Restarting Path Maintenance: Guidance for volunteers

Path Maintenance

If you would like to restart path maintenance activities, and the current restrictions allow you to do so, these are the key steps you need to take:

  1. Record your team’s roles on Assemble: all team members must have their volunteer role recorded
  2. Get permission: from the local authority (for public rights of way in England & Wales) or landowner (for all other paths, including those in Scotland).
  3. Stay safe by physically distancing: follow government guidelines on physical distancing, and limit numbers where necessary.
  4. Take a register: this is required to support NHS contact tracing.
  5. Complete a risk assessment: use our template and complete a risk assessment for each task. 
  6. Get your work signed off: by the local authority or landowner.

Resources to help you restart path maintenance:

  • Path Maintenance Restart Guide: A more in-depth guide to the key steps you need to consider when restarting path maintenance
  • Path maintenance risk assessment: PDF version / Word version. A checklist to help you identify and manage the risks on your path maintenance activities.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)


How can I record my volunteer role on Assemble?

Email with your name, email address, volunteer role(s), the path team you volunteer with and membership number (if you have one). Remember to copy your path team leader into the email you send to us too.

Path maintenance team leaders can also send a list of all the volunteers in your team, and we’ll get everyone recorded in one go!

Will path maintenance activities be insured?

Yes – unless path maintenance activities are currently suspended in your area. Ramblers provide liability and personal accident insurance for volunteers. In order to be insured, there are a few steps you must take – find out more in the document hub on Assemble.

Do we have to limit group size for path maintenance?

No, but you must assess the work site and limit numbers appropriately so there’s room for everyone to work safely.

What path maintenance tasks can we do?

Path maintenance team leaders must think carefully about the tasks that can be carried out safely. Physical distancing may mean some tasks, such as gate installation or bridge construction, are not possible.

Activities where team members can spread out along the path, such as vegetation clearance, may be easier to manage – check with your local authority about the sort of work available for you to do.

All activities should be included in your risk assessment, along with the steps you are taking to maintain physical distancing and keep everyone safe.

If you have questions about specific activities, please get in touch by email


Do we need to take a register?

Yes. You must keep a record of everyone in the group in case this is needed for contact tracing. Explain to participants that their details may be shared for this purpose, keep records securely, and delete or destroy the register after 21 days. 


What if someone develops symptoms after a path maintenance work party?

If someone develops symptoms, they should apply to get a COVID-19 test and let NHS contact tracers know that they took part in the path maintenance activity.

Path maintenance team leaders should not share contact details, unless requested by NHS contact tracers. If you are asked to provide details for NHS contact tracing, please let us know:

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