Path Accessibility Fund

Our path network is our gateway to the outdoors. And for millions of us, walking on paths is the primary way we gain access to nature. But while our paths are open to us all, unnecessary barriers can block far too many of us, especially those with reduced mobility, from enjoying their benefits. 

According to Natural England, over 20% of England’s population cannot currently use our network of public rights of way. And from stiles and steps to overgrown paths, our public paths can be full of barriers to access.    

So in 2021 thanks to the support of an anonymous donor, we established the Path Accessibility Fund. Dedicated to making sure our path network can be enjoyed by more of us, the Fund supports projects to make paths more accessible, particularly focusing on removing the barriers that prevent those with reduced mobility getting outdoors.  

 

Projects we’ve supported

People standing behind a new path gate in a field.

Path Accessibility Fund: Abergynolwyn, Gwynedd

In 2023, our Path Accessibility Fund helped open up access in Gwynedd by replacing rotten wooden stiles with self-closing gates.

People standing behind a new path gate in a field.

Path Accessibility Fund: Romsey, Hampshire

In Hampshire, local Ramblers volunteers helped create a new accessible route around Michelmersh with support from the Path Accessibility Fund.

Uttlesford Ramblers walking on a grass path, tree-lined on one side with two dogs along for company.

Path Accessibility Fund: Little Sampford, Essex 

By working in partnership with the parish council and a local volunteer group, Utttlesford Ramblers transformed a popular walking route in north Essex.

 

How you can get involved 

In 2023, the Fund supported projects all across England and Wales, from Aberystwyth to Essex and Oldham to Hampshire. And thanks to another generous donation from our anonymous funder, we’re delighted to be able to continue this work in 2024.  

The Fund is now open for expressions of interest for projects that seek to remove barriers to access and open up paths for more people, especially those with reduced mobility. This could include work to replace stiles for gaps or gates, laying boardwalks, installing accessible footbridges or improving path surfaces. 

And there’s no need to be a Ramblers member or volunteer to apply – we welcome applications from anyone. But to ensure the project is able to proceed, permission from the landowner and the local highway authority is essential.  

Applications are now closed for the 2023/2024 round. We hope to reopen the fund later in 2024.

A close up of a 'Private: No public right of way' sign in front of a field

The definitive guide to rights of way law

An invaluable expert guide to rights of way law published by the Ramblers and the Open Spaces Society.

A group of 11 volunteers posing for the photograph

Paths to Wellbeing

Community led project, working with 18 communities in Wales, training volunteers to improve access to nature and local spaces.

"null"

Rights of way and cattle

Serious incidents relating to cattle are rare. But when they do occur they can have profound consequences so farmers should minimise the risks to walkers.