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G2 Jack Cornish: The Lost Paths

The Bath Festival 2024

The Guildhall

Discover the rich history of Britain’s ancient pathways with Jack Cornish, Head of Paths at the Ramblers Association in this fascinating talk, specially created for the festival to include paths and walks around Bath. It will be impossible to take an unremarkable walk again!

Hundreds of thousands of miles of paths reach into – and connect – communities across England and Wales. More than just a practical way for us to walk, ride and cycle, they are an inheritance from our past, revealing how our ancestors interacted with and shaped their surroundings. From Iron Age footsteps to Anglo-Saxon mercenary trails, through Railway Age tracks and Home Army defences, our land reveals a hidden history of us.

But thousands of miles are still missing from our maps, and they will be lost forever unless they are urgently reclaimed. Fighting for these paths’ survival through his work with the Ramblers Association, Jack Cornish has spent years walking and recording these forgotten routes – those that have been lost, those that have been saved and those which remain hidden in plain sight.

The Lost Paths is a history of the people who have used, and in some cases created, these walkways – the drovers who herded their sheep and cattle to market; the wanderers who travelled between workhouses, seeking shelter and subsistence; the miners who ventured deep underground along the Cornish coast; the wartime heroes who built up Britain’s defensive infrastructure. This incredible ‘ordinary’ history of the land beneath our feet reminds us just how precious these paths are, and have been, to the human story of this island.

This is a celebration of an ancient network and a rallying cry to reclaim what has been lost and preserve it for future generations.

'A rallying cry to reclaim lost routes and preserve this precious resource for future generations' - Walk Magazine

Jack Cornish is head of paths at the Ramblers Association, Britain’s largest walking charity. In 2017, he walked across the country from Land’s End to John O’Groats, and has dedicated the last seven years of his life to walking and recording the forgotten routes of England and Wales. He is ten years into an attempt to walk every street in London, where he lives. On X @cornish_jack



G2 Jack Cornish: The Lost Paths