How to find a new walk near you
by Talitha Palmer Roberts on Apr 24, 2023
Discovering somewhere new has many benefits; it’ll increase your motivation to get out, add excitement to your walk and you’ll return home with a new level of satisfaction and appreciation for what’s around you. Here are five tips to help you find a new walk near you.
1. Map reading basics
Whether you look online, use an app or have a paper map, you’ll be surprised at how many paths and walkways there are across the UK. Even in urban areas, there are many public rights of way, some you may not have known were there. Start by opening a map of your local area and finding a path you’ve never ventured down. Public rights of way such as footpaths and bridleways are shown on an OS Map by a green dotted line – brush up on your map symbols here. Can you join two or even three together to create a route? In built up areas you may need to use pavements or alleyways to join off-road paths together, but asphalt can still make a pleasant walk. A map will also highlight greenspaces and blue spaces around you. Woodland, fields, lakes and rivers are great places to go for a stroll. Check out the greenspace layer on OS Maps to find your nearest.
2. Find a new walking route
Wherever you live in the UK, there’s bound to be a waymarked route near you. The most well-known are National and Regional Trails plus Scotland’s Great Trails, which can be easily broken into sections to suit a range of abilities. Most have several resupply options on route (for people walking the entire route in one go), which means you’re likely to find amenities such as cafes, toilets, parking and water points on your walk. If you want to stay local, most towns and villages have smaller official walking routes weaving through them. Take the city of Portsmouth as an example, nearby is a lovely walk taking in eight village parishes, another meanders through the historic old town and another follows a coastal path around the harbour with some fantastic wildlife. Here are some of Britain’s best long-distance trails to whet your appetite.
3. Be inspired by others
If you don’t have time to plan your own, why not do a walk someone else has recommended? The OS Maps app and desktop version has hundreds of thousands of walking routes across the UK. You can filter by difficultly, distance and rating. You can also choose from a large selection of Recommended routes, which have been tried and tested by partners in the outdoor industry. Joining a local group or club will also help expand your knowledge of where to go and you’ll be less likely to talk yourself out of exercising if others are depending on you.
4. Just walk
Sometimes it’s nice to get outside and just go. You don’t always need to have a plan before you pull on your boots and sometimes the best new places are stumbled upon when you’re least expecting it. However, it’s important you don’t get lost as this can add time and hassle to your day. To prevent this, take some form of mapping with you and make sure you can pinpoint your location, so you can get back with ease. The OS Maps app provides detailed mapping and lets you know exactly where you are. So, step outside, wander and see where you end up!
5. Before you walk
Having the right clothing for the weather and a good pair of comfortable shoes or boots will keep you feeling great. Layers are great for the everchanging typical British weather. Always check the forecast before you set off. Fuel is key and you should always carry enough water or know where you can refill. Never underestimate the importance of snacks. A selection of your favourite treats cannot just boost your physical energy but your mood too. Lastly, always tell somewhere where you are going and what time you will be back.
Mixing up your walks will make them more enjoyable and encourage you to get out more. Before you start looking for somewhere new, read how you can plan a walking route in five simple steps and familiarise yourself with a map with these free map reading guides.
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