Lost Ways

Why are we going to loose our ways? Is my favourite route going to be lost?

Basically any route not legally recorded on the definitive map by the 1st January 2026 will be lost forever. After this date set out in the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 historic claims will not longer be able to be submitted. You will however still be able to submit user evidence claims (I’ll keep that for a whole other blog though).

So with all this time on our hands with many of us at home due to coronavirus we can all do our bit to check our routes.

Starting point – check Ordnance Survey 1:2500 scale map either a paper copy, using their mapping software or for free on Bing Maps.

If the route is marked correctly and as the correct status (footpath, bridleway, restricted byway or byway (Byway Open to All Traffic – BOAT) then you don’t need to do anything else other than enjoy using the route responsibly.

If the route isn’t marked on the OS map or not as you would have expected then this needs to be checked against the Local Highway Authorities definitive map – either available online or by contacting your local Rights of Way team.

If the route is marked correctly on the Local Highway Authority’s definitive map you don’t need to do anything else as it islegally recorded correctly.

If you have followed these steps and your route is not recorded then some research needs to be done. You can raise this with you local Ramblers group or British Horse Society Access Field Officer and they can assist any research or pursue the lost route for you. Or you can get stuck in using the many online resources including: The British Horse Society, The Ramblers and The Open Spaces Society.

There is an amazing book which I would recommend by Sarah Bucks & Phil Wadey called Rights of Way – Restoring the Record that takes you through the process step by step if you are going to submit a Definitive Map Modification Order yourself. I could loose hours of my life getting lost in the old maps and I take great pleasure in checking routes as well as completing research for DMMOs.

Lets make the most of this lockdown and make sure that all of our routes are legally recorded before their time is up!


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