The British Horse Society (BHS) is urging people for even more help to ensure their local routes are not lost to the public forever, despite the charity reaching a landmark 1,500 applications to save bridleways and byways.
Time is running out to save many important and historic routes across England and Wales. Tragically, many public routes not formally recorded on the Definitive Map by 1st January 2026 will vanish forever, due to changes in the law introduced by The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000.
In the wide-scale project, the BHS secured generous funding from Sport England, which the BHS matched, to train and support volunteers and help cover their expenses in making applications. The equine charity are aiming to save even more routes and hit a target of 2,700 Definitive Map Modification Order (DMMO) applications before the end of 2022.
The BHS’s 1500th application seeks to protect a local bridleway along the “Bread and Cheese Drove” in Haddenham, near Ely in Cambridgeshire. It was researched and submitted by a volunteer who found evidence of the route dating back to 1813. Without the crucial work of volunteers like this, this historic right of way could have been wiped off the map – along with many more across England and Wales. But there’s still plenty more routes at risk.
Will Steel, BHS Project 2026 Manager said: “We are thrilled to be past the halfway point for our 2026 target, but we know there’s still a lot of work to be done to reach our goal and ensure thousands of public rights of way are not lost. Protecting safe off-road routes is vital to ensure equestrians, cyclists and walkers can continue using these routes in the future. We are working with the Ramblers and Cycling UK to try and achieve this. With evidence from our horse incidents reporting app, Horse i, showing just how dangerous our roads are for horse riders, the need for safe off-road riding routes has never been more important.”
A BHS Access volunteer recommends people to get involved and help save their local routes: “All the BHS staff and volunteers are so welcoming and supportive. I’ve enjoyed looking at old maps and learning the history of my local area to find and secure off-road routes for us all to enjoy long into the future. The applications aren’t difficult, there’s plenty of friendly people who can help, and you can do it from home whenever you like.”
For lots of information on how to get started, gather evidence and submit an application, visit the 2026 Toolkit on the BHS website: