How old are public footpaths and green lanes? How far back can we trace their history?
How has the footpath network changed in recent centuries?
What were footpaths and green lanes used for in the past?
How do footpaths and green lanes relate to the wider landscape?
Get involved with the project by carrying out fieldwork and documentary research.

The Pathways to History project aimed to investigate the history of public rights of way in Norfolk. The antiquity of the footpath network has never been fully researched and we are interested in a number of questions:

  • How old are footpaths and green lanes in Norfolk?
  • How has the number of public rights of way changed in the past?
  • Do footpaths and green lanes have a distinct archaeological character?
  • What were footpaths and green lanes used for in the past?
  • Are there any local names or traditions associated with them?
  • How do footpaths and green lanes relate to the wider landscape?

The project has now come to an end, and we are working to process the results generated by the project into an interactive map and other resources, which will be available online in Spring 2014.

Community Involvement

We have been working with volunteers across Norfolk to to investigate the history of footpaths and green lanes.

  • Volunteers have carried out fieldwork by surveying footpaths and green lanes to identify any archaeological features, ancient trees and hedgerows.
  • Archival research has started to uncover their history, using old maps and documents.
  • We have been collecting local stories, names and traditions about lanes and footpaths which are not recorded in other documents.

The project volunteers have been supported by landscape historians from the School of History at the University of East Anglia.

The project came to an end in February 2014, but if you are interested in doing similar work in your area, please contact Dr Sarah Spooner or Dr Gerry Barnes by email or telephone.

Email: s.spooner@uea.ac.uk and gerry.barnes@uea.ac.uk

Telephone: 01603 592663

The Project Team

Pathways to History has been co-ordinated by a team of landscape historians within the School of History at the University of East Anglia, alongside our partner organisations. The project was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

Dr Sarah Spooner

Professor Tom Williamson

Dr Gerry Barnes MBE

Dr Jon Gregory

Our project partners

Natural England

Norfolk Historic Environment Service

Norfolk County Council

Norfolk Record Office

Campaign to Protect Rural England

Norfolk Rural Community Council

Walking for Health