November 19, 2015


Map reading skills: How to read a grid reference

Updated March 2020.

On week four in our six-week blog series on map reading skills, we’re taking a look at how to read a grid reference. Map reading is an essential skill for any explorer or outdoor enthusiast. We’ve teamed up with Steve Backshall to record a series of videos to remind you of the basics and help you feel confident with your map.


So far we’ve covered which OS map you needunderstanding map symbols and making sense of contour lines. Today we’re covering grid references, both four-figure and six-figure version. Over the next fortnight we’ll also cover:

  • Knowing your compass and how to take a compass bearing
  • Understanding magnetic north

Each week we’ll share Steve’s video with you, give a summary in the blog and point you in the right direction of further resources and details. Hear what Steve has to say about grid references in these two short videos: Read More