Long Distance Paths - Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Is it worth me keeping the 2002 LDPs Chart now that information is going on the website and you have published the UK Trailwalker’s Handbook?
A. Yes, you can use them to complement each other. Many of the 2009 UK Trailwalker’s Handbook routes are shown on the Chart, with all the waymarked routes included along with other significant routes. If a route was in the 2002 Handbook Seventh Edition it will display a ‘Handbook/Chart ID’ on the path information page. In the 2009 Trailwalker book, the routes have letter codes not numbers, and some major routes are shown on the regional maps in this book.
The Chart is still available from the LDWA, Harvey Maps and other suppliers and remains helpful for route selection and planning. The 2002 Handbook is becoming difficult to source, though a few copies may be found in bookshops and used copies are available online. The LDWA no longer supplies the 2002 Handbook. This website provides similar information online in an updated and expanded form.
Neither the Chart or 2002 Handbook show routes after their original research was completed in 2001/2002, nor any re-routing or changes that have occurred since then. You should use the most up to date information to plan your walk in detail. The 2009 Trailwalker book includes the more recent paths.
A. Use our Long Distance Path Chart to see many of the major routes on a full UK map and make an initial shortlist selection. This website and the companion UK Trailwalker's Handbook, which includes regional trail maps, will then help you get information on routes you shortlist. Then get full details and maps for the routes you chose. If you don’t have a Chart you can use the area search facilities in the Searchable Database and this will include recent routes: the Chart does not include routes since 2001/2002 nor most unwaymarked routes but for some of these we provide track files useful for members with digital mapping. You can also see mapping on this website and plan a route using linking paths. Use the Show Connected Paths button on the path pages.
You will need to use the Search by Path and choose 'Passes Through Cumbria' in the Area box and click Search. That will return a list of all LDPs that start, pass through or finish in Cumbria. Or use the map based search option for the region of interest.
Use the Advanced Search option and tick the box for 'Canal' and click search. You could also use the Search by Path and enter ‘canal’ in the Path Name box and click Search. Either will return a list. A similar Search for Publication will provide many canal walk publications. Or use the UK Trailwalker’s Handbook, as this includes route attributes such as canal walks, coastal walks, etc.
No, you only need a web browser, such as Internet Explorer, and you obviously need an Internet connection. If you are accessing websites like this one already, you have what is needed. All the database queries are run on the computer server that holds the database so do not require software on your PC/Mac. If you download files, you will need the appropriate software to open them.
Click on the Streetmap button in the path information page to open a new window in Streetmap and see a small scrollable segment of an OS map: Landranger (1: 25,000 scale) map or a street or road map or aerial photograph (select the option you want on the Streetmap page). Use the back button to return. The Streetmap (latest) site shows a much larger map area than their previous site that is still available as an option, and the maps can now be dragged to follow a route. Remember that routes shown on OS mapping are named and marked with red diamonds on Landranger maps (not all ‘On OS’ routes are marked on Landranger maps) and with green diamonds on Explorer maps.
The new Streetmap site uses Mercator projections so the scale varies slightly across the maps. There are FAQs on the new Streetmap site on the Help and Support tab explaining this and the other features.
The Streetmap website also provides a search window that accepts full GRs as well as postcodes or place names. The default view is based on road maps: the icons on the top left of the map give options for changing to OS Landranger or aerial photography, or possibly a hybrid where the map is overlaid. To revert click the map icon again.
Also provided on the Streetmap page are zooming facilities to street map scale as well as driving (and now even walking!) directions and information on local facilities (railway, tube and petrol stations, cash points, wi-fi hot hotspots, and with the ‘more’ button, post offices, schools, health care, TICs etc) and on the lower screen, weather forecasts and lat/long coordinates. Streetmap is a commercial map website and includes sponsored links to some hotels and businesses.
As an alternative to Streetmap if you want to see an Explorer (1:25,000) scale map for this or another location for which you have a GR, the Ordnance Survey (OS) website enables this using their free Get A Map pages - you have to accept an agreement to use this (these segments are free for you to use, but may not be used for financial gain). You need the ‘full’ OS Grid Reference first, including the two prefix letters (in the form given in the route details on this LDPs site and also in the Handbook). If you input these to the GetaMap search screen (if you see them on the route page or have them in another document you can copy/paste it) and ensure the scale is at maximum, it will bring up a small map segment at 1:25,000 scale. You can then zoom and scroll.
