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Guidebooks and Maps for Hiking in England

Pauline Kenny

Because walking/hiking is popular in England, there are many resources available for the tourist - excellent maps and walking guidebooks for most regions of the country.

Walking Guidebooks

The two best publishers of walking guides for the United Kingdom are Jarrold (Pathfinder Guides) and Goldeneye. We have used both types of walking guidebooks for the Cotswolds and I recommend getting both. If you are only going to get one type, get the Pathfinder Guides. If you want a variety of walks to choose from, get both. There is some overlap between the two series.

You can order them from Amazon in the US at good prices, but they are special orders. You can also order from Amazon.co.uk.

Pathfinder Guides

The best walking/hiking guidebook publisher in the UK is Jarrold Publishing, with the Pathfinder Guides for nearly every region in England. Each book in this series has 28 circular routes documented with a detailed map (Ordnance Survey maps are used) and descriptions. In my experience, the descriptions are reliable. See below for links to these guidebooks.

Short Walks

Jarrold Publishing has a new series of walking guidebooks called "Short Walks". These are smaller books with easier walks and less detail for each walk. Each book contains 20 circular walks.

Goldeneye Maps

For the Cotswolds, there is another good publisher, Goldeneye, who makes "walking packs" (a set of 12 or 24 walks, each described on a plastic coated thick card, so you only need take the one card with you on a hike) and laminated folded maps versions of the same walks. You will find these available in the Cotswolds.

AA 50 Walks In ...

The Automobile Association of the UK puts out a series of walking guidebooks. They have more walks in each book, but they do not use the Ordnance Survey maps to illustrate the walks and the walks are not organized in a way that you can easily figure out where they are. But if you are look for a bigger variety of walks, this series has that.

Ordnance Survey Explorer Maps for Walking Trails

Most counties in England are crisscrossed with walking paths. You need a good map so you can be sure you are on the right trail. If you decide to just head off without using the hiking guidebook, the detailed map will help you find trails. If you have a guidebook, you can do without the map, but it is best to have both.

Ordnance Survey puts out two map series:

  • Explorer (orange) at 1:25,000 scale, perfect for walking
  • Landranger (purple) at 1:50,000 scale, good for driving

The Ordnance Survey Explorer Maps are very detailed maps, showing every town, village, hamlet, farmhouse, road, lane, trail, etc. and are just what you need when out walking in the countryside. These maps cost £6 to £8 and are available in many stores throughout the Cotswolds or at any book store. Or you can order them online through Amazon.co.uk (see links below).

During the First World War, these detailed maps were created for selected areas of Britain. In the 1940s these maps were made available to the public. By the 1970s, all of the United Kingdom was mapped (there are 403 maps). They are continually updated. A new update is coming in 2004-05 because of the new Countryside and Rights of Way Act. The maps will show the new areas open to access. If you are buying maps, make sure you are getting these new ones if they are available for the area you are going to. The new maps have the "Open Access" symbol on them - the hiker in a circle.

Walking Guidebooks and Maps from Amazon.co.uk

The best way to get walking guidebooks for England if you need them immediately, is to order them through Amazon.co.uk. I order through Amazon.co.uk frequently and the orders arrive in good time. These books are available on Amazon.com, but all are special orders or sold through other sellers.

Cotswolds Guidebooks

The Cotswolds is an Area of National Beauty that is in the west of England between Bath and Stratford. This area is famous for its great walking trails and charming villages.

Cotswold Walks, Pathfinder Guide - Ordnance Survey, by Jarrold Publishing, 1990
Walks for the Cotswolds. This book was published in 1990, but we used it in 2004 and it is still acurate. These trails do not change much over time. 28 walks, with maps and full descriptions, grouped by length and difficulty. "Inside the Book" on Amazon shows you the list of walks in this book.

Order from Amazon (special order)

More Cotswold Walks, Pathfinder Guide - Ordnance Survey, by Jarrold Publishing, 2000
These walks do not duplicate the original walks in the earlier book. 28 walks, with maps and full descriptions, grouped by length and difficulty. We used this book on our 2004 trip.

Order from Amazon (special order)

Shakespeare Country, Vale of Evesham and the Cotswolds: Walks, Pathfinder Guide - Ordnance Survey, by Jarrold Publishing, 1998
Walks for the area around Stratford and Vale of Evesham (north of the Cotswolds) and the Cotswolds. 28 walks, with maps and full descriptions, grouped by length and difficulty. "Inside the Book" on Amazon shows you the list of walks in this book.

