At the end of 2025 all rights to use most routes that are not on the official map of rights of way or list of roads maintained by the county council will be lost. The owner will be able block the route (for example if they want to build houses on the site). So a group of us from the Open Spaces Society, Mid Sussex Bridleways Group, Ramblers Association and other concerned organisations have started trying to get these routes put on the official map of rights of way in Sussex.
Sometimes these routes have been out of use for many years and we need to do historical research. But often the routes at risk of closure have been in regular use by lots of people up to the present day. You may be surprised by many of the routes at risk. In these cases we need evidence to show that people have used the route for the at least the last 20 years as of right – without having a lease or legal agreement, or the special permission of the landowner.
Obviously it is harder to get evidence for the earlier part of this period, so if you used a route in the 1990s this is particularly important information, but we welcome evidence for any period up to the present day.
Below you will find details of the routes currently being researched. In each case you will find basic details plus and evidence form for you to print off, fill in and return to us. If more than one person in your household has used the route please print off and return a form for each person. Some of the questions may seem a bit odd. This is because we need to meet some complicated legal conditions. Please answer all the questions honestly, but it is ok to say “I can’t remember” or “I don’t know”.
Please send it to the address on the bottom of the form and you can send to that address as well if you prefer. You can also print the form, sign it, scan it and email the scan to firstname.lastname@example.org
ROUTES WE CURRENTLY NEED EVIDENCE FOR
We currently need evidence of use ON BICYCLES OR ON HORSEBACK for the old road at Barcombe Mills which leaves the main road near the car park, goes over a number of streams and then turns left at the site of the old toll gate to rejoin the main road near to the old railway station. We also need evidence for the road that goes north from the old toll gate to join a byway that heads north in the direction of the Anchor pub.
You can find more details, an evidence form and details of where to return it to here: Cycling evidence form with covering letter
PROGRESS ON ROUTES ALREADY APPLIED FOR
This is a slow process. It can take four years for the council to make a decision and then there may be a delay of a further year if someone objects and there has to be a public enquiry. Here is an update on progress on routes in Lewes in August 2019 You can see on the web site of East Sussex County Council routes that the council are currently considering and what stage they are at.
MAKING A CLAIM FOR A RIGHT OF WAY YOURSELF
You can find out how to make a claim to add a right of way to the map here
WALKING IN THE COVID CRISIS
Here is some advice.