It’s not the best time to get obsessed with maps and walking, given that the autumn and winter weather is starting to kick in, but I recently discovered the Get Outside section of the Ordnance Survey website. As the official mappers of the UK, they have plenty to peruse on the atlas and map side of things, but they’ve also made a big effort to encourage people to leave the comfort of four walls and a roof and make the best use of their products.
They have lots of beginners and advanced guides, covering everything from how to make map art, where to look for fossils, and how to get started running, cycling and camping. They also have timely content, with most haunted places to visit over this Halloween weekend. There are two guides that really caught my attention though, the first of which is 5 tips to plan a walk. I’ve searched for plenty of routes and trails to follow but I’d never really thought of just picking a place to start and following the footpaths wherever they may lead.
You probably already have a start point in mind. Your home is probably the first choice, but a free car park is often a good start point too. Other people will pick a train or bus station so they can get to their route in an environmentally friendly way. Ending at a pub or café is always a good idea!
That guide led me on to the Map Reading Skills section, which has posts, videos and pdfs to help you understand what you’re looking at. And from there, you go down a rabbit hole of different guides and posts and interests, and then suddenly you’ve spent the day reading about going outside instead of actually doing it. But I really liked the inspiration and insight on offer here, so it’s worth a look before you next Get Outside.