Britain's 'most walked' paths revealed

Ordnance Survey have revealed an extraordinary new set of images visualising Britain's most popular areas to plan a walk.

The Lake District was shown to be Britain's favourite place to walk. Image: Ordnance Survey

The visuals are compiled from 10 years of routing data from Ordnance Survey’s (OS) digital outdoor products, such as OS Maps and reveal the areas most popular for those creating 'bespoke' routes online. The Lake District tops the rankings, with 18 of the top 20 locations to create a route fall within the border of the National Park close to Keswick, Ambleside, Grasmere, Helvellyn and Scafell Pike. The other two top 20 places are in Snowdonia and Yorkshire Dales.

Nick Giles, Managing Director of Ordnance Survey Leisure, says: “For centuries the Lakes have held a special place in people’s hearts, and we know the area is loved by map users, because the region frequently tops our bestselling paper maps. However, when we started examining this data and looking at the route-creating habits of people, we weren’t expecting the Lake District to dominate so strongly. We live in such a spectacular and varied country, so if you can’t make it to the Lakes you could try exploring your own county.”

OS has also produced a league table of the most popular towns and cities where people like to create routes. Again the Lake District comes first, with Keswick and Ambleside topping the table – clearly ahead of nearest rivals Guildford and the City of Westminster.

The 500,000 plus routes have now been illustrated in a series of stunning data visualisations created by OS cartographer Charley Glynn. Also responsible for taking the look of digital mapping to the next level with his design for the recent app release OS Maps, Charley said: “What I find amazing is that the people who have created these routes for their outside adventures have logged almost every bit of British coastline, neatly framing the rest of the data and giving the illusion you are looking at a map of Great Britain. The darker, thicker areas illustrate the higher concentration of routes and reveal popularity.”

The concentration of routes flowing over Scafell PIke reveal England's highest summit's popularity. Image: Ordnance Survey

Top 20 locations (by 1km grid square) and number of routes

OSGB GridRef: NY2107 – Scafell Pike Summit – 2172
OSGB GridRef: SH6054 – Snowdon Summit – 2111
OSGB GridRef: NY2308 – Allen Crags (Near Scafell Pike) – 1918
OSGB GridRef: NY2208 – Great End (Near Scafell Pike) – 1908
OSGB GridRef: NY2806 – Langdale Fell (Cumbria Way) – 1865
OSGB GridRef: NY3415 – Helvellyn Summit – 1793
OSGB GridRef: SD8072 – Horton in Ribblesdale – 1593
OSGB GridRef: NY2514 – Rosthwaite – 1576
OSGB GridRef: NY3308 – Grasmere (North) – 1558
OSGB GridRef: NY1807 – Wast Water (North) – 1551
OSGB GridRef: NY2623 – Keswick – 1539
OSGB GridRef: NY2407 – Rossett Pike (Near Scafell Pike) – 1531
OSGB GridRef: NY3414 – Nethermost Pike (Near Helvellyn) – 1527
OSGB GridRef: NY3704 – Ambleside – 1520
OSGB GridRef: NY3816 – Glenridding – 1519
OSGB GridRef: NY2209 – Great Slack (Near Scafell Pike) – 1515
OSGB GridRef: NY2906 – Langdale Fell (Cumbria Way) – 1491
OSGB GridRef: NY3511 – Fairfield Summit – 1487
OSGB GridRef: NY3307 – Grasmere (Centre) – 1467
OSGB GridRef: NY2109 – Sty Head (Near Scafell Pike) – 1431

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