Hundreds of thousands of miles of paths reach into, and connect, communities across England and Wales. By 2026, 10,000 miles of undiscovered footpaths around Britain stand to be lost. Jack Cornish has dedicated the last five years of his life to walking these forgotten routes. It is Jack’s hope that the result, his book The Lost Paths, will show just how special these forgotten rights of way are, and how embedded each path is in the history of Britain.
Footpaths, tracks, country lanes and urban streets illuminate how our ancestors interacted with and shaped their landscapes in the pursuit of commerce, salvation, escape, war and leisure. Paths are an often overlooked part of our everyday life and our country’s history, crucial to understanding the cultural and environmental history of us in the landscape.
After dedicating his time and energy to fighting for their survival, The Lost Paths is Jack’s personal journey and exploration of the deep history of English and Welsh footways. This narrative history takes us through ancient forests, exposed mountainsides, urban back streets and coastal vistas to reveal how this millennia-old network was created and has been transformed.
This is a celebration of an ancient network and a rallying cry to reclaim what has been lost and preserve it for future generations.
Jack Cornish is Head of Paths at the Ramblers, Britain’s largest walking charity, with over 100,000 members.In 2017, he walked across the country from Land’s End to John O’Groats and is ten years into a (probably futile) attempt to walk every street in London.