to be able to submit successful applications to restore these paths for public use. The next stage is prioritising the paths. Those with the highest priority will bring the most benefit to the rights of way network. The Local Authority may also have priorities, for example, walking and cycling for local journeys is a priority in Shropshire Council’s Countryside Access Improvement Plan. Additional work to research individual paths, to find out if they can be and should be saved and build applications based on historical evidence will be undertaken before the final submission deadline of 1st January 2026. You can check if your land is affected by looking on the ‘Don’t Lose Your Way’ mapping tool online and suggest a priority for paths in your area.

Author: Melanie Holt