Newsletter > Newsletter archive > January 2015

January 2015

Turn-by-turn on our footpaths?
Those of us who delight in dotted green or red lines on Ordnance Survey maps will know that real life footpaths don’t necessarily follow precisely the route marked on the map. When Ordnance Survey originally gathered information about our footpaths they simply asked local representatives to draw the lines onto paper maps, and some were more precise about the job than others. There’s a footpath on the fell near us which is plotted a good two hundred metres out from where people actually walk. Someone decided to draw it where they thought it might go, or where someone told them it went, rather than go to the effort of checking it on foot.

Most ‘off-road’ public rights of way have never been surveyed by Ordnance Survey in the way that our driven roads are. Some councils have gathered more accurate data on footpaths and bridleways in their care and many walkers have contributed to ‘crowd-sourced’ projects like OpenStreetMap. However this data has not been validated by Ordnance Survey and is unlikely to find its way onto any OS map.

Some might question whether this actually matters. The existence of a right of way on a map tells you that you can walk between one point and another and, providing the route is obvious enough on the ground, you don’t need a super-accurate representation on the map. On the other hand, with the growing popularity of GPS, some might like the confidence of knowing that they are following the permitted route or even of having ‘turn by turn’ directions like those given by a ‘sat-nav’ in the car.

Some pressure is being put on the Ordnance Survey to start plotting ‘off-road’ public rights of way and making that data available to consumers. We would be interested to know if you think that would be useful or, at a time when our national mapping agency needs to keep its costs down, a waste of time and resources. We have put together a very short survey – just one page long – so you can give us your response to the idea. Please take a few moments to fill it in – it is entirely anonymous as we just want to know whether there is a groundswell of opinion one way or the other. Thank you!

Hidden Britain continues to be uncovered
We continue to publish little bits of ‘hidden Britain’ in each week’s The Big Issue magazine. In the past few weeks we have featured a whole field’s worth of prehistoric standing stones on the Isle of Arran, a seated statue of Alan Turing in a small park in Manchester, the site of Ordnance Survey’s baseline meridian in the north of England and a man buried upside down on Box Hill in Surrey. Do pick up a copy of the magazine if you can as it’s a good read and a good cause too. You can catch up on ‘Hidden Britain’ features on the website if you have missed getting the paper magazine during the week, and please tell us of quirky places that you think we should cover in the series.

Walking on the other side of ‘the party island’
Ibiza may not immediately spring to mind when thinking about a walking destination, but get away from the party crowds in the west on Inntravel’s new holiday in the Mediterranean, and you’ll be richly rewarded with a surprising array of fabulous inland and coastal trails.

In the quiet north-east corner of the island, winding paths through shady carob, olive and almond groves lead to timeless stone villages basking beneath a warming sun, with the promise of secluded coves and deserted beaches to discover as you meander along the rocky shore.

It may be known as ‘The White Island’ – perhaps after the whitewashed houses or the salt that was traditionally panned here for centuries – but it is dominated by brilliant colours, from the turquoise sea and deep blue sky, to green pine forests and the rich red soil. Just a short ferry ride away, Ibiza’s exclusive neighbour, Formentera, offers walking of a different kind – past tranquil lagoons where flamingos feed, and along long white sand-spits that make for some of the best unspoiled beaches in the Mediterranean.

For a wide choice of walking holidays across Europe this spring summer and autumn, visit or speak to Inntravel’s expert team on 01653 617034.

Ibiza’s Hidden Charms
- Self-guided, hotel-to-hotel walking holiday with your luggage transported
- Prices from £795pp, inc 7 nights’ B&B accommodation, 3 dinners, 2 picnics, detailed route guides & maps
- Flights extra (direct to Ibiza from several UK regional airports)
- Available 15 April to 15 June & 15 September to 31 October 2015

Walking holidays in the Pyrenees
Hike Pyrenees 2015 brochure is now available full of great walking holidays in the Spanish Pyrenees. They specialise in personal, small group holidays and offer both guided and self guided options. They're surrounded by spectacular scenery and the highest peaks in the range.

New for 2015: Riglos & Alquezar. On this holiday you hike amongst the towering cliffs of Riglos and the canyons of Alquezar. It is a two centre holiday in the Pre-Pyrenees which has perfect weather for early season hiking in April and May, and you will be staying in wonderful accommodation in an area steeped with history.

Order the Hike Pyrenees Summer 2015 brochure from their website for more information.

Alpujarra walking holidays with Chris Stewart
As a walking holiday destination, the Alpujarra (the southern slopes of the Sierra Nevada mountains in Andalucia) ticks all the boxes. It’s wild and beautiful, untamed and unspoilt, with a great variety of walks, from high mountain hikes, to gentler routes through orchards and white villages. The region is a haven for wildlife – there are eagles, ibex and wild flowers in abundance -  and a landscape steeped in history from the time of the Moors.

With a gem of a B&B (Casa Ana) as your base, who better to guide you than Chris Stewart, author of best-seller 'Driving Over Lemons'? He’ll take you on his favourite walks, invite you to lunch at his farm, and entertain you with many stories about life in the Alpujarra.

The next holidays are 9-16 May, 12-19 September and 24-31 October, with a price from 1185 euros including 7 nights bed and breakfast, picnics and lunches, dinners, wines, excursions, local transport and guides. For further details contact Anne Hunt at or see ‘Walking holidays with Chris Stewart’ on the Casa Ana website.

Charity events
You can support the important services of local hospices in and around London by signing up to the St Christopher’s Fun Walk 2015. Choose your walk of 3, 5, 8 or 11 miles in the countryside of Keston and Downe. For more information visit or contact Georgie Grant on 020 8768 4684 or g.grant@stchristophers.or​ for paper entry forms.

The Seven Sisters South Downs Way Walk is an event suited to all the family, with a choice of distances from the 8.7mile ‘Saunter’, 15.3 mile ‘Half Hike’ to the more demanding and undulating 25.3 miles. The routes are over footpaths, signposted bridleways and quiet country roads in the newly formed South Downs National Park, East Sussex. This is a Fire Services Association organised walk and you can raise money for a charity if you wish, but it's not obligatory. More information including an entry form at

2015 Wainwright Memorial Lecture
Filmmaker and photographer Terry Abraham will deliver the 2015 Wainwright Memorial Lecture on Saturday 17th October at Rheged near Penrith, Cumbria. Terry Abraham shares with Alfred Wainwright a love and passion for the Lake District landscape and articulates his love of the fells through the lens of a camera. Since being made redundant 4 years ago, Terry fulfilled his dream of capturing the British countryside at its very best on video. He devoted much of 2012-2014 to making his award-winning film 'Life of a Mountain: Scafell Pike'.

Terry is a wild camper and spent many nights out on the fells, enabling him to record sights that elude the majority of hill walkers. An abridged version of the film was shown on BBC4 a few weeks ago. Tickets for the lecture will be available direct from Rheged (01768 868000) from 1st April.

Member news
To celebrate 10 years of providing walking holidays in the Lot department of France, Richard and Alex Johnson are offering a special reduction to members for their walking holiday package. The normal price for 7 nights B&B and 6 evening dinners at their renovated farmhouse set in the glorious French countryside is 410 euros per person. Members can take advantage of a reduced price of 390 euros per person if they book their 2015 holiday before 31st March. See details of the walking package at and to obtain the reduction just mention ‘Offer WW2015’ when booking.