New data shows hikers walked further and longer this summer

Young hikers on the coast path
The British public hiked more this summer, and for longer distances (Image credit: Getty Images)

This summer saw more Britons donning their hiking boots and hitting the nation’s trails, according to newly published data revealing that the British public hiked more, and for longer distances.

The findings by Ordnance Survey, the national mapping agency for Great Britain, are the latest to confirm a spike in outdoor activity as a result of the pandemic. The figures show that the number of walks recorded increased by almost 50% over the previous summer, while the average length of a walk over the summer was 12km (7.45 miles), a 4% increase. OS studied the nation’s outdoor habits from June through to September of 2021.

“This summer has revealed a significant upward trend in outdoor activities. Since the Covid-19 pandemic began in 2020, we have seen people build new connections with the outdoors,” says Nick Giles, OS Managing Director for Leisure.

Alpkit Sierra Insulated Vest

The figures show that the number of walks recorded increased by almost 50% over the previous summer (Image credit: Alpkit)

Interestingly, the numbers also suggest that the elevation climbed during the 890,000 recorded walks this summer decreased by 36%, something that Giles chalked up to an increase in newcomers to hiking who may be seeking less challenging routes as they start out.

In terms of location, the biggest increases in foot traffic were found in Pembrokeshire, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs, Brecon Beacons and Snowdonia National Parks, all of which saw increases of at least 80%, while parts of the East Coast and rural Scotland are home to the least crowded trails.

Cyclists and runners were also found to have increased the length of their routes this summer.

Julia Clarke

Julia Clarke is a staff writer for and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.