More systematic research training from Phil Wadey and Sarah Bucks. Training this year includes updates to go with the second edition book and a memory stick with useful materials. Please book using the link below, or email firstname.lastname@example.org, using subject line "RWRTR 13 May training"
More systematic research training from Phil Wadey and Sarah Bucks. Training this year includes updates to go with the second edition book and a memory stick with useful materials. Please book using the link below, or email email@example.com, using subject line "RWRTR 12 May training"
Another excellent IPROW post, which is good for newcomers' education...
"Tom James asked a couple of pertinent questions in response to yesterday's post and they deserve a fuller answer than could be given in the com...ments.
Generalising the issues from the specific Treacle Mine Lane example they are firstly: whether the public rights of way pedantry actually matters or whether the public would be better served by application of common sense and secondly: whether the processes or procedures serve the purpose or just benefit some or other vested interests.
The reason why these questions are relevant is obvious but why they need answering deserves a little explanation. On the face of it, to most reasonable people, the answers are obvious: the pedantry is unnecessary petty bureaucracy and the processes only serve the users (as far as the landowners are concerned) and only the landowners (as far as the users concerned). However, although obvious, these answers are a little lazy and unquantified so we need to look more deeply into it.
Many people in Public Rights of Way feel the same about the processes and pedantry, or at least they used to, because they are committed to making a positive difference and so many things get in the way. However, the further you get into the detail you discover:
 Pedantry is necessary because what it means is the adherence to rules that provide protection against arbitrary practice. It promotes balance between the different interests. Many of the disputes about public rights of way are not between users and landowners but between neighbours who want the council to do, or not do, opposite things. The exact extent of public rights matters because it can affect a householder's quality of life (and hence their health), property values, how usable someone's property is for the current or a future purpose, development potential, ransom strips.
It also promotes fair spending allocation - if a rights of way team was coerced into spending a significant part of its budget improving the vehicular access to the house of a Councillor that would be an abuse, something similar to what allegedly often happened in the 1940s and 50s when rural roads were selectively being tarred for the first time (it was well before my time so consider it anecdotal).
 The system is not actually unfair as it first seems, both the Definitive Map side of things and the enforcement & maintenance side are balanced so that no wayward member of staff can arbitrarily create a right of way where there isn't one or remove one where there is. That's not to say that things don't sometimes go wrong or that it can't be improved but this has been considered quite a few times and the conclusion has always been that the system just needs a bit of fettling not a root and branch overhaul. We had some significant changes developed by the Stakeholder Working Group and enacted by the Deregulation Act 2015 (but not yet in effect pending the Regulations) but even these are just streamlining the existing system. Many consider the 2026 Cut-off to be a game-changer but I would argue that it is less significant than several other changes in the last 20 years - it is not fundamental.
It seems unfair to users, particularly motorised users who have seen blanket removal of a significant proportion of their rights, or to those who struggle to use under-maintained and obstructed paths but we need to judge that fairness in the context of our society and parliamentary democracy. If we want one thing and the majority (as measured by the way our society works) don't then to call that unfair sounds like the perspective of a 5 year old.
It seems unfair to householders and landowners because they own property subject to highway rights which are strong but their perception is that it is their land and a public path shouldn't interfere significantly with the rights of ownership. In other words they can appreciate the strength of ownership rights but not the strength of highway rights. Householders buy a house with a right of way through the garden, or perhaps extend the garden over the right of way, and then claim that it is an infringement of their human rights. Similarly people buy property accessed from roads which are not publicly maintainable, or not vehicular and claim it is an infringement of their human rights that they cannot easily drive to their property (this is a common cry). The answer would be a draconian prevention of property being sold/bought/owned if it had a public right of way on it or if it was without publicly maintainable vehicular access. The alternative equally draconian measure would be to extinguish all public rights of way that run over private land, i.e. almost all of them. Such measures would curtail human rights significantly and greatly restrict what people were allowed to do. "
At midnight tonight (1 Jan 18) there are just 8 years left to apply for your old paths to be recorded. Unrecorded paths, subject to some minor exceptions, will be extinguished on 1 Jan 26 at the stroke of midnight. New Year's Day 2026 will be the last day such unrecorded paths can be used by right.
Help stop the extinguishment! Find out if the routes you walk ride or cycle are shown on your council's definitive map. If in doubt ask the council! For any unrecorded routes, mak...e an application to have the route added to the map.
People seem generally unaware of this mass extinguishment of paths - so please SHARE this post to your friends!
This affects England and Wales only.
A good note from IPROW on the recording rights of way process.
Friday was last day at work for many, including our diarist, until after Christmas.
"One issue often raised is that people opposed to a definiti...ve map modification order concentrate on, or are more irked by, the process leading to an order rather than the strength and balance of the evidence.
One such arrived yesterday; in this case the objector was claiming that it was unlawful to submit the Order to the Secretary of State because the decision to make it was based on the wrong subsection of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. We don't think it was, and it is the same subsection that the Order is said to be made under, but the point is the decision to make an order could be wrong or made without the correct delegation or have other procedural irregularities but once it is made objectors need to focus on the Order itself and the evidence for a right of way existing or not. Also once an order is made the only alternatives are for it to be confirmed by the authority or submitted to the Secretary of State. Therefore the objector should, and undoubtedly will, include in their submission to the Planning Inspectorate the argument that the Order was made under the wrong subsection rather than try to persuade the council not to submit it.
