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Britain’s most trodden paths?

The Lake District is the nation’s favourite place to #GetOutside.

07 July 2016

The Lake District tops a league table of the nation’s favourite outdoor routes in Great Britain. The new league tables are compiled from 10 years of routing data from Ordnance Survey’s (OS) digital outdoor products.

The analysis of over half a million routes reveals just how highly revered the Lake District is. Eighteen of the top twenty most popular places to create a route fall in the heart of the Lake District National Park, close to popular tourist locations Keswick, Ambleside, Grasmere, Helvellyn and Scafell Pike. The other two top twenty places are in Snowdonia and Yorkshire Dales.

OS has also produced a league table of the most popular towns and cities where people like to create routes. Again the Lake District prevails with Keswick and Ambleside topping the table, clearly ahead of nearest rivals Guildford and the City of Westminster. See below for the full tables.

Nick Giles, Managing Director of Ordnance Survey Leisure, says: “For centuries the Lakes have held a special place in people’s hearts, and we know the area is loved by map users, because the region frequently tops our bestselling paper maps. However, when we started examining this data and looking at the route-creating habits of people, we weren’t expecting the Lake District to dominate so strongly. We live in such a spectacular and varied country, so if you can’t make it to the Lakes you could try exploring your own county. As in life, the less well travelled paths can be the most rewarding.”

The 500,000 plus routes have also been illustrated in a series of stunning data visualisations created by OS cartographer Charley Glynn. Also responsible for taking the look of digital mapping to the next level with his design for the recent app release OS Maps, Charley said: “What I find amazing is that the people who have created these routes for their outside adventures have logged almost every bit of British coastline, neatly framing the rest of the data and giving the illusion you are looking at a map of Great Britain. The darker, thicker areas illustrate the higher concentration of routes and reveal popularity.”

Charley continues: “We’ve always assumed the majority of these routes are for walking, cycling and running activities, but as I’ve studied the data, it’s clear that some people have been finding new ways to use our products. I’ve noticed several instances where people have used our products to route their car journeys and spotted a couple of people using our products at sea to record their movements. All public routes can be viewed and used in OS’s digital map app OS Maps, so there’s no excuse not to #GetOutside!”

There are over 500,000 historic routes used in the creation of the league tables, all of which have been created by users of OS’s digital products and publically shared. The league tables do not include user’s privately stored routes. The top locations league table was compiled by identifying the busiest 1km grid square in Great Britain. The towns and cities league table was created by identifying the busiest towns and cities.

View the data visualisations here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/osmapping/

Top 20 locations (by 1km grid square) and number of routes

  • OSGB GridRef: NY2107 – Scafell Pike Summit – 2172
  • OSGB GridRef: SH6054 – Snowdon Summit – 2111
  • OSGB GridRef: NY2308 – Allen Crags (Near Scafell Pike) – 1918
  • OSGB GridRef: NY2208 – Great End (Near Scafell Pike) – 1908
  • OSGB GridRef: NY2806 – Langdale Fell (Cumbria Way) – 1865
  • OSGB GridRef: NY3415 – Helvellyn Summit – 1793
  • OSGB GridRef: SD8072 – Horton in Ribblesdale – 1593
  • OSGB GridRef: NY2514 – Rosthwaite – 1576
  • OSGB GridRef: NY3308 – Grasmere (North) – 1558
  • OSGB GridRef: NY1807 – Wast Water (North) – 1551
  • OSGB GridRef: NY2623 – Keswick – 1539
  • OSGB GridRef: NY2407 – Rossett Pike (Near Scafell Pike) – 1531
  • OSGB GridRef: NY3414 – Nethermost Pike (Near Helvellyn) – 1527
  • OSGB GridRef: NY3704 – Ambleside – 1520
  • OSGB GridRef: NY3816 – Glenridding – 1519
  • OSGB GridRef: NY2209 – Great Slack (Near Scafell Pike) – 1515
  • OSGB GridRef: NY2906 – Langdale Fell (Cumbria Way) – 1491
  • OSGB GridRef: NY3511 – Fairfield Summit – 1487
  • OSGB GridRef: NY3307 – Grasmere (Centre) – 1467
  • OSGB GridRef: NY2109 – Sty Head (Near Scafell Pike) – 1431

Top 10 cities and towns and number of routes

  • Keswick - 1746
  • Ambleside - 1619
  • Guildford - 1146
  • City of Westminster - 1129
  • Richmond upon Thames - 1099
  • Winchester - 1089
  • Leeds - 1072
  • Sheffield - 1043 Bath - 1041
  • Bakewell – 1006


Notes to Editors

About OS Maps
Plan all your routes and adventures instantly on your smartphone or tablet using the new OS Maps app. It’s a simple-to-use mapping app that includes all of Great Britain in a choice of map types for different activities. Used by hundreds of thousands of walkers, ramblers, runners and mountain bikers it’s the perfect outdoor companion. www.os.uk/shop/os-maps-online2.html

About Ordnance Survey
Britain’s mapping agency, Ordnance Survey makes the most up-to-date and accurate digital and paper maps of the country. Each day OS makes over 100,000 changes to its database of more than 500 million geographic features. Since 1791 OS content has been used to help governments, companies and individuals work more effectively both here and around the world. The information OS gathers helps keep the nation, economy and infrastructure moving. www.os.uk/about

Contact us

For more information and images:

Contact: Keegan Wilson, Senior Press Officer

Email: keegan.wilson@os.uk

Phone: (+44) 023­80 055332

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