1 January 2026 is the cut-off date for adding historic paths to what is known as the definitive map: the official record of the public’s rights of way in an area.
When a path is on this map, it not only means we have a right to walk on it, but it is much easier to protect and maintain. However, any path which came into existence before 1949 and that has not been requested to be on the map by 2026 will be lost - forever!
Ramblers’ volunteers from up and down the country have been working to restore historic paths. In October 2016 we held a seminar in Birmingham bringing volunteers together to share experiences and advice. You can find the report and more information from the seminar here. To learn more about the history behind the 2026 cut-off date and historic paths please see our Historic Paths and Definitive Maps timeline.
Find out how you can get involved in restoring historic paths by using our handy toolkit and reading the article in Walk magazine.
We are currently exploring what additional support is required for volunteers to restore historic paths. The Don’t Lose Your Way Project Manager, Jack Cornish, would love to hear about your experiences of restoring historic rights of way and what the Ramblers can do to support you. If you have any suggestions or questions, you can contact him via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Use our guide to start restoring historic paths.
The project is focused on supporting volunteers to restore historic rights of way
Find out more about the seminar held in October 2016.
Learn about the timeline to 2026.
Read the Walk article about Don’t Lose Your Way.
Online sources of evidence to support applications for adding routes to the definitive map based on historical evidence.
The countdown to 2026. How long is left to save historic paths?