Maps for Walkers
Maps are available both in paper and in digital forms.You can buy maps online from this site and maps are listed on each long distance path (LDP) route’s page and walking event page with direct ‘buy online’ links. (Event and group walk maps are listed only if the data has been provided by the organiser.)
The LDWA provides to members a library of digital trackfiles for most of the LDPs in Great Britain, for free download. If you walk LDPs, why not Join Online, subscriptions are low.
If you are walking an LDP, for an overview of the main LDP network, use the LDWA / Harvey Maps Long Distance Path Chart, a coloured UK map showing the LDP path network, in conjunction with this website and the UK Trailwalker’s Handbook. The Chart is useful for route planning and selecting an LDP to walk and it includes E-Routes in the UK. The Chart shows the UK LDPs network as it was in 2002 but does not include new routes since then. It was researched by the LDWA. The Handbook dates from 2009 and is now out of print in paper form, but an e-book format is still on sale.
A large-scale map, such as an Ordnance Survey (OS) or Harvey map, should always be carried when walking any LDP or event. Each LDP route entry or event page includes its OS map numbers and lists other maps (when the organiser has provided a map list). OS mapping covers the whole of Great Britain at several scales, with the Landranger and Explorer series of most use to walkers.
from the OS
permission of OS)
The Landranger 1:50,000 scale maps are good for initial planning and adequate for most route-finding purposes. They include footpaths, with some LDPs named, and contours but not field boudaries. For those who like more detail, including field boundaries and contours at closer intervals, the Ordnance Survey Explorer 1:25,000 series (that includes and updates the older Outdoor Leisure series maps that cover national parks, some of whose boundaries have changed) now cover all of England, Wales and Scotland. The routes of many major LDPs are marked on these maps. The new Access Land is shown on new editions of OS Explorer mapping. A rugged version of the Explorer and of the Landranger maps, called ‘Active’ is now available with full coverage – see below. Official guidebooks to the English National Trails contain extracts from OS maps and these may suffice if detours from the route are not contemplated.
Both the Landranger and Outdoor Leisure/Explorer paper maps now each come with free downloadable digital mapping. This is accessed online from the OS website using a unique code provided on each map. These newer paper maps have a 'blue flash' download logo shown below on their covers and this website lists and sells these maps. There is a brief introduction to using digital mapping below.
If you would like a customised centred OS map, the OS Custom Made Maps product provides a tailored service based on both their Landranger and Explorer series mapping and if you want an unfolded map this is an option, as the OS paper maps are folded. The centred maps are supplied by the OS online and through other suppliers and are inkjet printed so the paper and print appearance is different from their usual maps.
Other publishers have produced dedicated maps for certain LDPs and walking areas. Of these Harvey Maps have the most extensive LDPs catalogue and their mapping also covers most major walking areas at both 1: 40,000 scale and, in their Superwalker series, at 1: 25,000 scale. Harvey Maps for LDPs are in stripmap form with a number of panels covering the route on a single sheet. Significant deviations from the route may take you off these maps. These maps also include local and route background information. Waterproof and rugged versions are often available – the information will say so if this is the case.
We list any other specialist LDPs maps that we know of on the LDPs pages, but they may not all have online purchase links. These include canal maps from GEOProjects. For a list of map suppliers we cover, use the Search for Supplier and select 'Map Supplier'.
Waterproof OS maps are now available as the ’Active’ format of all the OS Explorer/Outdoor Leisure Maps and Landranger Maps, an encapsulated map that is tough, durable and weatherproof. The maps are covered in a protective plastic coating that can be written on, so your favourite routes can be easily highlighted. They are much more costly but more durable and may obviate the need for a map case, though they are bulkier and heavier. Aqua3 and Guidepost listed below make and supply laminated OS maps and Stanfords supply waterproof maps, as well as paper maps. OS Explorer and Landranger Active maps can be bought on this site. SplashMaps supplies a range of waterproof and 'wearable' maps using OS, Harvey and OpenStreetMap data for Britain and makes special event maps.
The LDP route information pages on this website includes OS Landranger and Explorer LDP map lists and these may be bought online using the Amazon purchase links there in some cases at discounted prices, with the best value if you buy enough maps to qualify for free postage - see FAQ's - How do I obtain path maps and publications?
