In today’s age of economic depression and tighter purse strings, more economical types of holidays are becoming more popular and walking or hiking vacations are enjoying a surge in popularity as both occasional days out and longer “away from home” holidays.
Long distance path walks do not have to be walked end to end all in one go – although some diehard walkers enjoy doing this it can be a lengthy undertaking and is not that popular amongst casual ramblers. A lot of paths can be approached flexibly as a series of day walk excursions between populated points, or long paths can be completed over a number of weekend and odd day breaks. Some people even walk long paths like Land’s End to John O’Groats in this way over a period of several years or more! For short distance ramblers, why not use a portion of a long path as a section of a circular walk, with other footpaths taking you back to the start? Some paths even have waymarking posts along the route with this in mind.
Long distance walking outdoor maps or visitor guidebooks can vary enormously in quality. Most will provide at least a description and hand drawn maps of the route and many also include a great deal of historical and anecdotal information on the local area. National Trails have standardised official guidebooks with extracts from Ordnance Survey maps which are very popular. Other routes provide help in a variety of ways from free leaflet dispensers to full colour guidebooks.
It should be noted that even if the path you are planning to use has extensive waymarking, it is still advisable to take a guidebook and map with you. Waymarking discs, fingerposts and other outdoor signs can become overgrown, eroded or vandalised which makes maps invaluable, and many guidebooks will also contain lots of extra information on the route that will really enhance your enjoyment of the walk – which, at the end of the day, is the whole point of the exercise!