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.

Now we need your help to prioritise, research and build the applications to save them.

We are working with volunteers and partner organisations to develop resources to support thousands of other volunteers across the country, to undertake these tasks. These are likely to include: 

  • A full map of lost paths that can be explored in detail and to which missing lost paths can be added.
  • A way for local coordinators to track progress of applications being developed and submitted.
  • Resources to facilitate the application process. A shared library of historical documents which will contain documents already digitised as part of similar projects and will grow as volunteers add more to it. These documents will allow stronger applications to be built and reduce the need for trips to local and national archives.

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.