Lost ways and forgotten footpaths will be lost for ever if they are not claimed by the year 2026. This results from one of the most contentious provisions of the Countryside and Rights of Way (‘CROW’) Act 2000 which will extinguish all historic rights of way (ie paths that came into existence before 1949) that have not been legally recorded by 1 January 2026
It has been estimated that there could be as many as 20,000 public rights of way which are not formally recorded, and many of these were established centuries back, long before 1949 (the date which saw the passing of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act, which provided for the recording of public ways on the Definitive Map). If these rights of way are not recorded by 2026 the law says they'll be extinguished forever, meaning nobody will have a right to use them.
How many of these lost ways are in Cheshire?
What we are doing about it?
We are working to find these lost paths. We have already had success in the parish of Hassall, but need your help to select other parishes for study.
A group of volunteers from a number of user groups are continuing their painstaking work to identify our paths that have been lost from our maps by comparing, square by square, the 1910 Ordnance Survey Map and the current definitive map for Cheshire East and Cheshire West.
What you can do
We need to know where to look for forgotten footpaths, which parishes to investigate:
Do you use paths, which have been used for ages, perhaps as ‘permitted paths’ but which are not on the Definitive Map - e.g. The path now known as Hassall FP16?
Do you use ‘White Roads’ which have never been classified as public?
Do you know of footpaths or bridleways which terminate on a parish or county boundary – e.g. Haslington FP33?
Are there large blanks on the map,
Do you know of parishes which did not have a parish council or meeting in the 1950’s?
If you would like to get involved with this activity the Rambler's Lost Ways sub-committee would be interested to hear from you, at http://www.ramblers.org.uk/dontloseyourway.
For any further information, or to volunteer your time with the Congleton Rambler's Lost Ways or Footpaths Sub-Committee please contact us Join the Club/Contact Us