I love maps. A mapoholic. I just find them so interesting.. seeing the original shape of roads, fields, ruins and so on. They inspire me.. I plan walks and jollys – er I mean educational field trips around them.
I love to walk footpaths, because, to me they are the path of our ancestors. They were the original roads – public footpaths are not really created these days, but these old ones always were, and when you study the map, often you can see they give away the history of a present day road, the line continuing. It is great to be part of the many footsteps that took a path, that wore down a step, the many hands that reached to a tree stump to climb a style and so on.
Locally we have found lots of loops around the village and vicinity, and we can stroll out of an evening, and decide to add one to another knowing roughly how long each part takes.
Only too often a footpath is hidden, the sign cowering meekly in the hedge. They are a secret that need to be told.. either because you have explored and found, or because the map told tales. This is why I am a mapoholic.
So I thought I would share some gems. First off, gmap pedometer – good for anywhere in the world, just type in your location and you are there, and as it uses google maps, you can stare at the satalite image. It allows you to plot a route (ok so designed for cycle or running really ) and it measures the miles and tells you how hilly it is too. Then you can share the route with other people – so go on a nice walk, and then share it. Or, plan a walk, and then see if it is too far really. I have a favourite folder of walks, which I use for inspiration.
In conjection with that website, I also use mapsta , which for some reason opens with Oxfordshire, but again you can type in your location and stare at your own footpaths (only good for the UK). This I love. Nice and big on my screen, I don’t need reading glasses! – I can spot all the footpaths. And ruins, hut circles (we have lots of them round here) disused railway lines etc.
I’m nosey. I drive past a public footpath sign, and I want to know where it goes.. then I want to walk it. These two programs allow me to plot and plan.