The Threat to our Rights of Way

A ‘Right of Way’, often called a highway, exists if there is ‘ a public right to to pass and re-pass along a defined route’.ยน It is a legal term for land that is accessible for the public even if it crosses private land.

The 2000 Countryside and Rights of Way Act, states that Surveying Authorities (an authority in charge of a Definitive Map and Statement of Public Rights of Way) will no longer be able to accept applications to register historical routes after the 31st December 2025. There are many footpaths, bridleways and byways that remain unregistered: some estimates suggest 1000s of kilometers of footpath are at risk. The race is on to record the nation’s unregistered routes before the 1st of January 2026. After this date, unregistered Public Rights of Way will be lost forever.


This website was created by a team of geographers at Coventry University. We are using contemporary and historic geospatial data to help campaigners identify and protect at-risk routes.

We’re also creating teaching resource that help the general public identify, map and research and register at-risk rights of Way in their local areas.