A project to create a new walking network across the UK is calling for volunteers to put on their hiking boots to check thousand of routes.
During the spring 2020 lockdown, 7000 "Slow Ways" walking routes were mapped to connect all of Great Britain’s towns and cities.
The routes, which total some 100,000km, made use of existing paths, trails and roads. Combined, the Slow Ways lap the equator twice.
Now the team behind the new national walking network is looking for people to walk and review the routes to make sure they work in practice.
Dan Raven-Ellison started the Slow Ways initiative just before the country went into lockdown in 2020.
He says: “The Slow Ways walking network will be something we can all enjoy for generations to come. Working from their living rooms and kitchens, volunteers have done an incredible job of drafting the network, but now we need to make sure it works on the ground, quite literally.
“To do that, we need people to head out and walk all the proposed routes to check them."
New walking map for Britain
The map will help to connect places by walking routes. Dan says: “Making use of country paths, under-used ways and city streets, the idea is to make it easier for people to plan walking journeys between neighbouring places and combine routes to go on longer distance walks.
“Some people will use Slow Ways to see friends in neighbouring towns. Others will use them to get to a festival, for a walking challenge to raise money for charity, or as time to reflect while exploring nature.
“Millions of us love walking – it’s such a simple thing – and it benefits so many of us in so many different ways.
"What if we had a proper national walking network that inspired more people to walk more often, further and for more purposes?”
Can you help with Slow Ways?
Thousands of people are needed to put the Slow Ways network through its paces while assessing routes for accuracy, safety and accessibility.
To find out more and to help simply visit the Slow Ways website, www.slowways.org, choose a route, walk it and leave a review.
All of the kilometres walked and feedback shared by users will help to establish a network that’s not only trusted, but widely used to connect people and communities across Great Britain.
Fiona Russell is a widely published adventure journalist and blogger, who is better known as Fiona Outdoors. She is based in Scotland and is an all-round outdoors enthusiast with favourite activities including trail running, mountain walking, mountain biking, road cycling, triathlon and skiing, both downhill and back country. Her target for 2021 is to finish the final nine summits in her first round of all 282 Munros, the Scottish mountains of more than 3,000ft high. Aside from being outdoors, Fiona's biggest aim is to inspire others to enjoy the great outdoors, especially through her writing. She is also rarely seen without a running skort! Find out more at Fiona Outdoors.
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