The LDWA does not stock or supply OS maps direct via its own merchandise shop.
Maps are widely available online, by phone and through local book and outdoor shops. Major suppliers include:
Ordnance Survey - (03456 05 05 05)
Amazon - LDWA gains commission only if the product links on this website are used
Aqua3 - (01433 621779)
Cordee Ltd - (01455 611185)
Elstead Maps - (01458 251572)
Guidepost - (0121 451 1595 and guidepost.uk.com)
The Map Shop - (0800 08454080 - UK only - and email@example.com)
Mapstore - is the online shop for National Map Centre (01634 238 238)
Map and Compass - (0844 504 9898)
Stanfords - (020 7836 1321)
Dash4it - (01209 31 07 68)
For a wider list use the Search for Supplier and select 'Map Supplier'.
Digital format mapping is available for the OS Explorer/Outdoor Leisure and Landranger maps, and some Harvey maps. Mapping files can be large and may be provided in alternative formats: as downloads, on at higher cost as a USB drive, or on a CD or DVD, to install on your PC. It can be linked with a GPS enabling waypoints to be transferred, both to the GPS, and once the route is walked, back from the GPS to show the actual route taken. Lists of waypoints making up a route can be shared with users of similar software and these may be included in route publications or on websites. As described above, both the Landranger and Outdoor Leisure/Explorer paper maps now each come with free downloadable digital mapping.
If the GPS can display maps the current position can be overlaid. Alternatively maps can displayed on a pocket PC or Smartphone. Compared to a paper map the small screen size naturally limits the area viewed.
Digital maps typically enable route planning by tracing a route, annotating points or routes, estimating distances and times, showing gradient profiles and simulated ‘fly-throughs’ of a route, and selecting and printing of selected areas of a map with optionally, a route overlaid. When printing, the printed size can also be varied for readability using the facilities of the PC or the printer to enlarge or reduce from the normal map scale.
Digital maps can cover very large areas seamlessly, so scrolling is possible on the computer screen without meeting ‘edges’ as with paper maps. When buying, select an appropriate product that covers the areas you need and ensure it provides seamless scrolling if this is important to you. Single OS maps can be bought in digital format but only cover the same areas as the paper maps. Using the map lists in the route details pages you can select these maps for an LDP. Waypoint information can normally be transferred directly between different map scales if you have more than one scale of map, e.g., from Landranger to Explorer, simply by zooming the map or by selecting another scale. Searches by place or location name may be provided. Aerial photography or satellite views may be included.
Digital maps require significant PC, tablet or mobile device storage space and can be demanding on computing power and for 3D effects a suitable graphics card may be required. Check the system requirements before purchasing and test the software using a free trial download or free sample CD on the device you are planning to use or to buy. Some products involve compressed map files with a reduction in map sharpness and graphic quality, but with less storage space and computing power required and possibly at lower cost. Larger scale maps will involve more information and so larger storage space. Split screen displays can show, say, topographic maps and aerial photography side by side.
Digital mapping for Britain from Ordnance Survey is now available at a much more reasonable cost, with the Explorer mapping reduced in price in 2014, so that full British mapping can be bought for figures in the range £100-400 depending on quality and supplier. Higher resolution versions of OS mapping are available at greater cost if your device or printer can make use of them. The licences are for private individual and non-commercial use and licence terms and printing limits should be checked before the mapping is used.
Although apparently expensive, remember that these maps can cover large areas and as sections can be printed again, they do not require replacing if they get wet or wear out like paper maps. Digital maps are covered by a user licence that you purchase with the map and this may allow limited numbers of copies to be printed and may include other restrictions of use. The OS map version will normally be recent but may not be the latest. If this is a concern check the map version with the supplier. Updates will not normally be supplied free and you may need to upgrade or re-purchase the same areas again: the suppliers’ websites cover upgrade fees.
As described above, downloadable digital OS mapping comes free with each paper map. In addition, it can be bought directly from a number of suppliers listed below.
