Pathwatch - report path features and problems

Big Pathwatch 

Whether it's locked gates, rampant overgrowth or missing signs, occasionally we find our paths blocked or in need of care. At the Ramblers we want to help ensure paths are accessible for walkers.

Report path problems through Pathwatch and for England and Wales we'll alert the local highway authority.  In Scotland, Pathwatch is not being supported, but you can still report any problems by emailing and they’ll be passed to the Ramblers Scotland office.

By reporting problems to us, you are not only doing your bit to look after paths, but helping us find long term solutions to protecting paths and access for years to come.

There are two ways you can report problems:

1. The Pathwatch app

We've built an entire app that allows you to report features on the go - straight from your pocket.

Using the app you can report positive and negative features, send us photos and even share your discoveries via social media. Using GPS and your phone signal, the app can locate you on OS maps and will allow you report what you've found with the press of a few buttons.

The app also works offline and allows you to download OS grid square maps for your walks in England and Wales.

Get started with the app on Android or iOS today:

Download app from the App store      Download app from Google Play   

2. Pathwatch online 

You can report features directly through the online version of the app.

It's slightly different to the app but still gets us all the information we (and local authorities) need. It also syncs up with the features you record on the app, so you can view all your reported features. Online, you can also report features anonymously and won't need to register or login.

Just like the app, you can scroll around Britain on OS Map data to find the location of the feature you're reporting.



How path maintenance and access works

In England and Wales the body responsible for maintaining public rights of way and keeping them free from obstructions is called the Highway Authority. In practice, this is the county council or unitary authority. That's why we let them know what you send us through Pathwatch - so we can work together to resolve issues.

In Scotland, the legal situation is different, as walkers enjoy a right to roam on most land. Pathwatch was designed for the context of walking in England and Wales, but please do continue to report any problems in Scotland that you come across by emailing and they’ll be passed to the Ramblers Scotland office.

What do the Ramblers do?

Our local group and area paths volunteers do a lot to protect the network to ensure the countryside is open and accessible to all. Our paths volunteers carry out tasks such as :

  • Reporting path problems to local authorities and try to get them resolved. 
  • Organising regular path surveys
  • Carrying out site inspections to inspect path problems
  • Liaising with local authorities over consultations and orders which seek to change the rights of way network and making site visits to assess the benefits or otherwise of any proposed changes.
  • Objecting to such orders when necessary to protect the interests of walkers or negotiating if there’s scope for provision of a better route. 
  • Commenting on other local authority plans, policies, and strategies where they relate to rights of way and pedestrian access and safety. 


What happens to my report after I send it through to Pathwatch?

We send out a fortnightly report with path problems reported to the relevant Highway Authority (county council or unitary authority) and we also copy in the local Ramblers Area.

I haven’t heard back from you about my report

Unfortunately, our system doesn’t currently allow us to provide feedback automatically to individual cases. We are mindful of this and working to improve the system. You can always follow up with the local Ramblers area or group to see if they can help. You can also try and approach the highway authority (county council or unitary authority) directly.

Any queries?

If you've got any queries or can't report path features with the options above, let us know via or for Scottish queries call 020 3961 3270.

If you are unable to use either the app or the dedicated web pages to report a path problem, please take a note of where the path issue is when you are on your walk. You can pass this information onto your local Ramblers group, or contact us using the details above.


Last month's Pathwatch reports: A summary

This is a short summary of the path issues reported to us last month.

View more