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A year of Britain’s most trodden paths

22 Aug 2017

OS, by breaking the country down into square kilometres and counting the number of routes passing through each square, has produced a league table that sees the Edale area of the Peak District occupying six of the top ten spots, with Snowdon’s summit comfortably taking the top spot by some distance. The Lake District’s Scafell Pike summit and Ambleside appear at number three and five respectively.

Blue map of Great Britain

A series of stunning data visualisations showcase the results. See them all on our Flickr page:

Nick Giles, Managing Director of Ordnance Survey Leisure, says: "It may be a relatively small island we live on, but it’s crammed with variation and beauty. I think this is reflected in these tables, there is a nice geographic spread – though it would be nice to see more routes being created in Scotland. The Peak District is up there with any place in the world, and Edale, its village and valley, is a vast and stunning part of the country. With its easy access from Manchester and Sheffield, and it being either the start or end of the Pennine Way, depending on which way you’re walking it, it’s easy to see why it features so heavily in our league table with almost 21,000 routes."

Assuming each of Edale’s routes takes an average of an hour, it would take one of its 353 residents 875 days, or 2.4 years, to complete every walk. It would take the entire village 846 years to do this.

Nick continues: "Over the past twelve months we have introduced some key features to OS Maps, such as 3D route planning, to make the outdoors enjoyable, accessible and safe for all, and we have some exciting things coming up in development. The app now contains almost 1.2 million private and public routes, it is one of the largest databases of its kind in the world, and it’ll be interesting to see how much this league table changes next year."

OS has created another league table to establish the most popular towns and cities to create routes in. To conduct the analysis OS has looked at the full extent of the towns and cities rather than the square kilometre method, hence why Ambleside, which appears in both tables, has two different number of routes. What stands out in this league table is London boroughs Richmond-upon-Thames appearing in third spot and Wandsworth in sixth. Though when cross-referenced with the recently added OS Open Greenspace data it may not be so surprising, as Richmond-upon-Thames, percentage wise, is by far the greenest of all London’s boroughs with 323 greenspaces, and Wandsworth is not too far behind with 294.

Nick continues: "As well as those two London boroughs, Guilford, Winchester, Sheffield and Bath also feature in the top ten. Is this reflective of increasing numbers of people exploring and adventuring closer to home? I hope so. Certainly, the greenspace map layer we launched earlier this year within OS Maps will help with that. Encouragingly though, what this all demonstrates is our nation’s never-ending love for being outside."

1 Km 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

Notes to editors

About Ordnance Survey
Britain’s mapping agency, Ordnance Survey makes the most up-to-date and accurate digital and paper maps of the country. Each day OS makes over 10,000 changes to its database of more than 500 million geographic features. Since 1791 OS content has been used to help governments, companies and individuals work more effectively both here and around the world. The information OS gathers helps keep the nation, economy and infrastructure moving.

Ordnance Survey
By Ordnance Survey
Press Office

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