Unrecorded Bridleways to be extinguished in 2026

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2026: Why is it important?

On 1 January 2026, bridleways in England and Wales that aren’t formally recorded will be lost to the public. Our aim is to safeguard bridleways for public use so that equestrians today and in the future have safe off-road routes to ride on.

These unrecorded routes actually exist in law, but have never been registered on the definitive map, the legal record of public rights of way.

Just because you currently ride on a route doesn’t mean it’s recorded and protected from being removed! In England, horse riders only have access to 22% of public rights of way; the more of the off-road network we lose, the more horses will have to be ridden on today’s ever dangerous roads.

We need your help!

The BHS is committed to saving as many bridleways as possible before 2026; but we need as many people as possible to help us out. You can get involved by:

Check your favourite route is recorded

You can do this by seeing if it is recorded as a bridleway on an OS map or by checking with your local authority.

Read more about how to check if a route is recorded.

Contact our Access & Bridleways officers

If you are concerned about a route you ride you can contact your local BHS Access & Bridleways officer. Alternatively, email us at access@bhs.org.uk and we can put you in touch.

Attend a training day

Learn how to identify historical routes and the key resources used to study them from experts in the field. Find out what your evidence can unlock and how to create a systematic research method to investigate your routes.

See our upcoming training dates.

Become a volunteer

Join our network of over 260 volunteers all working to protect our bridleways.

Find out more about becoming a volunteer.

Submit an application

We’ve created a 2026 Toolkit detailing how you can ensure your routes are recorded so they won’t be lost after the 2026 deadline. 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.

 

 

Find out more information

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