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Registration of historic rights of way and of the benefits of extending the cut-off date for their registration – House of Lords Short Debate

On Tuesday 2nd April the House of Lords held a short debate to discuss the benefits of extending the 2026 cut-off date for registration of historic rights of way. Our President, Baroness Maggie Jones, spoke in this debate in support of an extension with a mention of the society, “… as the President of the Friends of the South Downs – which does fantastic work campaigning to protect and preserve the landscape of the South Downs National Park and providing a huge range of guided walks on the footpaths and bridleways.”

“The rights of way network is one of our nation’s greatest assets: it connects people to nature and our rural environment and describes how our ancestors interacted with, and enjoyed, the landscape over centuries.

From 1 January 2026, it will no longer be possible to add rights of way to the legal record (the definitive map) in England and Wales on the basis of historical evidence. Unrecorded routes, many
of which go back centuries, need to be identified and claimed so they can be secured for generations to come. These unrecorded routes exist in law; many exist on the ground and are in current use, whilst others would provide useful additional routes and linkages to the existing network. All are in danger of having their rights permanently extinguished in 2026.

We are concerned that this rich heritage is at risk unless the cut-off date for claiming historical rights of way is extended from 2026 to 2031, as provided by section 56 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (the CRoW Act).” – extracted from a Parliamentary Briefing provided by the Rambers Association, The British Horse Society and the Open Spaces Society.

Video of the debate.

To watch Baroness Jones speech adjust the slider on the video to approximately 18:09:55.

You can read the full transcript HERE.

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