If you don’t know the two grid letters but have the six figures, there is a coarse grid of the letters available on the OS site as part of a section explaining the GR system and you can download a free leaflet.
A: Handbook 7th Edition or HB7 is the 2002 Long Distance Walkers Handbook 7th Edition. This has now been replaced by the UK Trailwalker’s Handbook.
The 2002 Handbook is becoming difficult to source, though a few copies may be found in bookshops and used copies are available online. The LDWA no longer supplies the 2002 Handbook and has no plans for a reprint of the same edition. This website provides similar information online in an updated and expanded form.
For an explanation of routes now available online click here. This also explains how to use the Handbook in conjunction with this site, if you have a copy. Routes in the Handbook have almost all been updated for display to users.
A: Publications listed on this website include paper publications such as books and leaflets, maps such as OS and Harvey maps, digital maps, and numerous websites. Most paper publications cover a single route in detail; most OS maps cover a part or all of several routes; websites can cover one or many routes with some providing descriptions of the route and leaflets online, and many publishers and route promoters now have websites. Downloadable files are also included on some routes. These include route descriptions and digital mapping track files. To use the track files you will need the relevant digital maps from the same supplier, e.g. Tracklogs route files will open with Tracklogs maps. Many of the local authority and other websites we link to now supply route leaflets free as downloadable files.
A: We list all the maps that cover or show a route and you may not need to buy all of them. You may have some of them already. Some maps overlap meaning you will necessarily not need all the maps: this will also depend on how much additional area you want to see, to allow for leaving the route for say accommodation, or for errors in route finding. The route page will indicate if the route is marked with the 'diamond' symbols on OS mapping. For some routes there are alternative stripmaps that cover the route on a single sheet or on fewer sheets than if you use OS mapping, but you should check the scale as they may not be so detailed as the Explorer mapping. Public libraries in the UK can loan OS Landranger maps if you are a library user – you may need to reserve maps in advance.
A: The main need is for volunteers to help update route and publication data. It can typically take an hour or two to update a route, more for the more complex routes. If you can spare some time to help on an ongoing basis, or just want to update your own route or one you know, there is a simple process to do this and you will then see the results of your updates on the site. Please Contact Us and we will send you details. It helps if you have local knowledge of a route or have walked it, or have walked in an area, but this is not necessary. It also helps to have an Internet connection as much LDP data is now online but is spread across very many sites. Our role is to assemble it and make it available to our members and to other walkers that enquire about LDPs. For more information see About the LDPs Team.
A: We hold all the detailed data in an organised collection called a database and this is on the same computer that drives the whole site, so to use it you only need your ordinary ‘browser’ that you already have, such as Internet Explorer or Firefox. To make use of all the information, including the downloads, you do need to be an LDWA Member. To find the items of data you want, you use the search screens (such as Find Paths and Find Publications) and specify what you are looking for. This will return a customised answer, either one item in detail, or a list of several where you can select one for its details. Where items have some text highlighted you can click on it for more information, e.g. a publisher's contact details. For detailed instructions, see the Find LDP Information pages.
Because you can often find information much more quickly this way than with a book – in a few seconds - and you can specify several search criteria at the same time, enabling searches that would take a long time to do with a book. For example to find ‘all routes passing through Devon’ with a book would involve looking up each route’s areas one by one and making a list; similarly to find routes included on a particular OS map, while a ‘database’ can do this with queries that use relationships within the data, once it is organised. Books only provide a limited range of ‘views’ of the data, when you may need a different combination to answer your question from what they chose to include.
There are other benefits. Having a database makes it easier for us to check information by running our own searches, and to maintain consistency as each item of data is ideally only input once. With a database we can update data from day to day when we find it has changed, whereas a book is a snapshot in time and it very quickly becomes out of date. As soon as we update it you can see it, free, from anywhere you can get an Internet connection. There are also no space constraints with a database but a book is always limited by price and size. In summary an online database is the best primary solution for ‘dynamic’, related, reference data like this. Once the data was updated and more volunteer time was available again we were able to produce the 2009 UK Trailwalker’s Handbook from the database.
