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Mark Moxon's Travel Writing

Contact Me: waymarked paths in the UK/Scotland

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jonas nohrstedt

Subject: waymarked paths in the UK/Scotland
Posted: 10 Mar 2012 7:11 pm

Hi Mark!

Thanks so very much for all that useful info. And yes, those were the canisters I asked about. Looked at the website about OS maps, really good!!

Now I was keen to know about which of the following trails that are properly waymarked (could be followed without the crucial need of a map):

- Offa´s dyke path
- South West Coast path
- Heart of England way
- The Pennine Way
- The Southern Upland Way
- The Limestone link
- The West Highland Way
- St Cuthbert´s Way

Have come across the expression "rights of way" on several occasions in my guidebook and from other references. What is this all about in a more detailed explanation and how is this "rights of way" usually marked on the maps, does it hold any special symbol/marking?

Thanks again for all info and a great site!

Regards, Jonas

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Mark Moxon

Subject: Rights of way
Posted: 11 Mar 2012 2:22 pm

Hi Jonas.

Good question! Unfortunately, all trails have some sections that aren't that well marked, so even if most of a trail can be navigated without a map, the chances of you getting lost at some point are pretty big if you don't have a map. I'd definitely recommend travelling with a map of some sort.

From my experience, the Limestone Link wasn't well marked when I did it, whereas the West Highland Way was excellent. Most of the Pennine Way was good too, with the odd section being a bit hard to follow, though I did then with maps, so it's hard to tell what it would be like without them.

As for rights of way, these are very important. In England (but not in Scotland), you are not permitted to stray from rights of way; if you do, you are breaking the law. Rights of way are shown on both Landranger and Explorer maps, as dotted lines (purple and green respectively), and the local council has a duty to ensure that rights of way are accessible and marked (though they are sometimes neither). Wandering around without a map will guarantee that you stray from rights of way at some point, and while some landowners will be reasonably understanding, others might fish out the shotgun and start taking pot-shots at you. I kid you not. Check out my FAQ on the subject, here:

In Scotland, it's the other way round - you have the right to roam, except for areas that are closed (such as military ranges, grouse shoots and so on). It's still good to have a map, though, as it's easy to get lost in the wilderness.

I would never walk in England without a map showing rights of way. If you don't want to spend a lot of money or carry a lot of heavy maps, you can visit sites like Bing and print out the relevant OS maps in strips along the route you're taking; all you need is access to a decent printer.

For example, here's the start of the Pennine Way in Bing, using Landranger scale:

The right of way is the purple dashed line with the diamonds, heading west from Edale. Here's the same path, but using Explorer maps:

The right of way is green with diamonds. You can see the difference between Landranger and Explorer scales here.

Whichever one you choose, simply print this out, slip it into something waterproof, and you've got all the route information you need. Simple, cheap, and lightweight (though it will take a very long time to print out all the maps you need!). Don't leave home without some kind of map like this, or you'll get stuck, and quickly... Smile

Also, the official trail guides contain these exact maps, but with lots of extra information about the walk that is worth the weight. All the main routes have a book; here's the southern section of the Pennine Way, for example:

They're heavier, but they do contain everything you need to follow the route.

I hope this helps! Glad you like the site... Smile

Best wishes,


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