Memory lanes: the ramblers trying to save 10,000 lost footpaths

It’s not just walkers who get lost – paths can get lost, too. Now a small army of volunteers are seeking to recover thousands of public rights of way before they disappear for ever

Paul Howland is standing in a bed of nettles, his head surrounded by a halo of dusky blue sloes. Behind him is an impenetrable tangle of undergrowth, self-seeded trees and what looks like the long-discarded parts of an a vehicle.

“The old path went up here,” he says, waving his walking pole further into the thicket. “I first spotted it on Milne’s county map of Hampshire from 1791.”

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