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Map Reading


The relevant Ordnance Survey Explorer map is the best for showing details of the landscape features of your walk.  The maps on this website show only the area covered by the route.  At a scale of 1:25,000 or 2½ inches to a mile, the Explorer map will show features such as field boundaries, buildings and woodlands.  It will also help you to identify distant features, adding to the interest of the walk.  These maps, in their orange covers, can be bought from outdoor shops and most good bookshops for about £8.00.


Visit the Ordnance Survey website.


Finding Your Way

Some people take to map and compass reading naturally whereas others find it a difficult process.  There are many good books in the shops but the subject is too wide-ranging to be set out here.  The following notes are a simple guide which an inexperienced walker may find useful.  You will not need a compass to use any of the routes given on this website, so the subject is not included in detail.  As it takes time to master, the best way to learn is by joining a walking group and learning from experts over a period of time.


  • Read the main symbols in the Explorer map legend.

  • Slopes are shown by contour lines – the closer together the lines, the steeper the hill.

  • Before you start a walk make sure that you fully understand where on the map you mean to start.  Identify features on the map and match them to the actual features on the ground.

  • There is no true "right way up" on a map; many walkers feel more comfortable if they turn it around (orientate it) to suit the way they are headed.  Re-check the map at regular intervals to make sure that you always know where you are, both on the ground and on the map.  By doing this you become less likely to wander off your route.

  • Above all, obey the Countryside Code.