Volunteer with Don't Lose Your Way

Love an old map? Help us find the footpaths before they're lost forever.

About the role: Path Researcher - Records

Across England and Wales, volunteers are helping us find historic paths. Every one of these ancient (and not so ancient) footpaths has to be properly recorded before 2026 or they will be lost forever. That may seem like a long way away, but there's a lot of work to be done to get to that point, and a really important bit is evidence.

The National Archives at Kew are a treasure trove of historical maps and other documents. Working from a list of key ones that we're looking for, you'll be trawling through the archives to find the proof we need to show that a path existed, even if it's been lost to the brambles now.

Ideally using your own digital camera, you'll photograph these maps so that volunteers across the country can access the digitised version. You’ll probably need to tidy up the photo, using your own computer and some basic photo editing tools and skills. This will be the version that is used to make the case for a path being protected, so it’s important that it’s good quality. Once you’ve done that, you’ll be uploading the digitised resource to the Ramblers’ central database, making sure that the right category and other labels are set.

This is definitely a role for someone who enjoys getting on with a task on their own, having a rummage around the archives with a methodical approach. You’ll also need to have excellent attention to detail as other volunteers will depend on the work that you do.

But it won’t all be on your own. You’ll be working, via email, with teams of volunteers across England and Wales so you’ll also need to be happy to work with people, even if not face-to-face. We’ll give you guidance and support to get you going and throughout your volunteering. We can supply a simple digital camera, but it’s better if you have your own. You’ll certainly need to be able to use your own computer to edit the photos and be happy doing that.

This is a great role to get involved in if you want to protect the rights of way and paths across England and Wales. It’s an exciting project, that’s going to build over the next few years, but it’s starting with the maps.

Next steps

At this point in the project we’re looking for two volunteers for this role – although lots of other volunteer roles will be coming up later. If this Path Researcher role is one you’d like to do, please read the full role profile, complete the application form and return it to DLYW@ramblers.org.uk by 14 July 2019.