Brisdleway Sign, Peak District MTB, Peak District Mountain Bikers

Recording lost rights of way – Project 2026


The clock is ticking; from the 1st January 2018 there is just eight years to record lost rights of way. In 2000, the Countryside and Rights of Way Act was introduced, Section 53 of the Act provided for a “cut off date” of 1st January 2026. After this date many historic routes (pre 1949) will be extinguished if they are not formally recorded. Therefore as a group it is in our interest to record as many routes before this cut off date to ensure that they can be considered for inclusion on the Local Authority’s Definitive Map.

What is a lost right of way?

It could mean a couple of things. Firstly, it could be an unrecorded route that has no recorded public rights i.e. it is not showing on the Local Authority’s Definitive Map. Secondly it could be on the Definitive Map and have some recorded rights (e.g. a footpath) but additional rights (e.g. a bridleway) may exist.

Within the Derbyshire County Council area there are 5,219km of public rights of way; this can be broken down as follows:

  • 4,502km of footpaths (86.3%)
  • 598km of bridleways (11.4%)
  • 66km of restricted byways (1.3%)
  • 53km of byways open to all traffic (1.0%)

As you can see there is an imbalance with the bulk of all rights of way being public footpaths, historically many of these will have been bridleways or other trackways that people have accessed in the past but have fallen into disuse and not been correctly recorded on the Definitive Map. A recent example of this is Derby Lane near Monyash which due to administrative error in the 1960’s didn’t make it onto the Definitive Map – this situation has now been rectified. Although the Peak District National Park Authority (PDNPA) have put a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) on it meaning no vehicles can access it – aimed at the 4×4 and motorcyclists.

What can we do?

The purpose of Project 2026 is to identify and gather documentary evidence of possible rights of way. Routes may be shown on modern maps but not as a right of way, or may not recorded at all or shown at a lower status, for example as a footpath rather than bridleway.

The ramblers and local horse riding groups are already mobilised and have started recording lost routes. Nationally the British Horse Society (BHS) have produced a mapping tool that will allow stakeholders to upload routes that they consider to be a lost right of way i.e. a public footpath, bridleway etc. Locally the Peaks and Northern Footpaths Society (PNFS) are administering this web portal on behalf of the BHS.
Go to the County map (e.g. Derbyshire) and access it by using the password: 2026

There is more information on the Project Start Up Page for Derbyshire. Click on this link for more about Project 2026 Derbyshire.

You are invited to ‘Add paths or higher status routes’ which you think may be possible rights of way currently not on the definitive map.

Recording lost rights of way – Project 2026
Screen grab from the website

  • Please only add paths /routes that potentially may have good documentary evidence to support the existence of a right of way or of higher rights.
  • Although evidence of usage may be useful, this project is not aimed at submitting DMMO Applications that use user as the primary evidence source.

To register routes on “DOBBIN” portal you will need a PIN from the BHS – it’s just the case of registering your email address and indicating what activities you undertake: walking, riding, cycling; and where you do them – Derbyshire. The BHS will then send you a PIN.

This will hopefully allow us to add routes that seem to have disappeared for example a bridleway that ends in the middle of nowhere only to continue as a public footpath e.g. the bridleway from Foulstone Delf to Back Tor where it turns into a public footpath or track that seems to have dropped off the Definitive Map e.g. the track from the Manchester bends on the A625 above Peak Forest towards Oxlow Rake.

It’s essential that we act now to record these routes for consideration of appearing on the Definitive Map or being upgraded from a footpath to a bridleway.

However, we do need to provide evidence of the routes / tracks former use and we can do this by using historical evidence such as old maps; the National Library of Scotland is an excellent free resource allowing you to search OS maps back the 19th century – or use historical data from Enclosure Maps

Use information and evidence retained at the Derbyshire Records Office – other County Archives will be available for other areas that cover the Peak District National Park e.g. Staffordshire etc.

Finally, there are publications such as Peakland Roads and Trackways by AE Dodd and E M Dodd and Packmen, Carriers and Packhorse Roads by David Hey which have been cited as evidence (and make an interesting read!).

There is a lot to do in Cornwall in excess of 1800 routes have been recorded on the Portal in Derbyshire just 12!
If you do record any routes please let me know – email:

A Local Context

Peak District MTB have seen a significant change in the attitude of Derbyshire County Council towards the cycling and in particular the Mountain Biking community, we now receive consultation documents and have had meetings with elected members regarding Rushup Edge. We are working with the PDNPA on maintenance of tracks without their direct supervision and we are talking with other stakeholders such as Staffordshire County Council, Staffordshire Wildlife Trust and the National Trust about greater access rights. Our voice is being heard.

15 January 2018