There are 3 stages to recording a right of way not on the definitive map:
Stage 1 - Identify unrecorded rights of way
The first step is to look on modern and old maps to find paths that are not on the definitive map. Useful map evidence can be paths which end at a parish boundary, sections of paths or bridleways that are not joined-up, paths on old maps no longer shown on recent maps. There are two possible ways of doing this. Firstly by looking for all Lost ways in a defined area, such as a parish, and secondly looking for routes that would be useful 'missing links' if they were found to be rights of way.
PNFS is the administrator for the Derbyshire British Horse Society Dobbin 2026 database which can be used to document potential Lost Ways. So far 45 paths have been identified as 'possibles' and some are already being claimed via the DMMO process. Several PNFS Inspectors are actively using the website. Please do not be put off that the database has been developed by the BHS. PNFS fully supports the objective of all interested parties to claim as many unrecorded routes as possible before the 2026 deadline.
Mel Bale is the administrator for the Derbyshire database and can he be contacted at PNFS Lost Ways Administrator for advice about how to use the website. The website can be accessed via the following link DOBBIN 2026
Stage 2 - Researching the evidence
Before claiming a path for the definitive map the applicant must find the evidence that it existed as a right of way before 1949. Evidence may be found in inclosure awards, tithe maps, Finance Act 1910 maps and other official documents. Such evidence must be examined in national and local record offices, in estate archives and among parish and community council paper.
Stage 3 - Claiming the path
An application is submitted to the relevant ‘surveying authority’, i.e. the county or unitary council, using the correct legal form with supporting evidence.
Each of these stages requires knowledge and expertise. This is where PNFS can help you.