As a low-cost alternative to buying digital mapping resident on your PC or tablet or phone (or as an additional option), a number of online mapping sites provide similar OS mapping as an online streamed service that may involve a small annual subscription. These services enable route plotting and transfers between a PC/Mac, tablets and smartphones, so that walkers can keep a library of their own routes. Printing may be enabled. The OS Maps service is one such service and offers a free trial. This is a browser-based service. (Microsoft Silverlight is no needed as it was on the earlier OS GetaMap service, now discontinued.) GPS suppliers such as Satmap also provide online mapping in their Xpedition subscription service that includes mapping for Great Britain and also covers a number of countries in Europe with some basic detailed mapping, as well as open-source maps worldwide. An internet connection is needed to use the maps from these streaming services, but some mapping may be downloadable to reside on the mobile device, and will then be usable without a phone signal.
Waterproof map prints can be made either by printing on waterproof paper or by laminating the printout. When printing, the quality of the printer will affect the final result and a colour printer will be needed for best effect.
Digital products vary in regional coverage and the facilities they provide but all the digital map suppliers listed below offer Landranger and Explorer coverage of Great Britain for use on a user's own devices, with the additional products identified, and sites include useful technical support feature articles online:
Anquet (0118 906 2600 and Sales@Anquet.com) Anquet Cloud account stores each map you purchase so you can always access and download your mapping. Apps available for smartphone and tablet. OS HD (660dpi) high resolution mapping option. Licence for 5 devices. National Park Series, Harvey Maps Series, Selected long distance paths strip maps.
Memory-map (0870 740 9040 and enquiry form online). Licenced for up to 5 of your devices - your PCs, mobiles or Adventurer GPS. High resolution (660dpi) HD mapping option. National Parks. Selected long distance paths strip maps. Toughprint paper for printing maps for outdoor use - waterproof, resists crumples and tears.
ISYS Outdoors (Hillwalker), (0845 166 5701 and enquiry form online). Some other products include walks, mountain ascents, photographs, music and information
Mapyx QUO (01202 621273) Includes full UK Explorer and Landranger combined bundle option and free OS Opendata mapping (Miniscale, Road Map, OS Gazetteer and County Search) and a free more detailed digital terrain model to download. Subscription service also available.
Tracklogs (Sales and queries online only.) Customised centred maps. National Parks. (Image above copyright of Tracklogs and used with permission.)
Viewranger (firstname.lastname@example.org, 01223 421356) provides digital mapping apps and maps tailored for mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. ViewRanger works by using the internal GPS built in your phone, combined with tracking, navigation and location sharing tools. The GPS location, mapping & navigation can be used even without a mobile signal. Use your maps and software on up to 4 devices, for example on a phone and on an iPad. Trail mapping for national trails is available. Skyline feature can be added to identify and label nearby peaks and features - requires device also with camera, compass and gyroscope.
RouteBuddy (email@example.com) provides digital mapping for Apple (iOS, with 'Atlas App' and Mac OS X) devices and Windows PCs. It uses the internal phone GPS, or links a GPS Bluetooth-enabled device such as a fitness tracker. Mapping is available both in trail format - to minimise the mapping area/tiles that are needed by trailwalkers - and as regional or national mapping. Trail mapping for GB national and some other long distance trails is available. Software is in either standard or Full/PRO versions, with route planning, tracking, transfer, library and sharing tools. It enables layering of road, topo and aerial maps along with user-added-data. OS and Harvey GB mapping and selected overseas mapping available. LDWA 2016 Dorset 100 Landranger custom mapping was available.
The track files provided free for LDWA members to download on this site are currently mostly available as GPX, MemoryMap and Tracklogs files. GPX files are a standard format supported by most GPSs and digital mapping software and subsription services. If you are not an LDWA member, you can Join Online and subscriptions are low.
Small areas of OS maps can be viewed online directly using online mapping websites and on this site there are click links for route start and finish points. For more information on this and using online map sites see FAQ's - How can I see on a map online of where a route starts or finishes if I don’t have the paper map?
Version: Updated April 2016 - pricing of OS GB, including 25k, and new suppliers and January 2017 - OS maps with the downloads, suppliers' contact details and linked FAQs.