The Race to Rediscover England’s Lost Paths

Maps are a wonderful way of decorating your home, they provide intricate details about an area and carry a considerable amount of meaning and sentimental value. Whether you want to remember a special location or celebrate your local area, using vintage maps in your home has never been easier. Not only are vintage maps fascinating to look at, they reveal how an area used to look, and they come in a great selection of hues and can be applied to a vast array of interiors. 


There are many different ways to incorporate a special map into your home or work area, from a simple cushion to a tremendous splashback covering half a wall, there are a great selection of map inspired interiors available for every corner of your home. Whether big or small, vintage map pieces are a beautiful and interesting conversation piece. 


Reclaiming these paths and ensuring they remain as public rights of way is vitally important to preserving England’s centuries-old history of rambling. Our tradition of walking through our beautiful countryside has been passed from generations above us and is a proven way to reduce stress, improve your mood and help you sleep at the end of every day. The estimated 140,000 miles of ancient pathways across England and Wales date back as far as medieval times, they link villages, roads, hamlets and towns. They are the result of generations before us travelling by foot or horse to church, fields, shops and larger settlements.

During the medieval period these paths were used to herd animals and carry the dead from small communities to bigger towns which have churches with burial grounds. Once known as corpse roads or coffin routes, families would walk for miles from their settlements and small churches to considerably bigger ‘mother churches’ where a dead relative could be buried. Once a path has been trodden by a family with a dead relative, it automatically became a public footpath and many of those paths still exists today. Similarly, a young couple who wanted to be married would make the same sort of journey to a ‘mother church’ as their local community churches weren’t authorised to conduct weddings or funerals. 

Although preserving these paths is vital to conserving the history of rambling in Britain, it is quite a feat to establish, document and ensure each path is maintained as a pubic footpath. In 2004 the government introduced a similar scheme to discover every time-worn right of way across the England, the project was given a £15 million budget but abandoned a mere four years later as the enormity of the task became apparent. 


However, the project has been begun again and each path needs to be documented by January 1st, 2026. The rambler’s society wants to preserve these paths to maintain the centuries of traditional and history they hold. Pouring over old maps, finding paths and submitting them to local councils is the best way of ensuring they are saved from private land owners and potential development. Once a path has been recorded as a national and public footpath it has to remain as one, even if it lies within private fields. Maintaining these paths and the surrounding areas means we save ancient paths and farmland which, in turn, preserves the home of animals and millions of wildlife from the threat of property development. 

If you are interested in supporting the fight to reclaim our pathways, visit and download their ‘Don’t lose Your Way’ guide to saving our historic paths.