The Ramblers launch campaign to save Surrey's historic walking paths
PUBLISHED: 13:21 15 January 2020 | UPDATED: 13:21 15 January 2020
The 'Don't Lose Your Way' campaign hopes to get 'citizen geographers' to help check every map grid square across the country for missing paths
Walking is a well-known stress reliever and can also be a cheap and easy way to keep up with those New Year fitness goals.
In Surrey, Mole Valley District Council's Walk for Health scheme runs a series of winter walks in the Surrey Hills, while The Ramblers, a charity that promotes walking, is encouraging people to get outdoors with a series of winter walks.
The charity is also launching a campaign to save historic paths and rights of way in Surrey and beyond.
According to The Ramblers, 10,000 miles of lost public paths across the country are at risk of disappearing forever. On January 1 2026, it will no longer be possible to add unrecorded rights of way to official maps based on historical evidence.
To prevent ancient walks from being lost the charity has launched the Don't Lose Your Way campaign and is challenging people to join its movement of 'citizen geographers' to help it check every single map grid square in England and Wales for missing paths.
The Ramblers programme manager, Jack Cornish, says, "This is our only opportunity to save thousands of miles of rights of way for future generations and time is running out. Some of these paths have been carved out by footsteps over centuries, some going back to Roman times or even earlier.
"There are old drove roads that were used to walk cattle for miles across the country to get to market and Holloways, literally hollowed out by footsteps over time. They're a part of our history, revealing to us how people used to live and travel."
In Surrey The Ramblers says it already knows about a couple of footpaths near Reigate that haven't made it on to modern maps and says there could well be more.
The charity has also come up with a quick and simple way for people to uncover missing paths from the comfort of their own homes.
Its Don't Lose Your Way online mapping tool compares historic maps side-by-side with current ones, making it easy to spot and mark where paths are missing. Once you're registered, you can check as many squares as you like.
Visit ramblers.org.uk/dontloseyourway to check for missing paths in Surrey.