Snowdon tops the list for Britain’s most trodden paths 

Did you know that OS Maps subscribers added over 400,000 routes to the service over the last 12 months? We’ve analysed the (almost) 400,000 public routes and found that Snowdon bags the top spot for most routes created.

We broke the country down into square kilometres and counted the number of routes passing through each square, and while Snowdon topped this list, the Edale area of the Peak District grabbed 6 of the top 10 spots, with the Lake District taking the remaining places. 

OS Maps now contains almost 1.2 million private and public routes, making it one of the largest databases of its kind in the world. We’ve illustrated the 400,000 public routes created in the last 12 months in a series of stunning data visualisations created by our GeoDataViz team member Charley Glynn. The darker, thicker areas illustrate the higher concentration of routes and reveal popularity.

We’ve always assumed the majority of the routes are created for walking, cycling and running activities, but it’s clear that some people have been finding new ways to use our products. You can see 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!

Beyond the National Parks, which obviously dominate, we also realised that the National Trails are heavily used to create routes. Their locations can be clearly spotted when looking at the data visualisations.

We also created a league table to establish the most popular towns and cities to #GetOutside and plot routes. The London boroughs of Richmond-upon-Thames and Wandsworth feature in the top ten, along with Guilford, Winchester, Sheffield and Bath. It’s great to see people exploring our urban environment as well as the countryside. Take a look at the full results below, and visit our Flickr gallery to see all of the data visualisations.

1Km Grid Squares with number of routes going through that square

Grid square  Location                          Number of routes

SH6054      Snowdon (Summit)              3779

SK1285      Edale                         3590

NY2107      Scafell Pike (Summit)         3007

SK0786      Edale Cross                   2636

SK0886      Edale (Jacob’s Ladder)        2632

NY3704      Ambleside                     2587

SH6154      Snowdon (Pyg Track)           2581

SK1283      Edale (Mam Tor)               2529

SK1384      Edale (Hollins Cross)         2492

SK1185      Edale                         2452

SO0121      Pen y Fan                     2404

SH6455      Pen-y-pass                    2377

NY2806      Langdale Fell (Cumbria Way)   2359

NY2208      Great End (Scafell Pike)      2342

NY3307      Grasmere (Centre)             2311

SK1085      Edale (Upper Booth)           2298

SK1284      Edale (Cold Side)             2288

NY2308      Allen Crags (Scafell Pike)    2278

NY3415      Helvellyn (Summit)            2271

NY2623      Keswick                       2244


Top 10 cities and towns and number of routes


Ambleside               2731

Keswick                 2523

Richmond upon Thames    1278

Bath                    1234

Sheffield               1205

Wandsworth              1169

Winchester              1147

Guildford               1140

Bakewell                1091

Church Stretton         1003











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8 Responses

  1. Mark McGillivray

    Disappointed that Scotland has been omitted from the two maps? Surely something like the West Highland Way or Southern Upland Way would merit a mention? They stand out a mile on the first map in the article…

    1. Hi Mark

      The first of the two maps that you mention is highlighting the National Trails and the second the ten towns and cities with the most OS Maps routes running through them, and in both cases Scotland didn’t feature, so it made sense for us to crop the map and show the data more clearly.

      With the National Trails, do note that covers 15 (soon to be 16) long distance routes in England and Wales. You can see more on the National Trails website: http://www.nationaltrail.co.uk/

      If you head to our Flickr page, you’ll see a hi-res image from our data analysis, which also includes Scotland: https://www.flickr.com/photos/osmapping/36598258396/in/dateposted-public/

      Many thanks

  2. David Woodgate

    Gemma, would it be possible to talk to someone about the data for some academic research to support vulnerable people?

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