Finding historical sources online

There are many sources of online maps (both national and local) to start your search for lost ways to be restored and added to the definitive map. If you know of other sources not listed below or come across a broken link then please email DLYW@Ramblers.org.uk

Please check back as more links will be added (pages last updated 27 November 2018) and please note all links open in a new window.

National & general sources

  • National Library of Scotland: The National Library of Scotland holds a collection of UK-wide fully georeferenced OS maps and Bartholomew's "Half Inch to the Mile Maps" of England and Wales. Particularly useful are the very detailed OS County Series 25” England & Wales maps.
  • The National Archives: The National Archives do not have extensive map collections digitised however their catalogue will give you a good idea where other documents are stored (in the National Archives and locally). There is a particularly useful tool available for locating the 1910 Finance Act maps.
  • British Library: The British Library holds a digitised collection of the original preliminary drawings made by the OS surveyors between the 1780s and 1840 (index here). The Library also holds a range of other maps which have been geo-referenced.
  • Old Maps Online: OldMapsOnline.org draws from a number of archive collections and features a range of maps searchable by place.
  • Vision of Britain: VisionofBritain.org.uk holds a number of maps including 1st Edition OS Old Series maps and a number of UK wide maps. This website also includes historical accounts of travelers which may prove interesting.
  • National Library of Australia: The National Library of Australia has a complete set of the 1st Edition OS Old Series maps available online as well as a range of other digitised maps of the United Kingdom (found through the search functionality).
  • Old-maps.co.uk: Old-maps.co.uk holds a range of maps including OS County series maps (but in black and white only).
  • New Popular Edition Maps: npemap.org.uk has the New Popular Edition of the OS map from primarily the 1940s.
  • GB1900: The GB1900 project has transcribed (and geolocated) all of the words on the OS maps published c.1900.
  • Maps for sale: There are a large number of websites with maps for sale. Often the sale pictures of these maps are of sufficient quality to be screenshotted for a Definitive Map Modification Order application. Examples include pastpages.co.uk, antiquemaps.com, jpmaps.co.uk, lindisfarneprints.com, antique-prints-maps.com, copperplate.co.uk, gillmark.com and rareoldprints.com. Look out for ebay.co.uk listings as sometimes these are of sufficient quality to screenshot for an application.
  • GenMaps: Although most maps on this website are large scale county maps there are some useful maps – sorted by county.
  • Mapco: Mapco.net has a range of historical maps of the British Isles.

  • Picture Archives: There a number of picture archives which may yield historical evidence that a path was used by the public. Examples include: historic-newspapers.co.uk, Historic England’s archive, timepix.uk and the London Picture Archive.

  • Aerial photographs: BritainFromAbove.org.uk and CambridgeAirPhotos.com hold extensive collections of aerial photographs.
  • Historic England: The Historic England Archive contains a large range of photographs, plans and drawings of England’s buildings and historic sites.
  • RCHME: The Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England Inventory Volumes, organised by county are available at British History Online. The plates at the end of these volumes often feature maps which may be useful in research. The same website also hosts the online reproductions of the Victoria County History which includes descriptions of settlements – the best index for the Victoria County History is here.
  • Sabre Roads: Sabre-roads.org.uk have a number of old road maps of Great Britain.
  • Modern sources: Bing Maps has the current OS map available on desktop browsers (click the top right where it says “Road” and change to “Ordnance Survey” and zoom in to get greatest details). Rowmaps.com has created a map of the rights of way network using data supplied by local authorities (incomplete coverage of local authorities). Geograph has a large number of geolocated user uploaded pictures from the last ten years, and useful historical information, which can provide context in an application.
  • Local History Groups: It is worth finding out what resources your local history group have access toThe British Association for Local History and Local History Online have directories of groups across the country.
  • Land Registry: Land Registry information on INSPIRE mapping is the easiest place to first see if parcels of land are registered (please note that this page sometimes takes a while to load and for best results zoom into the required area and then click “CP.CadastralParcel” on the left). Searches for individual properties can then be made on the Land Registry website.

