Skip to page content | Using this site

Member Login: Join

Long Distance Paths - Frequently Asked Questions

Is it worth me keeping or buying the 2002 Long Distance Walkers Handbook or the LDPs Chart now that information is going on the website?

I am planning a walk between two UK locations but not just on one LDP. How do I find possible routes to use?

I am going to, say, Cumbria for my holiday. How do I find which LDPs are in that area?

I want to find a list of, say, canal towpath walks. How do I search for them?

I would like to do a search that the site does not seem to allow, or need more information than I can see online. Can you help me with this?

Do I need any special software to use the LDPs website area?

How can I see on a map online where a route starts or finishes if I don’t have the paper map?

What is the ‘Handbook 7th Edition’ and for which routes can I see data online?

What sort of publications do you list?

Do I need to buy all of the OS maps you list for each route?

How can I help with improving the LDPs site?

How does the LDPs area of this website work?

Why have you organised it this way rather than as in a book?

Publishers and Route Promoters: My route is not listed on your website or my data is out of date. How do I ask you to fix this?

Publishers and Route Promoters: I am developing a new LDP – how can you help me?

What do you charge to have my information added to this site?

Accommodation Providers: I offer accommodation to walkers on or near an LDP or a walking event. Can you list this for me with a link on your site?

Walking Support/Holiday Providers: My company offers services on at least one full trail (LDP) you list; can you link us on your site?

How do I obtain path maps and publications?

How can I find which route pages include downloadable files, such as tracklogs and route descriptions?

Who is responsible for maintaining these routes - e.g. putting up waymarkers and dealing with blocked paths, etc?

Why have you been focusing on providing LDPs information online?

Have we answered your question?


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.


Q. I am planning a walk between two UK locations but not just on one LDP. How do I find possible routes to use?

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.


Q. I am going to, say, Cumbria for my holiday. How do I find which LDPs are in that area?

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.


Q. I want to find a list of, say, canal towpath walks. How do I search for them?

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.


Q: I would like to do a search that the site does not seem to allow, or need more information than I can see online. Can you help me with this?

A: Send us your question using the Contact Us form and we may be able to help you as we can do other searches that are not included in the basic search screens you can see. We can also include all the last 2002 Handbook data in searches, though as it may be out of date we do not include it on the site visibly for you to use, but it is loaded on the database. There may be copyright issues depending on what search you need but we will advise you if that is the case. If you are an LDWA member your query will get priority over non-members if you quote your membership number. If you are a commercial organisation or a local authority, etc, we may charge if significant work is involved; if so we will advise you in advance. This LDPs site is aimed at helping individuals to walk LDPs by providing a free information service on a self-help basis with research by unpaid LDWA volunteers. If you need additional information we hold a library of over 1000 LDPs publications that we can access, including some items now out of print. Please see Terms of Use.


Q. Do I need any special software to use the LDPs website area?

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.


Q. How can I see on a map online where a route starts or finishes if I don’t have the paper map?

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 (select the option you want on the Streetmap page via the zoom option). Use the back button to return. The Streetmap (latest) site shows a much larger map area than their previous site, 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 Streetmap site uses Mercator projections so the scale varies slightly across the maps.

The Streetmap website also provides a search window that accepts full GRs as well as postcodes or place names. The default view we link to is based on Explorer maps: the zoom options change the map scale to OS Landranger or street mapping. There are FAQs on the new Streetmap site explaining the Search options. Streetmap also has a converter from GRs to postcodes. Streetmap is a commercial map website and may include sponsored links to some hotels and businesses.

To identify which OS map (Landranger or Explorer) covers a location, OS provide a map-based tool online.

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.

If you want driving directions, many sites provide these including google (maps app).


Q: What is the ‘Handbook 7th Edition’ and for which routes can I see data online?

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.


Q: What sort of publications do you list?

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.


Q: Do I need to buy all of the OS maps you list for each route?

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.


Q: How can I help with improving the LDPs site?

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.


Q: How does the LDPs area of this website work?

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.


Q: Why have you organised it this way rather than as in a book?

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.


Q: Publishers and Route Promoters: My route is not listed on your website or my data is out of date. How do I ask you to fix this?

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.


Q: Publishers and Route Promoters: I am developing a new LDP – how can you help me?

A. We can help publicise your route on this website and in our members’ magazine, Strider. Please Contact Us with details.


Q. What do you charge to have my information added to this site?

A. There is no charge for a normal inclusion of your route data in our standard format.


Q: Accommodation Providers: I offer accommodation to walkers on or near an LDP  or a walking event. Can you list this for me with a link on your site?

