COUNTDOWN TO 2026
You could lose your local routes!
Help us protect your access before it is too late!
These statements may seem alarmist but recent posts have shown there is a lot of interest in rights of way in our area. Do you realise that many ‘rights of way’ in England are potentially in danger of being extinguished in 2026?
Currently we can cycle, walk, or ride a horse along ‘unrecorded’ tracks and bridleways without committing an offence under the principle in English Common Law “once a highway, always a highway”. However, this is set to change and here’s why:
In 2000, the Countryside and Rights of Way Act was introduced in England and Wales. Section 53 of the Act provides for a cut-off date in 2026, which means that many historic routes we use will be extinguished if they are not formally recorded as a footpath, bridleway or restricted byway on the Kirklees Definitive Map.
Just because you currently walk, cycle or ride on a route does NOT mean it is recorded and protected from extinguishment. That is a frightening thought as there are many such routes in Kirklees and your favourite route may be one of these. 2026 is closer than you think – we are already more than half way there!
The process to ‘record’ a route on the Definitive Map is very lengthy, time consuming and at times frustrating and requires determination to see it through! An additional hurdle which has arisen recently is a new breed of ‘agent’ who contacts landowners who may be affected by changes to the status of the route and, for a fee, advises them on how to create difficulties for the application to record the route by means of erecting signs, fencing, gates etc. along the route. This is already happening in our area, even on routes which have been accessible to the public for decades.
Kirklees Bridleways Group is committed to saving our historic routes for all users but we need your help to do this. If you would like to learn more please check out our website http://kirkleesbridlewaysgroup.co.uk/ or find us on Facebook.