Your right to explore needs protecting.
The deadline has been set. We have until 2026 to save all of Britain’s pre-loved, still-loved and forgotten paths. If action isn’t taken to record the walking routes taken by us, our parents and our ancestors, both in the countryside and in urban areas, the right to tread these paths will be lost.
Imagine a time before the car, when walking through a woodland, a field or a rocky coastal path were not just Sunday afternoon activities but were every day ways of getting to work, school or to go out and socialise.
The existence of those footpaths, used in years gone by, and in some cases those which are still in use, are at risk. A clause in the right-to-roam government legislation introduced in 2000 says any path that existed before 1949, but does not appear on current official maps may be absorbed by the surrounding landowner and the public right of way will no longer be a given.
We do, a lot. Just think about it.
Every inch of the land we love and inhibit holds an important memory. It’s part of our history. The paths we’re at risk of losing are from a time before entertainment was served to us. They predate the idea that we must be chauffeured through stony concrete jungles, to and from areas where activity and existence is deemed most appropriate.
They’re from a time when people used their imagination, they followed their gut instead of a trend they saw on a screen. Be it for fun or for necessity, the people of the past lived and explored in a way we perhaps don’t now, and we think it would be a tragedy to let something as simple as the right to roam freely around our land slip away.
Modern society talks a lot about what we as humans are entitled to. Now you can help hold on to the oldest entitlement of all, by using a tool developed by registered charity Ramblers. Their campaign is called “Don’t Lose your Way”. Check it out, it might just be an adventure of its own.
Header image Jonny Keeley, article images Jack Abbott