How a Crowdfunding Project Is Trying to Save the Footpaths of the Oldest Road in Britain

In a historical episode of Things You Might Not Know, host Tom Scott (previously) explained the history of The Icknield Way, the oldest known road in Britain. It consists of various footpaths that run continuously through southeast England and have been open to the public for hundreds of years. Yet many of these paths were only known by common knowledge and officially mapped.

The Icknield Way, in south-east England, is a road and footpath that’s been part of the landscape for millennia. But if parts of it hadn’t been legally marked down, then those parts would have become private land, gone forever. Who has the right to walk where?

When The Countryside and Rights of Way Act was passed in 2000, it gave citizens until 2026 to make their mapping requests known. The Don’t Lose Your Way project by British walking chairity Ramblers is putting out the word to get these paths on official UK maps and raising funds to hire people for the project.

Tens of thousands of miles of historic paths connecting our countryside, towns and cities could be lost forever because they haven’t been officially registered. If they aren’t added to official records by 2026, the government’s cut-off, we could be the last generation to walk them.