The Lake District was the most popular destination in Britain for hikers during the heatwave of last summer, according to new analysis by Ordnance Survey.
The UK’s national mapping agency has assessed all the walking and cycling routes logged on its online and app mapping system and found Cumbria to have notched up the most in 2018, followed by Derbyshire and North Yorkshire. OS found that users posted the most activities in May, June and August.
Top 10 busiest regions for OS activity
- North Yorkshire
Data from OS Maps has also pinpointed Edale in the Peak District as the most popular beginning or end point for a walk. The village is well-suited for striking out onto the Pennine Way and hikes including Kinder Scout, Lose Hill and Mam Tor.
It was the summit of Snowdon, however, in North Wales which was home to the busiest square kilometre in Britain for activity. The highest peak in Wales clocked up more than 2,000 routes, the OS said, ahead of Edale in second. In third was Scafell Pike, England’s tallest mountain.
Top 10 busiest square kilometres for OS activity
- Snowdon (summit)
- Scafell Pike
- Allen Crags
- Great End/Long Pike
- Edale (Hollins Cross)
- Hope Cross
- Crookstome Hill
OS data paints a country awash with walkers and cyclists throughout 2018, with a visualisation showing the national parks of the Lakes, the Peak District and Brecon Beacons, among others, thick with logged routes. The 16 National Trails created by Natural England, such as the South Downs Way, all feature. The average length of walk on OS Maps last year was 10 miles.
“Understandably, the National Parks are the most popular places to find routes, but what is surprising is how the rest of Carmarthenshire, west of the Brecon Beacons, is one of the areas of Great Britain with the fewest recorded routes,” OS said.
Emma Stone, the head of visitor experience at the Peak District National Park, delighted in the news that Edale was the busiest beginning or end. “It’s great to hear that so many people are enjoying the UK’s original National Park. Providing great opportunities to enjoy these special landscapes is one of the reasons why National Parks exist today,” she said.
“Visitors can arrive in the village by train, which makes it really accessible and means you don’t need to worry about finding somewhere to park.”
Fairholmes, Derbyshire, was found to be the busiest end point for an activity. Hazel Earnshaw, Severn Trent site supervisor at Upper Derwent Valley, said she was not surprised. “It’s in a beautiful setting within the Peak District, with woodlands and stunning reservoirs,” she said.
“Fairholmes is set against the backdrop of the iconic Derwent Dam, where the Dambuster Squadron practiced their low-level flying for the historic Dambuster raids. It’s a great place to start or end your adventures in the Peak District National Park and offers miles of traffic free walking and cycling with amazing views over stunning countryside, all within a short drive of nearby cities Sheffield and Manchester.”
The OS Maps app was launched in 2015, with its users since clocking up more than 2.4million routes. The app allows users to see their paths on a map, including in an augmented reality setting, and mark them against points of interest and landmarks.
“To get outside as much as you can, whether that’s a short walk or bike ride around your local park, or something a little bit more adventurous, is one the best ways to enjoy physical and mental health,” said Nick Giles, managing director of Ordnance Survey Leisure.
“It’s free exercise that stimulates the senses and heals, and we are on a mission to encourage more people to get outside more often by making outdoor activity more enjoyable, accessible and safe for people of all ages and abilities.”