Unrecorded Bridleways to be extinguished in 2026: Countryside & Rights of Way Act 2000

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2026: Why is it important?

In 2000, the Countryside and Rights of Way Act (CROW Act 2000) was introduced in England and Wales. Section 53 of the Act provides for a cut-off date of 1st January 2026, which means that many historical routes for horse riders and carriage drivers will be extinguished if they are not formally recorded as a bridleway or restricted byway beforehand.

These unrecorded routes actually exist in law but have never been recorded on the Definitive Map, the legal record or public rights of way, therefore are in danger of having their rights extinguished. Our aim is to safeguard them for public use so that equestrians today and in the future have safe off-road routes to ride and carriage drive on.

Just because you currently ride on a route doesn’t mean it’s recorded and protected from extinguishment.

We need your help!

The BHS is committed to protecting and preserving the equestrian off-road network. However, there’s only so much we and our volunteers can do. Working together we can ensure that routes used by horses in the past are accurately recorded and reinstated as safe off-road routes to ride and carriage drive.

We’ve created a 2026 Toolkit detailing how you can ensure your routes are recorded so they won’t be lost after 2026. With generous support from Sport England through the British Equestrian Federation, we are now also able to offer a grant to volunteers to help cover the costs of making Definitive Map Modification Order applications to their local authority.

We are hoping that individuals and small groups of volunteers across the country are going to take up the challenge to research and submit high quality applications. To enable you to coordinate work, avoid duplication, share evidence and to support each other, we have developed a mapping and research site at bhsaccess.org.uk/Project2026/. Using this, anyone can plot paths of interest and gather and share evidence online on a county by county basis.



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