Local sources

In addition to the above national and general sources there is a wide range of local sources for digitised maps. See the list below of local authorities in England and Wales (excluding Inner London). There are links to local sources where the name of the local authority is in red.

Local sources

Anglesey

Merthyr Tydfil

Barking and Dagenham (London Borough of)

Merton (London Borough of)

Barnet (London Borough of)

Middlesbrough Borough Council

Barnsley Borough Council

Milton Keynes Council

Bath and North East Somerset Council

Monmouthshire

Bedford Borough Council

Neath Port Talbot

Bexley (London Borough of)

Newcastle Upon Tyne City Council

Birmingham City Council

Newham (London Borough of)

Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council

Newport

Blackpool Council

Norfolk County Council

Blaenau Gwent

North East Lincolnshire Council

Bolton Borough Council

North Lincolnshire Council

Bournemouth Borough Council

North Somerset Council

Bracknell Forest Borough Council

North Tyneside Borough Council

Bradford City Council

North Yorkshire County Council

Brent (London Borough of)

Northamptonshire County Council

Bridgend

Northumberland County Council

Brighton and Hove City Council

Nottingham City Council

Bristol City Council

Nottinghamshire County Council

Bromley (London Borough of)

Oldham Borough Council

Buckinghamshire County Council

Oxfordshire County Council

Bury Borough Council

Pembrokeshire

Caerphilly

Peterborough City Council

Calderdale Borough Council

Plymouth City Council

Cambridgeshire County Council

Poole Borough Council

Cardiff

Portsmouth City Council

Carmarthenshire

Powys

Central Bedfordshire Council

Reading Borough Council

Ceredigion

Redbridge (London Borough of)

Cheshire East Council

Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council

Cheshire West and Chester Council

Rhondda Cynon Taf

City of York Council

Richmond upon Thames (London Borough of)

Conwy

Rochdale Borough Council

Cornwall Council

Rotherham Borough Council

Coventry City Council

Rutland County Council

Croydon (London Borough of)

Salford City Council

Cumbria County Council

Sandwell Borough Council

Darlington Borough Council

Sefton Borough Council

Denbighshire

Sheffield City Council

Derby City Council

Shropshire Council

Derbyshire County Council

Slough Borough Council

Devon County Council

Solihull Borough Council

Doncaster Borough Council

Somerset County Council

Dorset County Council

South Gloucestershire Council

Dudley Borough Council

South Tyneside Borough Council

Durham County Council

Southampton City Council

Ealing (London Borough of)

Southend-on-Sea Borough Council

East Riding of Yorkshire Council

St Helens Borough Council

East Sussex County Council

Staffordshire County Council

Enfield (London Borough of)

Stockport Borough Council

Essex County Council

Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

Flintshire

Stoke-on-Trent City Council

Gateshead Borough Council

Suffolk County Council

Gloucestershire County Council

Sunderland City Council

Gwynedd

Surrey County Council

Halton Borough Council

Sutton (London Borough of)

Hampshire County Council

Swansea

Haringey (London Borough of)

Swindon Borough Council

Harrow (London Borough of)

Tameside Borough Council

Hartlepool Borough Council

Telford and Wrekin Borough Council

Havering (London Borough of)

Thurrock Council

Herefordshire Council

Torbay Council

Hertfordshire County Council

Torfaen

Hillingdon (London Borough of)

Trafford Borough Council

Hounslow (London Borough of)

Vale of Glamorgan

Hull City Council

Wakefield City Council

Isle of Wight Council

Walsall Borough Council

Kent County Council

Waltham Forest (London Borough of)

Kingston upon Thames (London Borough of)

Warrington Borough Council

Kirklees Borough Council

Warwickshire County Council

Knowsley Borough Council

West Berkshire Council

Lancashire County Council

West Sussex County Council

Leeds City Council

Wigan Borough Council

Leicester City Council

Wiltshire Council

Leicestershire County Council

Windsor and Maidenhead Borough Council

Lincolnshire County Council

Wirral Borough Council

Liverpool City Council

Wokingham Borough Council

Luton Borough Council

Wolverhampton City Council

Manchester City Council

Worcestershire County Council

Medway Council

Wrexham