The book can be used in a complementary way alongside the website.
For more details see About the LDPs Team.
A: If your route qualifies as an LDP – see What is an LDP – please send us details of it and your own contact details using our Contact Us page. We can send you a proforma to complete if you request it. If your data for a route or publication is out of date, send us an update using Contact Us. New information can also be included in our members’ magazine, Strider, that also carries book reviews, and we can add significant news items to the LDPs News pages on this website.
A. We can help publicise your route on this website and in our members’ magazine, Strider. Please Contact Us with details.
A. There is no charge for a normal inclusion of your route data in our standard format.
A: We are currently not listing individually managed and promoted accommodation on this site, such as b&bs, though we know they are very useful to walkers and we therefore do provide some general tips on and web links useful for obtaining accommodation. There are two reasons. Firstly unless we list a huge number of providers, probably several thousand, there is little chance of a user finding an address at the right location and with a vacancy at the right time. Secondly, we do not currently have the resources to keep up-to-date the details of a large number of accommodation providers; our priority is providing route information. However if you still wish to send us your details we can hold it on file. If you send us details please indicate if you are an LDWA member, whether you would in principle pay for a listing and provide a reciprocal link from your website and also list the LDPs you are near. If you are not already aware, The Ramblers do offer a paid listing service for walkers with nearby LDPs included.
Some publications are free from their supplier using the address we list or can be downloaded.
As a user of this website, you can buy online some publications (those with ISBNs that are still available) and all Ordnance Survey (OS) Landranger and Explorer series using links – look for the ‘Buy Online’ link next to the publication name or map number and click it to go over to the Amazon website to buy online. You benefit from the discounted prices Amazon offer on many of the items. When you complete such a purchase the LDWA also benefits from a commission payment. When you make your purchase you do so as a customer of Amazon and you have no contractual relationship with the LDWA, nor can we resolve any problems you may have with the supply. For the Amazon terms of business see the links on their site.
To make multiple purchases, such as a full map list for a route, put the first item into the online cart, and please then use the back button to return to this site to add the next. The Amazon cart remains open until you check-out, or close it without a purchase. Be careful to check the items in the cart before completing a purchase.
We provide map lists for each LDP that covers all of each route. If you simply want to buy a map unrelated to an LDP, e.g., for an event or group walk, please use the Buy a Map page, from which individual maps may be selected and purchased via Amazon.
If a publication is not listed for online sale, or you just want to buy it elsewhere, a supplier is listed with contact details, though there are often others as well we do not list. Many of the publications can be bought through normal bookshops; the ISBN (book number) is useful to bookshops. If you want an alternative map supplier, see Maps for a list of some alternative suppliers.
If you cannot source your publication using these options, please let us know. A web search using one of the major search engines may help as some items are still available even when officially ‘out-of-print’ or you can try an online sales site to buy or request the item.
The prices we list are normally the item price from the listed supplier and we also give their p&p charge for orders by post. These item prices will often be a recommended retail price (RRP) that a bookshop will commonly charge. You can use these figures as a reference to judge the ‘buy online' prices to which you may need to add p&p. Amazon will normally offer a substantial discount to the RRP for items it currently stocks, but will charge a small sourcing fee otherwise. Many ‘out-of-print’ items can still be obtained in this way. Secondhand copies are also sold by Amazon but these may involve a substantial premium to the RRP. If you require quick delivery you will need to use a premium cost delivery level when checking out. Delivery is free if you exceed a threshold figure (currently £5) and use the normal delivery service, so you may find it better value to buy several items at once.
A. Use ‘Find Publications’ and select ‘Publication Type’ as ‘Download’ to return a list of files to download and click each to download. When you download a file, you may need to select options to ‘Save to Disc’ or ‘Open file’. The directory to which files are saved by default depends on the options set on your PC. To open downloaded files you will need the relevant software, such as a word processor for RTF/Word files or a digital mapping package (Tracklogs for .trl files) or a PDF reader (Adobe Acrobat, available online free).
