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Historic Routes and Past Pathways

Historic Routes and Past Pathways

Lead Partner

New Forest National Park Authority

What is it about?

The New Forest National Park Authority will work with local communities and volunteers to investigate the 75km of bridleways and byways in the National Park and identify rights of way of significant historical importance. The project will promote a greater understanding of the heritage and importance of these routes to local communities and users, along with their continued benefit as sustainable travel links and green corridors of the future.

The routes will connect with local open spaces and enhance the value of the existing open spaces, opening up links with nearby wider countryside. The project will enable communities to become engaged with the heritage of their local rights of way and the historical importance of these routes, ensuring they feel a connection to the past. Dependant on the routes selected, there may be some improvements or enhancements to improve standards for accessibility, restore lost historical landscape features or increase heritage value.

The project will:

  • Train volunteers with the necessary skills needed to assist with the project, such as how to use maps to discover and identify historic routes such as footpaths and bridleways
  • Identify and record historical landscape features associated with the rights of way network, with at least 25 records collected
  • Restore five historical routes to a condition that reflects their historic importance as an integral part of the travel network. This will provide a better network for people to move around the countryside on foot, horseback and bicycle
  • Connect with local open spaces, enhance the value of existing open spaces and open up links with nearby wider countryside
  • Provide 200 volunteer days
  • Promote the pathways through appropriate means, including oral histories, leaflets, interpretation boards, community events, guided walks and ranger led walks.
Volunteering and training

Volunteers will be involved in historical research, historic evidence collection (maps, historic records and oral histories), fieldwork to identify historic landscape features, practical rights of way work (vegetation clearance, gate installation) and the promotion and interpretation of historic routes (guided walks and education sessions).

Visit the training and volunteering pages for information on specific roles within the Our Past, Our Future landscape partnership scheme.


Working with parish councils and local community groups will prompt a sense of ownership and pride in the selected routes and therefore play a substantial role in promoting and preserving the routes in the future.

Contact details

Gareth Owen – OPOF Interpretation and Outreach Officer, New Forest National Park Authority

Tel: 01590 646652 email:

Land Advice Service Manager


'We help commoners to continue their ancient way by providing grants, training and advice.'

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