Exactly 5 years from today, unrecorded rights of way that existed before 1949 will be extinguished. Time is ticking for us to get these unrecorded or under recorded routes correctly recorded on the definitive map.
When we talk about these Lost Ways they aren’t all lost, many of these ways are in current use but they aren’t legally recorded or correctly recorded. These are not new rights, these rights already exist but are currently unrecorded.
There is work required to get these routes legally recorded on the definitive map and with less than 5 years left we all need to get involved and do our bit to protect our local routes.
For anyone that needs an incentive, eligible routes that are being claimed as a bridleway, restricted byway or byway open to all traffic can earn you up to £100 per application from The British Horse Society. Sport England are funding this project and it’s a great way to add to your monthly earnings whilst doing something great for yourself and future generations. The Ramblers are also working hard to protect footpaths throughout England and Wales.
There are many missing footpaths, bridleways, restricted byways and byways open to all traffic which need your help to protect them from being extinguished. There are an estimated 140,000 miles of rights of way in England and Wales with roughly 10% of these under recorded with lower rights and around 49,000 miles of routes missing completely.
A legal order called a Definitive Map Modification Order is required to legally record these missing rights. Once you have completed one of these applications it is reasonably simple to get stuck in to submitting hundreds more. Whilst organisations like The British Horse Society, The Ramblers and Open Spaces Society are working hard and have many volunteers submitting DMMOs, there is still far too much work for the next 4 years than the current man power invested.
For those of us that ride, we are finding that the roads are getting busier and busier and there are sadly many more accidents occurring on our rural roads. Whilst schooling is lovely, hacking out is really what we need to keep training varied. It also benefits our mental health by spending time in the countryside and improves your equines fitness.
There are plenty of us riding routes that are not correctly recorded, so the first thing to do is to check your Ordnance Survey map and ensure your routes are recorded and the correct status. Check out my Lost Ways blog to check what status your routes should be for each user.
Find out in my Historic Evidence blog what is required to submit a DMMO. We cannot expect other people to do the work for us. There’s plenty of help and training available out there to enable each of us to check our local routes and even investigate the wider area around us so that routes are protected for our enjoyment and for use by future generations.