A. The LDPs make use of the many existing footpaths, each linking them to make up a linear or circular route. Around 40% of the LDPs have their own special waymark symbols, such as the familiar 'acorn' on the National Trails. The promoter of the route must get permission for this marking and normally maintains the route marks. Ordnance Survey maps show many of the waymarked routes and some others.
LDPs use mostly public rights of way, but may use other footpaths where walkers are permitted, mostly 'permissive' paths and, in future, also routes on the new 'Access Land'. Local highway authorities are responsible legally for maintaining the surface of the rights of way themselves, ensuring they are free of undergrowth and obstructions, and for recording them on so-called 'definitive maps'. Rights of way normally have markings, yellow arrows for footpaths open only to walkers, blue for bridleways where cyclists and horses may also go, and red for byways open to all traffic, though byways are often only negotiable by off-road vehicles. On restricted byways, no motorised traffic is allowed.
Maintaining stiles and gates is primarily the landowner's responsibility. The local authority contributes 25% of the cost in certain cases and more if it wishes and if the owner fails to maintain them the authority can do the job and recover the cost from them.
In Scotland the situation is different with a tradition of freedom of access to all land: the public can use most paths without them being rights of way. See LDPs in Scotland and Ireland.
For detailed information on the types of footpath see The Ramblers website.
See LDWA’s role for LDPs.
A. The LDPs Information Service has been developed with a strong focus on providing data on this website. There are a number of reasons for this change of emphasis:
- The Internet now provides an effective medium with which to provide changing information such as the LDPs data, as it allows the latest information to be displayed together and viewed at any time, as well as enabling new routes to be added.
- With an ever and continuously growing number of LDPs, the Internet is an 'elastic' and 'free' means of providing information. Editing and restructuring of information to fit the confines of a book are no longer required.
- The Internet enables graphics to be added to the web pages and external web links to be included, including to useful mapping and services sites.
- Providing the LDPs information on the website can bring it and the LDWA's work on LDPs to a much wider audience than was possible with a book and chart with relatively small sales, for example to those surfing the web. A growing number of members (and other potential users) now have Internet access.
- The detailed LDPs data is held in an online database, enabling rapid searching in a variety of different ways that would not be possible with a book.
- Many LDP routes and publishers of route guides and maps now have their own websites, that can easily be linked directly from this website, and increasingly route descriptions, leaflets and accommodation lists are downloadable from these sites. Web links enabling purchasing of maps and books are included here, with links from the lists in each route page to Amazon. As well as providing a 'one-stop shop' and giving users discounted prices, this also benefits the LDWA through commission on sales.
- Producing a Handbook, for which all the routes data must be checked over a compressed timescale to claim it as a 'definitive directory', was beyond the time available from the volunteers until 2008. A progressive updating was easier and data can be marked with an update date to help with managing the updating process. In the past, the Handbook was an up-to-date source when published, but it rapidly became out of date over its four-year cycle, with rapidly falling sales, and it could not of course include any new routes. With the website, routes can be updated after information becomes available, new routes added, and an ongoing longer-term rolling programme progressively updates all the information on each route. See the UK Trailwalker’s Handbook page for the new book and its relationship with the online data.
- In the past, in between Handbooks, members wanting to find all the updates for a given route or new routes that had been covered in various LDPs News features would have to manually search all their past Striders, assuming that they had kept them, and newer members would have few or no past Striders so could not do this.
- The information on this site is now accessible to all LDWA members with Internet access at any time, not just to those, a minority, that had elected to buy a Handbook. With libraries providing free Internet access this is now within reach of most members.
A. Each section of this website contains separate Frequently Asked Questions pages, so if you haven't found what you want here please try one of the following:
- LDWA Frequently Asked Questions
- Membership Frequently Asked Questions
- Events Frequently Asked Questions
- Local Groups Frequently Asked Questions
- Long Distance Paths Frequently Asked Questions
- Hillwalkers Register Frequently Asked Questions
- National Trails Register Frequently Asked Questions
- Other Frequently Asked Questions
If you still cannot find the answer to your question then please contact the relevant member of the National Committee.