Backlog of East Lancs walkways must be put on the map or may be ‘lost forever’

Backlog of East Lancs walkways must be put on the map or may be ‘lost forever’

Backlog of East Lancs walkways must be put on the map or may be ‘lost forever’

First published in News

A REPORT produced by walking charity Ramblers has revealed a ‘serious backlog’ of paths waiting to be recognised as public footpaths.

It highlights concerns that if any historic paths are not officially listed by 2026, they may be extinguished.

Ramblers chief executive Benedict Southworth said the news meant many well-trodden paths, and other potentially useful routes in East Lancashire would be ‘lost forever’.

The group has launched a campaign and has been working with landowners, managers and local authorities to find ways to make the process for recording paths more efficient.

The recommendations have been put forward to the government and were included in the draft Deregulation Bill. Mr Southworth said: “The proposed legislation has been carefully put together by representatives from landowners, paths users, and local government, including ourselves and the NFU.

“This carefully-crafted solution should make it easier for historic paths to be added to the definitive map. Many of these paths have existed for hundreds of years.

“They are as much a part of our heritage as our ancient monuments and historic buildings.

“By adding them to the official map they cannot be blocked off or built upon and are protected for future generations to enjoy.”

David Goode, public rights of way manager for Lancashire County Council, said the council would be taking part in a project led by the Lancashire Local Access Forum to seek out potential rights of way which could be lost if not identified.

He said: "In East Lancashire the network of recorded footpaths is particularly dense, meaning there are likely to be fewer missing' footpaths than in other areas although a significant number of bridleways may be currently recorded as footpaths.

“At the same time, the regulations will allow for existing applications for Public Rights of Way to be completed, which means any backlog of unresolved cases will not be affected.

“Some anomalies will able to be corrected after the law changes, and well-trodden routes which are effectively extinguished by the Bill will continue to be able to be claimed.”

Comments (1)

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7:35am Fri 28 Feb 14

Copperhead says...

I hope the same applies to BOATs ( Byway Open To All Traffic ), UCRs ( Unclassified County Road ) and RUPPs
( Road Used as Public Path ) as it does to footpaths and bridleways.
People who like to use ancient thoroughfares on motorised vehicles get treated as pariahs by all the countryside clan, be they farmers, landowners, Ramblers or " environmentalists ", but we are just as entitled to use these Rights Of Way as anyone else. You may not like me riding my motorcycle in the countryside, but providing I am on a legal carriageway ( a BOAT or a RUP or a UCR ) , I have a legal right to do so.
Also, don't forget that contentious area known as " higher rights ".
Many rights-of-way are incorrectly "labelled", both on signposts and on various maps such as the Landranger series. This anomaly is due to various problems after WW2 when countryside dwellers sought to keep " townies " out of what they saw as " their " countryside. Maps were compiled by village and rural councils who, after bad experiences with tourists in the 1930s when car ownership started to increase and after other bad experiences with evacuees during WW2, decided to try and discourage visitors by artificially reducing the number of routes they could access.
As an example, if a signpost states that a certain right-of-way is a " footpath", then that does not neccassarily mean that it is ONLY a footpath.
Examination of the " definitive map " at County Hall, of other, older maps, may show that this " footpath " is in fact a bridleway or a BOAT.
So before haranguing that horse-rider, cyclist or motor-cyclist for riding on a " footpath", please make sure that it really is JUST a footpath.
I hope the same applies to BOATs ( Byway Open To All Traffic ), UCRs ( Unclassified County Road ) and RUPPs ( Road Used as Public Path ) as it does to footpaths and bridleways. People who like to use ancient thoroughfares on motorised vehicles get treated as pariahs by all the countryside clan, be they farmers, landowners, Ramblers or " environmentalists ", but we are just as entitled to use these Rights Of Way as anyone else. You may not like me riding my motorcycle in the countryside, but providing I am on a legal carriageway ( a BOAT or a RUP or a UCR ) , I have a legal right to do so. Also, don't forget that contentious area known as " higher rights ". Many rights-of-way are incorrectly "labelled", both on signposts and on various maps such as the Landranger series. This anomaly is due to various problems after WW2 when countryside dwellers sought to keep " townies " out of what they saw as " their " countryside. Maps were compiled by village and rural councils who, after bad experiences with tourists in the 1930s when car ownership started to increase and after other bad experiences with evacuees during WW2, decided to try and discourage visitors by artificially reducing the number of routes they could access. As an example, if a signpost states that a certain right-of-way is a " footpath", then that does not neccassarily mean that it is ONLY a footpath. Examination of the " definitive map " at County Hall, of other, older maps, may show that this " footpath " is in fact a bridleway or a BOAT. So before haranguing that horse-rider, cyclist or motor-cyclist for riding on a " footpath", please make sure that it really is JUST a footpath. Copperhead
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