Britain's most popular walking spots revealed

Will Metcalfe
Contributor
General view of the Derbyshire landscape in Edale which forms part of the Peak District, an area of outstanding natural beauty, in the UK.

Britain’s most popular walking spots have been revealed.

Ordnance Survey, using data from the mapping organisation’s app and online service, has revealed what it considers to be the busiest parts of the country for hikers and as your can imagine, the scenery is stunning.

Edale, in the Peak District, has emerged as the busiest starting point, followed by Fairholmes, in the Peak District, Pen-y-Pass, Snowdonia, Horton-in-Ribblesdale in the Yorkshire Dales, and Ambleside, in the Lake District.

At the start of the Pennine Way and within easy reach of Manchester and Sheffield, the Derbyshire village was the most popular starting point.

The Tour of Britain heads along Pen-y-Pass – one of Britain’s busiest walking routes. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
The dam at Fairholmes in the Derwent valley, Derbyshire. Solid stone towers either side of the dam in this well known location.

Travel writer Roly Smith told the BBC Edale had “just about everything”.

“It’s a beautiful valley, which stands in the shadow of Kinder Scout, the highest part of the Peak District, and one of my favourite places on earth.”

The OS analysed more than 800,000 routes created and publicly shared by users of the OS Maps app, analysing how many passed through each square kilometre of Britain.

The place where the largest number of walkers’ routes crossed was the summit of Snowdon in north Wales.

Yorkshire Dales landscape on the Pennine Way between Halton Gill and Horton in Ribblesdale with the Pen-Y-Ghent in the background, North Yorkshire, England, UK
A view of Stockghyll Force waterfall, Ambleside, Cumbria, Lake District, England.

But hikers did not overlook urban areas: London and Manchester were unsurprisingly the busiest for walkers, but Wakefield leapt ahead of Birmingham and Sheffield.

For those who would rather avoid the crowds, Ordnance Survey also identified some of the least-walked areas.

They included remote and sparsely populated places such as north Lewis in the Outer Hebrides and north Aberdeenshire.

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Estuary areas like the Isle of Sheppey in Kent, Spalding near The Wash and Sunk Island in the Humber Estuary were also rarely walked.

And some places apparently missed out on walkers because of popular beauty spots nearby, such as west Carmarthenshire, not far from the Pembrokeshire Coast, and the area between Dartmoor and the north Devon coast.

In total, 818,524 walking routes were analysed by Ordnance Survey.

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