Thursday, March 05, 2020

Don't Lose Your Right of Way

The English & Welsh are set to lose thousands of miles of rights of way. The Countryside and Rights of Way Act will come into force in 2026. This new law states that if a right of way is not already in the legal record it cannot be added based on historical records. This means that any historical footpath that is not in the definitive legal record on 1st January 2026 could be lost forever.

In England & Wales a 'right of way' is a path which the public has a legally protected right to use. These rights of way often cross private property, such as farms or large estates. Some land owners aren't happy to have rights of way crossing their property and some have been known to obscure, block or otherwise hide rights of way. Sometimes they are so successful that foothpaths end up disappearing from Ordnance Survey maps.

In order to ensure that we lose as few historical rights of way as possible the Ramblers Association has started a crowdsourced campaign to add missing rights of way to the official record. The campaign involves thousands of volunteers scouring vintage maps to find footpaths and bridleways which are missing from the latest Ordnance Survey Maps.

You can help save historical rights of way at Don't Lose Your Way. If you participate in the campaign you are shown two maps of a random area. One of the maps is the current Ordnance Survey map and the other is an historical map. Your job is to find footpaths or bridlepaths which are shown on the historical map and not on the current Ordnance Survey map. If you find a path that is missing from the current map you simply need to use the drawing tool to plot the path's route on the map.

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