How you can keep paths open and accessible

From getting out and exploring them to lending your voice to our campaigns, there’s plenty of things you can do to support our path network

Whether criss-crossing the countryside or winding through our urban green spaces, our path network is the main way most of us get into the outdoors. It’s a national treasure.

But in too many places, preventable barriers, from blocked paths to man-made obstacles, are stopping people experiencing everything it has to offer. Tackling these barriers won’t just get more people out exploring our wonderful green spaces – it will also improve the experience of walking in the outdoors for all of us.


Here’s what you can do to keep paths open to all


Use it or lose it

One of the most impactful ways to protect our path network is also the simplest: get out and use it. Paths that are used regularly will be prioritised by the council responsible for maintaining and help keep them barrier free.

Using them will also help to keep overgrowth at bay. Plus, you’ll be able to keep your eye out for anything that needs a bit more work to remove.

Find a walk near you


Sort out the small stuff

If you find yourself out on a walk and come across a small barrier, like a small branch blocking the way, you don’t need to wait for the council to help. If it’s safe to do so, get stuck in yourself and clear it to the side of the path. It could make a huge difference to the next person.

Overgrown vegetation is slightly different. If you happen to have pocket secateurs or scissors on you (I know I do), you can cut it back just enough to get you and your accompaniments through. However, you shouldn’t go out with the express purpose of clearing vegetation without permission from the landowner as that could be considered criminal damage. No obstruction vigilantes here, please.

If you want to go a step further, you could get involved in our path maintenance work.

A walker trying to navigate a blocked footpath

Report any larger issues

If you come across an obstruction you can’t move out of the way, report it to the local highway authority. The highway authority has responsibility over all the public rights of way in their area.

You can use our highway authority map to find out where to report a problem. Simply navigate to where the problem is, click on the map, and a link to the relevant local authority will pop up.

Find out more


Get stuck in as a volunteer

Our national network of volunteers dedicate their time to making sure our paths are open, clear and well maintained for everyone to enjoy. They do amazing work and you can get involved too. Whether you want to help us research lost paths from the comfort of your own home or get your hands dirty on your local tracks and trails, we have a role for you.

Find out how you can make a difference on our volunteering page


Help us unlock the outdoors

We want everyone, everywhere to be able to enjoy the benefits of walking in nature. So in the run up to the general election, we’re calling on all political parties to a commit to a transformational new Access to Nature Bill.

A key part of this bill is unlocking the potential of the path network. We’re calling for all unnecessary barriers on our path network to be removed within five years, the removal of the deadline to claim unrecorded public rights of way, a new statutory quality standard for rights of way, and a requirement for local authorities to report on their performance.

Help unlock the outdoors by signing our pledge

Want to get involved locally? Attend local council meetings about public rights of way to stand up for walkers. And write to your local MP and councillors to show them how much our path network means. Invite them on a walk with you and show them the problems facing walkers.


Donate to support our work

As Britain’s walking charity, we’re dedicated to campaigning to keep the outdoors open to all.

We fought to establish National Parks and National Trails. And we successfully campaigned for everyone to enjoy Britain's coastline on foot. We've helped open up vast swathes of the British countryside which was out of bounds, and we made sure laws were amended and added to keep it that way. 

Donate to help us keep the outdoors open to all

A group of people walking along a path in a local park with grass, trees and flowers

Green routes

We think every town and city should have a network of green routes so that everyone can enjoy the benefits of walking in nature.

A group of walkers on a wide tree-lined path


At the Ramblers, we do everything we can to make sure everyone, everywhere can enjoy walking in nature. And our volunteers are at the very heart of this work. Together, we can achieve so much more.


Donate today and help change lives

We’re here to help anyone and everyone to go walking because we know it’s great for our health and wellbeing. But sometimes, the impact can be transformative, even a lifeline, for people. A donation today could change more lives.