By Richard Martin, GIS Analyst at the National Trust
As keen followers of the OS blog, we found the ‘trodden paths’ post in August of particular interest. The National Trust (NT) is a charity founded in 1895 by three people who saw the importance of our nation’s heritage and open spaces and wanted to preserve them for everyone to enjoy. We were therefore interested in discovering how much NT land currently occupies the most popular OS 1km map tiles that contain the largest number of public routes going through them. We were delighted to find that within the OS top 20 tiles (2,000ha) the NT looks after 924ha (46%), showing a very strong correlation with the places that OS Maps subscribers most like to walk.
Looking ahead to New Year’s Resolutions for 2017? Trying to decide how to work off those Christmas calories? How about walking? Getting outside and walking in Britain is free, easy and accessible to most of us.
We’ve already seen 2016 prove to be a big year for the outdoor enthusiast with the nation either donning their running shoes or walking boots to #GetOutside.
With the year coming to an end we’ve taken a look back at the most popular destinations searched by walkers on our popular OS Maps online service. An amazing 1.4 million destination searches were carried out via our online version of OS Maps in 2016. So, where were people hoping to explore?
In case you missed it, we’ve been celebrating #TrigPillar80 this week, marking 80 years since the lovely trig pillar was first used to help us map out Britain. Although we no longer need the trig pillar to map the country, now using newer technology, the trig pillar remains as a British icon, guiding the way for explorers of the great outdoors.
#GetOutside and bag a trig pillar
The trig pillar can now be seen in many a photo, showcasing the British countryside and marking the high point of a walk. We asked our #GetOutside champions whether they had a favourite trig pillar to bag when out walking, fell-running and cycling and they came up trumps with some real beauties. From the wonderfully named Doughnot Hill in Scotland, to the Isle of Man to Dartmoor, our champions picked their best spot to bag a trig.
There have been a number of articles in the press this summer noting an increase in call outs for rescue teams across Britain. The Mail Online reported that Lochaber Mountain Rescue in Scotland are usually called out between 70 and 100 times a year, but by mid-August had already dealt with 103 alerts in 2015. Meanwhile MSN and the Express spoke to volunteers with the Coniston Mountain Rescue Team in the Lake District who had already been sent into action 44 times this year – more than in the whole of 2014.
The common theme amongst the stories is an increasing reliance on electronic devices and lack of basic map-reading skills and preparation. So what can we all do to ease the load on the amazing teams that help keep us safe? We don’t want to put anyone off. Britain is a beautiful place and we should all do more to #GetOutside and explore our country, but it could pay to stop and think before you do it. If you’re off for a stroll in your local park, chances are that you’ll be fine without a map and wearing your shorts and T-shirt, but if you’re planning a longer walk, a hike into the hills or visiting a place for the first time, read these five safety tips for walkers.
Here in the UK, we have some of Europe’s best walking and cycling routes right on our doorstep. We’ve already taken a look at some of the many sprawling National Trails on our lands, but the next instalment in our “All about the…” series is one of our personal favourites. When you think of Yorkshire you might think of puddings, terriers and tea; but when we think of Yorkshire, we think of the Yorkshire Wolds Way.
The Yorkshire Wolds Way is one of four National Trails located in the county, and stretches for 79 miles from Hessle to Filey – so if you’ve ever trekked along the Cleveland Way before you’ll have either started or finished at an end-point of the Yorkshire Wolds Way. It’s considered one of the best trails for newbies as it’s not too long, the terrain isn’t as challenging, and there’s plenty to see and do en route.
The whole walk will take you around five to six days, but if you need to pick and choose which stretches you want to walk, here’s a breakdown of what you can expect.
We’re lucky in Britain that our seasons are so wonderfully defined; each one quite distinct from its predecessor due to the colour of the leaves on the trees, the abundance of native flowers and the low-lying mist on the ground. It would be difficult to choose a favourite season, even the tumultuous grey skies of late autumn, the withering heat of summer and the frozen ground of mid-winter have their charms – but there’s something about spring; this awakening of nature after its sleepy hibernation and regeneration of flora and fauna.
Boots are the most important piece of walking kit, so it pays to get the best fit you can. With the huge range of boots now on the market, your feet shouldn’t get a hammering every time you go out walking. If boots don’t fit properly, you won’t have support for your feet and ankles, and you’ll be prone to blisters, chafing and other foot problems. Too much room and they’ll rub up and down, too little and your feet and toes will be scrunched up.
Pembrokeshire, with its craggy cliff faces, golden beaches and quaint fishing towns, has won hearts and minds across countless generations. In fact, the list of its most notable residents includes such luminaries as Henry VII, Sarah Waters, Rhys Ifans and Christian Bale. Fellow resident Nicky Wire of Welsh rockers Manic Street Preachers told theguardian.com how the area was “utterly magnificent”, mentioning that the tourist hotspot of Tenby “just makes me a bit of a better person when I’m down there,” before adding “it’s not easy to do that!”
Though Pembrokeshire is the fifth largest of Wales’ 22 counties, it drops to 18th for population density. As such, visitors can expect plenty to see and do, without too many crowds of people getting in the way. For just some examples of these things to entertain, look no further.
If you spend any time outdoors in the UK, chances are that at some point it’s going to rain. Especially as we move into autumn and the wet days substantially increase.
However, this does not mean that you have to stay indoors. Having the right gear can turn walking in the rain from a sodden trudge into an adventure, as well as allowing you to plan longer walks all year round.