In this case the complaint concerned S53(2)(a) and (b) - the former being that as soon as possible after commencement date make orders to modify the definitive map and statement in consequence of things that happened before that date and the latter being after that date to keep it under continuous review and make such orders. The complainant argued that the Order can't be made under S53(2)(b) because the evidence concerns historical events prior to the 1981 Act, however she has missed the point that the 'event' which triggers the Order is the discovery of evidence, not the subject of the evidence.
Others will argue about the applicant or their motives; it may by a parish council, a well-known rights of way 'activist', often be vindictive as part of a neighbour dispute or submitted by someone who live hundreds of miles away. Often there may not be an applicant because the surveying authority (i.e. the council) has a duty to make an order where it has discovered sufficient evidence of an error or omission. Who made an application, if there was one, or why is generally irrelevant once an order is made and it is then just a matter for what the evidence shows about the existence or otherwise of the public right of way.
However, the most common misunderstanding, sadly amongst professionals as well as supporters and objectors, is to confuse the reasons for creating or extinguishing a right of way (good views, green exercise being beneficial, privacy and security of premises, agricultural efficiency, etc.) with the reasons for adding or deleting a way on the Definitive Map (are there or are there not public rights already in existence.)"
With a little over 8 years before thousands of unrecorded public rights of way are extinguished, why not buy a copy of the book for a last minute Christmas present? The National Archives Bookshop has some special offers at the moment! http://bookshop.nationalarchives.gov.uk/…/Rights-of-Way-2n…/
The photograph shows a route that Phil applied for, and which was successfully recorded this August.
40 people came to the training at Henley on Thames today for Rights of Way Restoring the Record training. If each person researches and applies for 6 paths, that would be 240 paths saved from the cut off date! Many thanks to the Open Spaces Society for sponsoring the day, and to Henley Town Council for use of the Town Hall. Phil and Sarah were delighted that the Mayor and some Councillors came to the day.
Useful method of overcoming a long forgotten stopping up order, where use of the route carried on.
The seventh BHS Access success in Hertfordshire in 2017 was the recording of Woodrake Lane in Colney Heath.
This route runs from Barley Mow Lane to the A414 Nor...th Obital Road (which has a wide verge). We applied for it on the basis of its having been an old road, but during investigation, the County found a stopping up order reserving footpath rights. We therefore had to act quickly: the route was in use by riders and recording it as a footpath would have enabled it to be closed. Fortunately former BHS County Chairman Lynn Myland lived very close and collected user evidence forms showing the route had been ridden by the public for more than 20 years. This enabled the County to record the 'footpath' section as bridleway, and the rest of the land as a byway.
Please share this post to other riders who might like to try the path.
The application was made on 25 Jan 2010, the order was made by the county council on 19 May 2017 and confirmed unopposed on 1 Sep 2017. The confirmed order (including a plan) can be seen at: https://www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/…/colney-heath-barley-mow-…
Our file reference: EC367.
More systematic research training from Phil Wadey and Sarah Bucks. Training this year includes updates to go with the second edition book and a memory stick with useful materials. Please book using the link below, or email firstname.lastname@example.org, using subject line RWRTR-2-12 training
Here is a good article from the Ordnance Survey about spotting history in maps. The OS maps are also good for sparking interest in historical routes that need to be investigated for recording. Spot the old road that we can see the boundaries of but which has no rights recorded. Spot the longer route that has a small section unrecorded or under-recorded. And of course look for named routes on the second edition 25 inch county series, as these can be used with the Object Name Books, or the first edition for use with the OS Area Books. See Chapter 3 of ROWRTR for more information about these sources.
There are still spaces available at the Isle of Wight (Saturday 14 Oct) and Dorset (Sunday 15 Oct) training days. Go to our events page for more details, or visit www.restoringtherecord.org.uk and select 'training'.
More systematic research training from Phil Wadey and Sarah Bucks. Training this year includes updates to go with the second edition book and a memory stick with useful materials. Please book by contacting Ellen Froggatt at email@example.com, using subject line RWRTR-18-11 training
More systematic research training from Phil Wadey and Sarah Bucks. Training this year includes updates to go with the second edition book and a memory stick with useful materials. Please book by contacting Janet Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org, using subject line RWRTR-15-10 training
We're pleased to see that the second edition book is on the front page of the National Archives' bookshop's website. Anyone still looking for a copy can check out the site here: http://bookshop.nationalarchives.gov.uk/
More systematic research training from Phil Wadey and Sarah Bucks. Training this year includes updates to go with the second edition book and a memory stick with useful materials. Please book by contacting Janet Davis at email@example.com, using subject line RWRTR-14-10 training
Over 100 books were posted out on Friday, and a similar number will be going this morning. We had a few orders who paid by bank transfer but didn't email with an address. If you ordered a copy and haven't received it in a week, please check you gave us your address!