Walkers could save an estimated of 10,000 miles of historic paths in the UK, according to a campaign launched by the Ramblers.
Outdoor enthusiasts are being asked to identify ancient footpaths on their next walk, in an attempt to save an essential part of our history.
The ‘Don’t Lose Your Way’ Campaign, launched by Ramblers, a leading outdoor charity, is encouraging people to become outdoor adventurers to track down historic routes that might be disappeared from the definitive map by 2026.
“Exploring landscape history I think is a little like being a detective,” explains by campaigner Mary-Ann Ochota. “You need to find the evidence and the clues in the landscape around you, and put that together in order to tell the story of what happened in the countryside here.”
Paths are essential part of our heritage. And when I walk on this path here, heading in that direction there, I am walking in the footsteps of my ancestors.”
A famous British adventurer, Alastair Humphreys has also showed his support to the campaign: “Adventures begin with path, they lead to so many fascinating places.”
Comparing the current map to the ordnance survey map from hundred years ago, the participants could spot the missing road by themselves. Jack Cornish, the lead on Rambler, explained that: “We’ve split up the country into one kilometre squares… And we’re basically just asking people to spot the difference. Draw the line of the path on and press submit.”
“Square by square, with the public’s help, we can map the whole of the country and find out really how many lost rights of way there are in England and Wales.”
After doing some mapping on the website, Rebecca Brough, the policy and advocacy manager for Ramblers Cymru did made an amazing discovery during her walk in Wales.
“It showed up a couple of possible missing links which would actually improve the walking routes in the area around Coychurch, including helping create a more circular walk which could keep people from having to walk along the busy road.”
Rebecca enjoyed her walking journey around Coychurch very much, “It was good to get out on the ground and see the places I’d looked at on the project website and think about the potential to help create a few nice new walks for local people to enjoy.”
The Ramblers has a belief that the 2026 cut-off date is untenable and could be extent to 2031. However, it is never too late to protect the historic paths around us.
Just like Marry said: “Poking round in bushes has never been quite so much fun, when you realise you are helping secure a historic right of way for future generations.”