If you operate accommodation in a UK location that may be useful to walkers, we can link you to walkers looking for places to stay in your area. Most of the walking trails (LDPs) and organised walks (group led walks, challenge walks and walking festivals) we list already include their location information on our database, so we link this with your accommodation's location to find and display the trails or walks you are near. When walkers and other users of our website view one of our trails or walks pages, they will then see your accommodation listed and located on our mapping. We only offer this service to two main classes of accommodation: budget hostels (including bunkhouses and camping barns in the UK) and selected online-bookable accommodation (such as B&Bs, hotels and self-catering in England and Wales). If you are a budget hostel and are not already listed, Contact Us with your details. If you are not in the a budget hostel category, to qualify for inclusion here you must both be assessed and rated under the national quality scheme and also use the Guestlink online booking e-commerce facility. In England, this is the Visit England Quality in Tourism Quality Schemes - QIT with its familiar 'Rose' quality mark, and in Wales, the parallel scheme awarding 'star ratings' is the Visit Wales Quality in Tourism grading. If you already qualify, you should already be listed on this website - see Search for Accommodation. If you are not on Guestlink, please contact them for registration details, and once you are registered you should appear on our listings.

When a customer books and pays to stay with you via the Guestlink booking panels shown on our site, the LDWA gains a small commission payment that assists with the maintenance of this online facility. The customer books with you, via Guestlink as a booking agent, under your terms and conditions The LDWA has no role other than to bring you customers. Customers don't need to be LDWA members to make a booking. The LDWA website is well used by walkers; the majority of the 10,000+ pages viewed daily on this website are seen by walkers (both LDWA members and non-members) looking for trails to walk, or for challenge walking events and Walking Festivals (Other Walking Events). Many of them make overnight or extended trips away from home, so need to find accommodation. Once you are listed here, your accommodation will have its own page on our website, so you can provide your potential customers with information about the upcoming walks and the existing promoted trails near your location by including this page link on your website. This page-link url is stable and unique to you, but the page's walking-related content updates whenever we add new walks and trails to our database. Linking is free and we welcome such links. For examples, use the Search for Accommodation screens and see how similar accommodation is presented - for each there is a map facility showing walking trails and organised walks near its location. There are other benefits open to you, such as registering under the related 'Welcome' schemes ('Walkers Welcome and Cyclists Welcome' QIT in England and Wales) as well as listings in the Hudson's published paper directories such as Walkers and Cyclists Welcome. On this website there are already about 3800 bookable places to stay listed - when not join them? If you operate a holiday company providing walkers' services rather than accommodation only, see Listing My Walking Support Company.


Q. Walking Support/Holiday Providers: My company offers services on at least one full trail (LDP) you list; can you link us on your site?

If you operate a holiday company that provides full trail support on at least one UK trail in our List of Paths you may qualify for a listing on this website. Contact Us listing the LDPs you support and the nature of the services for each trail separately, such as baggage transfers, self-guided walking or guided walking on the trails. Once listed, your services will appear on our information pages for each path. Currently the listing is free and we welcome back-links to our site. When you add or change the services or LDPs you support you will need to Contact Us again with updates. We will also need your contact details for the public to use to find out about your services and book with you, including your address and email and phone numbers and website. LDWA does not provide a booking service for support providers, only for qualifying accommodation. See Listing My Accommodation above.


Q: How do I obtain path maps and publications?

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's terms of business please 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 and it lists other suppliers of both new and used items who use Amazon to market their items. Many ‘out-of-print’ items can still be obtained in this way. Secondhand copies sold by or through Amazon may involve a substantial premium to the RRP. If you require quick delivery from Amazon you will need to use a premium cost delivery level when checking out. Delivery is free from Amazon if you exceed a threshold figure (£10 from January 2014) and use the normal delivery service, so you may find it better value to buy several items at once. Amazon provides a returns service but this is seldom used by customers referring from the LDWA website.


Q. How can I find which route pages include downloadable files, such as tracklogs and route descriptions?

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).


Q. Who is responsible for maintaining these routes - e.g. putting up waymarkers and dealing with blocked paths etc?

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. Local authorities keep paths open and walkable by dealing with blocked paths. Path problems should always be reported in the first instance to the local authority public rights of way section, that is responsible legally for maintaining the surface of the rights of way themselves, ensuring they are free of undergrowth and obstructions. For information on the local authority, DirectGov provides contact details and web links – look under the Directories tab. You can also report path problems to the Ramblers.

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.


Q. Why have you been focusing on providing LDPs information online?

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.
  • The Internet enables file downloads to be added, such as GPS track files that can also be used with PC-based digital mapping.
  • 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.

Q. Have we answered your question?

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:

If you still cannot find the answer to your question then please contact the relevant member of the National Committee.