On 13th July, the Ramblers will be launching a survey of all public paths in England and Wales as shown on Ordnance Survey maps. The Ramblers are calling for volunteers to help and you don’t have to be a member of the Ramblers to take part.
You just have to register for one or more one-kilometre squares and walk all the paths shown on the Ordnance Survey map in that/those grid square/s and then report what you find to the Ramblers. There will be a free phone app to assist reporting or paperwork. If you don’t have or don't wish to use a smart phone then you will be able to print off a map and survey card, complete it and upload your findings.
The Ramblers say that they will use the results to assess the state of the rights of way network and then come up with solutions to ensure the network is protected. Highway Authorities have a legal duty to do that anyway but sadly most (including my own local authority – Bedford Borough Council) are getting away with not doing so, therefore numerous public rights of way are unusable.
For example here in Bedford, part of Bedford Footpath No. 1 cannot be used because Bedford Borough Council (formerly North Bedfordshire Borough Council) gave planning permission for Goldington Academy (formerly Goldington Middle School) to be built over it.
More information about the Big Pathwatch and how to pre-register HERE.