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Finding walks in your local area

Exhausted all your local routes during the covid lockdowns?

Bored of the same old dog walk?

Are your children fed up with the same country park?

If you feel like you've walked every local park, footpath and suggested route, how do you keep it feeling fresh and new. I have a few tips and ideas to help

Campbell Park, Milton Keynes, Photo by Walks with Kerry

Tip #1

My go to app is OS Maps. I pay for the premium version of this because I use it so often, but the free version has plenty of great features. Here you can plan your own route or search for other routes that others have recorded or mapped nearby.

If you do pay for the premium version they have a great 3D fly through on the desktop. I found this really handy when I was still learning about things like elevation and distance and how they impact timings and energy levels.

For general route ideas I will also look at Komoot, AllTrails and Outdoor Active.

For me personally, I haven't found them very user friendly when navigating out and about. Also some of the walks are heavily repeated especially in Komoot. However, they are a great source of initial ideas.

Tip #2
Local Groups

There are lots of great local groups ran by associations such as The Ramblers, local sports centres and fitness groups, and if you're up for the challenge the Long Distance Walking Association (LDWA) run lots of longer walks.

These are a great way to discover new routes without the challenge of route planning. Its also a great chance to meet like minded walkers and learn about things as you go like local flora and fauna or even better great coffee and cake stops!

Tip #3
Your Local Libary & Council

Your local library is a wealth of knowledge and one that I feel we should be careful not to underuse for fear they won't exist in the future. They can provide you with anything from leaflets on local walks through to loaning out an OS Map.

Councils and local parks trusts have a variety of information for getting out and about in your local area. From mapped walks that you can follow via a written description, signposted walks of interest and guided walks in the local area that usually are free or nominally priced.

Tip #4
Traditional Publications & Online Offerings

There are some great magazines that share local and national routes. A favourite of mine is Trail Magazine. I get this one free via my Kindle subscription and I've seen copies in my local library so its worth checking if you have access to it already. A lot of the times they share the GPX of their walks so you can follow along by downloading the file and using it via apps like OS Maps.

Social media accounts and blogs of walkers are also great sources of local and national walks. Keep an eye out on here as I hope to share more of my walks as I go.

Finally another great online source for ideas is the National Trust. They put out a variety of walks that cover their ground, passing areas of historical, cultural and natural world interests.

Tip #5
Book A Walk With A Walk Leader

The Mountain Training Association provide training for walk leaders from Lowland Terrain through to Winter Mountain Leader. This means you know by booking a guided walk with one of these guys they know their terrain and have equipped themselves with a wealth of skills. They can help you to plan, navigate and support you out on unknown ground, however challenging or relaxing that ground might be.

They can also help support you to take on a new challenge beyond your local area, maybe a UK mountain or a remote moorland walk.

Tip #6
Book A Course

What If you've tried all these and its not enough?

What about booking a navigation course. Lots of walk leaders and navigation experts offer a variety of courses. They range from just a few hours to get you familiar with a map and compass, through to the NNAS Navigation Scheme. That way you can get off the beaten track and feel confident creating and navigating your own walks.

And don't forget to check back here!! I will add more of my own walks for inspiration or come and join me on one of my own upcoming walks.


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