Dedicated to recovering and preserving our rich heritage of packhorse trails, bridleways and ancient lanes, the South Pennine Packhorse Trails Trust is opening many miles of upland paths for horse riders, cyclists and ramblers as part of the South Pennine Bridleways Network.
Why do we need the Trust?
When roads were improved in the 1750s–1850s, many old routes fell into disuse, their origins and purpose forgotten. In the 1950s, when public rights of way were first being recorded on the definitive map, many of the old trails were either not recorded or only recorded as footpaths. But, on the principle of ‘Once a highway, always a highway’, the public’s historic rights over them remained. These rights can be claimed on the basis of historical evidence and the status of the route legally recorded on the definitive map. The Trust works to record these public rights and then physically restores the routes on the ground. Without the Trust, many of these ancient routes will be lost, for Parliament has decided to extinguish unrecorded rights in 2026. That may sound a long way in the future, but it can take 10-15 years to get a single route added to the definitive map. The race is on to save the historic highways of the South Pennines.