UK Government abolishes deadline for registration of England’s historic paths

England's historic paths horse and rider on a woodland path
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UK Government abolishes deadline for registration of England’s historic paths

The UK Government is set to abolish the deadline for the registry of England’s historic paths The British Horse Society (BHS) has announced.

Today’s announcement (16th February) that the 2026 deadline to register historical paths in England is set to be abolished means that horse riders, carriage drivers and walkers don’t have to save thousands of unrecorded routes by 2026, enabling more time to research and save unrecorded routes.

The BHS has been lobbying the government about the 2026 deadline to ensure unrecorded routes are protected. These historic routes are vital to horse riders, carriage drivers and walkers as well as having many economic benefits to the local area.

The Society and its team of dedicated volunteers have been working tirelessly to save these routes, and the latest news of the repeal means that many more unrecorded routes will now be saved for the benefit of the nation.

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Changes to the law introduced by the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 meant that many historic routes used by horse riders and carriage drivers would have been lost on 1 January 2026 if they weren’t either formally recorded on the legal record of rights of way, the Definitive Map and Statement, or the subject of an application to record them.

Mark Weston, Director of Access at The British Horse Society said:

This is fantastic news for our equestrian community who already have very little off-road access available to them, meaning they have no choice but to travel on the road. We were delighted to see the Welsh government abolish their cut-off date last year for Wales, and this is brilliant news that England will now be following in the same way.”

With financial assistance from Sport England, through the British Equestrian, the Society created the ‘2026 campaign’ to train, advise and support BHS volunteers with the necessary research skills and resources to enable them to submit their DMMO (Definitive Map Modification Order (DMMO) applications to local authorities across England.

The 2026 campaign has been a great success for the Society with over 2,100 DMMO applications having already been submitted to over 50 local authorities. The Society now looks forward to continuing this much-needed work so that these historical routes are recorded to ensure more safe off-road routes are available to equestrians.

For more information about the BHS 2026 campaign visit. https://www.bhs.org.uk/our-work/access/campaigns/2026/2026-toolkit.

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