Skip to main content
close x

Historic Routes and Past Pathways

Historic Routes and Past Pathways

Lead Partner

New Forest National Park Authority

What is it about?

Historic Routes and Past Pathways is working with volunteers, partner organisations and local communities to investigate existing rights of way and identify those with significant historical importance within the New Forest National Park.

From the existing rights of way network, five new trails will be established. These trails will be formed of existing rights of way, where possible with; significant history, high connectivity, easy access and a local story to tell.

Through innovative, imaginative and appropriate interpretation the aims are to promote a greater understanding of the heritage and importance of these rights of way to local communities and users, along with their continued benefit as sustainable travel links and green corridors of the future.

Communities will be encouraged to become involved with the heritage of their local rights of way, supporting people to feel a greater connection with the past.

What’s been achieved?
  • 40 volunteers have researched historical maps to investigate the history behind the rights of way in their allocated parishes
  • 700 rights of way over 37 parishes were researched
  • 260 walkover surveys are being undertaken to narrow the 700 down
  • 25 volunteers have been trained in archive research
  • 13 volunteers have been trained on ground surveying
  • Seven draft trails have now been identified and researchers are now undertaking ‘more in depth’ historical research to consider alongside the ground survey information
Volunteering and training

Volunteers can take part in a variety of activities, including:

  • Historical desk based and online research
  • Historic maps and document research and gathering
  • Field work
  • Rights of way survey and assessment
  • Conducting oral histories
  • Identifying historic landscape features
  • Practical rights of way work e.g. vegetation clearance, route improvement
  • Promotional activities e.g. public events, social media
  • Heritage interpretation of the new trails e.g. guided walks, education sessions

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


Through working with parish councils and local community groups the Historic Routes and Past Pathways team will promote a sense of ownership and pride in the new trails. It is hoped that this will enable the local communities to play a substantial role in promoting and preserving the trails in the future.

Contact details

Gareth Owen, Project Officer – Historic Routes and Past Pathways project, New Forest National Park Authority

Tel: 01590 646652 Mobile: 07880 383988 email:


HLF and OPOF logos

Newsletter Image





Six free walking routes when you sign up for New Forest Newsletter

Key To Map

Choose the categories you would like to display on the map.

Choose the categories to be display on the map

Subscribe to New Forest National Park Authority

By entering your email below you are consenting to us sending you newsletters. To unsubscribe, email More info:

I think you mistyped your email
Your interests (tick at least one)

Please select one

By signing up to this form you are consenting to receive emails from us. Each email will contain a link to your personal reference settings where you can opt-out or change which emails you receive from us. Please read our Privacy Policy for more information about how we use data.

Subscribe to New Forest National Park Authority

Thanks, your subscription has been confirmed. You've been added to our list and your New Forest walking pack is on its way to you, including a link to download our free app.