Order from Amazon (special order)

The Complete Collection of Cotswold Walks, Walking Map-Guides, Goldeneye, 2001
This is a collection of 24 walks in the Cotswolds, each described on a 6" x 8" card, so you only need take one card with you on a walk. Most of the walks are short; 3 hours or less. The walks are well documented and have good maps. Restaurants are listed with each walk description. We used these maps on our 2004 trip.

Order from Amazon (special order)

For more information and examples, see the Goldeneye site.

The User-Friendly Map & Guide North Cotswolds Walks and South Cotswolds Walks, Goldeneye, 2003
You will find these at bookstores or newsagents in the Cotswolds (£5.99 in 2004). These are two separate guides, one for each area. The A40 road that runs from Cheltenham to Oxford is used as the divider between north and south Cotswolds. Each contains 10 hikes from 2 - 5 hours in length. The hikes are printed on one large, laminated page that is then folded. It is a good size for carrying when hiking and it is waterproof. If you are going for a short vacation and want to do a few hikes, these are perfect. The walks are well documented and have good maps. Restaurants are listed with each walk description.

Maps for Devon will be published in 2005.

Not available on Amazon

For more information and examples, see the Goldeneye site.

50 Walks in the Cotswolds, AA (Automobile Association), 2002
50 walks of 2 to 10 miles. This book has nice walks and good maps. My only complaint are the too-cute names for the hikes - makes it hard to figure out sometimes where the hikes are.

Order from Amazon (special order)

Cotswolds Maps

For walking/hiking you will want the Ordnance Survey Explorer maps (orange) at a 1:25,000 scale (2.5 inches to 1 mile). These maps cover the Cotswolds.

OS Explorer 45: Cotswolds. This map covers the main part of the Cotswolds from Chipping Campden and Broadway in the north, to Stow-on-the-Wold in the center, to Cirencester in the south.

OS Explorer 168: Stroud, Tetbury and Malmesbury. This map covers most of the southern Cotswolds from Stroud to Malmesbury.

OS Explorer 179: Glouscester, Cheltenham & Stroud. This map covers the area west of the 45-Cotswolds map.

OS Select, a service from Ordnance Survey, lets you order custom maps. You select the center of the map (e.g. your house) and they print a custom map for you.

Southwest

The counties of Wiltshire, Dorset, Somerset, Devon, and Cornwall (going from east to west).

Somerset, Wiltshire & the Mendips Walks, Pathfinder Guide - Ordnance Survey, by Jarrold Publishing, 1997
I have not used this one yet, but just ordered it for our 2005 trip.

Order from Amazon (through other sellers)

Dorset Walks, Pathfinder Guide - Ordnance Survey, by Jarrold Publishing, 1992
I have not used this one yet, but just ordered it for our 2005 trip.

Order from Amazon (through other sellers)

Exmoor and the Quantocks Walks, Pathfinder Guide - Ordnance Survey, by Jarrold Publishing, 1990
Exmoor National Park is in the northwest corner of Somerset, on the border with Devon. The Quantock Hills are in northern Somerset, north of Taunton and east of Exmoor. I have not used this one yet, but just ordered it for our 2005 trip.

Order from Amazon (special order)

South Devon and Dartmoor Walks, Pathfinder Guide - Ordnance Survey, by Jarrold Publishing, 1996
28 walks, with maps and full descriptions, grouped by length and difficulty. I have this book and will be using it on our 2005 trip.

Order from Amazon (through other sellers)

Cornwall Walks, Pathfinder Guide - Ordnance Survey, by Jarrold Publishing, 1990

Order from Amazon (special order)

Southeast Guidebooks

Hampshire and New Forest Walks, Pathfinder Guide - Ordnance Survey, by Jarrold Publishing, 1993
Hampshire is the county south and east of Wiltshire. The New Forest is in Hampshire.

Order from Amazon (through other sellers)

Resources

www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk: Ordnance Survey, Britain's national mapping agency.

www.iprow.co.uk: Institute of Public Right of Way. Information about footpaths.

www.walkingbritain.co.uk: Walking Britain

www.emap.com: Magazine - Country Walking. A monthly magazine with great walking information. £3.20 (2004 price).

www.totalwalking.co.uk: Jarrold Publishing, Pathfinder Guides and Short Walks. You can download a sample walk to see the quality of their guides.

www.britguides.co.uk: The online store of Jarrold Publishing, publisher of the Pathfinder Guides.

www.goldeneyemaps.com: The online store of the Goldeneye hiking guidebooks. You can view samples of their maps on the website.

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