Did you know, we show over 220,000 km of public rights of way on our maps? Approximately 170,000 km of these are footpaths and 40,000 km are bridleways. Over 4,600 km are National Trails and 30,900 km are recreational routes!
One thing we’re often asked about is when someone has followed a public right of way shown on our map and found no visible footpath on the ground. Why is this? Public rights of way information is sent to us by local authorities, and a right of way doesn’t necessarily mean a footpath on the ground. We’re also often asked about blocked or overgrown rights of way. These need to be reported to your local authority too and, if any changes on our maps are required, they will pass that information along.
We also map rights of way permissive footpaths and bridleways as well as byways. And, if you don’t know the key differences or symbols of each of the types, you’re in the right place to find out!
Earlier this year I was involved with the running of a series of Ordnance Survey map reading workshops across Great Britain. One topic that regularly cropped up was rights of way – where can I go walking? Today on the Ordnance Survey blog I hope to be able to answer that question for you.
When we’re compiling the information for our maps we talk to a variety of other organisations and groups that provide different data-sets to link with the maps. When our surveyors are on the ground, or when our cartographers take information from the aerial photography that our plane has taken, they can’t always tell what the rights of way in that area are. We work with local authorities and national bodies (such as Sustrans and Natural England) to bring the information together for the maps. The maps are as accurate as they can be with the information that we have to hand at the time of the map being printed.
First of all – let’s have a look at the map and see what that tells us. What we’re looking at is the “Communications” section on the map legend. Here we can see the different types of roads and paths and public rights of way.