How to plan a good walk

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Finding a good walking route is really dependent on the types of place that you like to ramble, your mobility level and how much time that you want to spend walking. There are a number of things that you should think about when planning a walk.

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As these show the most detail, the best maps for planning walking routes in Britain’s countryside are the 1:25 000 scale Walking Maps. You can find great ones from https://www.themapshop.co.uk/Explorer_Walking_Maps.htm.  A street map will work well if you are planning an urban path, but many show little detail when crossing green spaces. Don’t try to use larger scale maps optimised for driving for your own protection, as these do not show enough off-road features.

You probably have a starting point in mind already. The first choice is usually your house, but a free car park is also always a good starting point. Other individuals will select a train or bus station in order to get to their route in an environmentally friendly manner.

You may usually plan a circular route, which is more fun than a straight out and back, by selecting an area with more footpaths. Either find a spot where you can exit a vehicle at both ends, or search for start and end points on a bus route or near a train station, if you want to plan a one way route.

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The average speed of your walk will be about 5 km/h (3.1mph). With simple routes, this assumes flat ground and does not allow for styles, scrambles, streams or any of the other items you might encounter.

You may also use Naismith’s Law if you are in the hills or mountains. Add 10 minutes to your time for each 100m of elevation gain.

Based on your entire group’s capacity and the time you have available, schedule your route length. Don’t forget to add refreshments or time to take pictures in the breaks. The bigger the party, the slower you are likely to walk.

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