How the Ramblers are working to save lost paths

Earlier this year, thousands of people joined the search for lost paths, and together we mapped all of England and Wales in just six weeks. In total we found over 49,000 miles of potentially lost paths.

Watch the video below to see how the search happened.

We completed this first stage of the process thanks to the support of thousands of volunteers who compared current maps of England and Wales with two historic maps from 120 years ago. The search was carried out through the Don’t Lose Your Way online mapping tool which split England and Wales into 154,000 1km squares, each of which was searched by two separate users. Using this criteria.

Identifying potential lost rights of way is just the start of a long process to put them back on the map. There are four more steps to saving them:

  • Prioritise those paths which add the most benefit for people.
  • Research individual paths to find out if they can be saved.
  • Build applications based on historical evidence.
  • Submit applications by 1st January 2026.

What happens next?

Over the coming months, we will be working hard to develop resources, tools and training to support volunteers in starting to put these vital paths on the map. Our plans for 2021 are as follows:

  • Developing of map of lost rights of way so that we can prioritise the paths we have found; additional paths can be added and amended and so that we can note which paths are already walked by the public (January – May 2021)
  • Working with volunteers to prioritise the paths we have found (March 2021 onwards)
  • Collecting applications that have already been made by Ramblers volunteers (February – May 2021)
  • Developing templates and guidance and delivering online training to support volunteers in researching lost paths - sign up to our mailing list to get involved when these resources are ready (ongoing throughout 2021)
  • Recruiting for volunteer coordinators in local authority areas across England and Wales (ongoing throughout 2021) Identifying opportunities to work with partners in communities across England and Wales, to support putting paths back on the map (January – July 2021)

We need your support

Donate today to help us save these paths before they’re lost forever.

If you would like to become a Don’t Lose Your Way volunteer, and get involved with these next steps, then email DLYW@ramblers.zendesk.com

To be the first to hear about updates and ways to get involved, join the movement.