Prioritising potential lost rights of way

Last year, thousands of people came together to identify potential lost rights of way across England and Wales. Having found over 49,000 miles of these paths, we now need to prioritise them so that we can focus on those which would bring the most benefit to the rights of way network.

You can now go on our map of potential lost rights of way and suggest a priority for paths in your area.

Please read our guidance notes and criteria on the prioritisation process for more details before you get going (and see our FAQs below if you have any questions).

The Don’t Lose Your Way online map, including the tools used for prioritisation, will be updated and improve over time. Please use the form at this link to feedback about your experiences with the online map.

Prioritisation - Frequently Asked Questions

You may also be interested in our general Don’t Lose Your Way FAQs.

How can I add a path to the map?

It is not currently possible to add missing lost ways to the online map. In the coming months, a new version of the online map will include a means of adding and amending paths. It should be noted that all versions of the online map will only show paths for which there appears to be historical evidence.

Why prioritise lost paths?

Thousands of potential lost rights of way have been identified through the Don’t Lose Your Way project, and within these are a range of candidates – some might connect dead ends and benefit walkers and local communities, others may have been made redundant due to more recent development. There are a range of factors which impact the potential value of these lost ways, and because the process of claiming each one involves time and effort from volunteers, it is important to identify and highlight those which may offer the most value to the network.

What does ‘suggested priorities’ mean?

When submitting a priority for a lost way on the map, you are submitting a suggestion of what priority it should hold (alongside a brief explanation of why you have selected this, based on the prioritisation criteria). Don’t Lose Your Way coordinators will be able to see which priorities have been suggested for which paths and approve these as appropriate.

Does it matter what Parish or Highway Authority a path falls within?

At this stage, these boundaries are shown for context as some volunteers will prefer to focus on lost ways in their area. These boundaries will become more important as volunteers begin collecting evidence to support applications for these paths to be added to the definitive maps and submitting these applications to the appropriate Highway Authorities.

I want to suggest a priority for a path, but only for a particular part – can I reduce the amount which is selected/highlighted?

At the moment, it is not possible to do so. In these cases, it will be a matter of judgement and you can use the text field to explain why you have reached the conclusion you have. Later in the project, when users are working on potential claims, they will have to specify the specific part of the path which is supported by historical evidence, so slight errors in prioritisation will not jeopardise these claims.