Today’s guest blog is from Anne Clark at Walk Unlimited, the official promotion partner for the National Trails in England and Wales, and working in partnership with Natural England and Natural Resources Wales and the Trail Partnerships.
Until recently anyone wanting to explore one of the 15 English and Welsh National Trails had to work pretty hard to plan their trip. Whilst there are many great guidebooks available, in particular the official guides published by Aurum Press that use extracts of Ordnance Survey maps, the problem is that most of the guides break the trails down into day-long walk or ride sections. This is helpful for some people but if you aren’t planning on completing the entire trail according to these sections then it gets more difficult.
The new National Trail website – www.nationaltrail.co.uk, launched on 13 January 2014, seeks to make it easier for everyone to enjoy the best trails in England and Wales, whether they want to walk an entire trail or simply enjoy a short visit as part of a day out.
The website offers ideas for days out based on the trails and gives information on attractions and services close to each trail. For map lovers the “plan your visit’ pages are the most exciting. They use familiar Ordnance Survey maps (including walkers’ favourite 1:25,000 scale) and overlay these with the line of the trail and information including accommodation, circular walks, link routes, photos, points of interest and events. Trail officers can update the website to keep the public immediately informed of any temporary changes to the route, or about events and important news.
Businesses operating close to the trails can add their information to the website for free, meaning that over time visitors will have access to the widest range of information to help them plan their visit. For the first time it will be possible to plan a route from the trail to accommodation or services, and even to the nearest pub for lunch.
The ‘distance calculator’ quickly shows how long a section of trail is, or how far it is to walk to an attraction away from the trail. If that isn’t enough the ‘gradient profile’ tool adds a further dimension making the website the perfect planning tool whatever your needs.
So whether you’re seeking a new adventure, planning a family day out or simply looking for a short stroll on a well-managed trail, the new National Trail website, created by Walk Unlimited, will surely have something to offer.