On 1 February, a sunny Saturday, I travelled to Clerkenwell to join 60 or 70 other volunteers on a hack day to start identifying walking routes between Britains’ towns and cities.

There are over 200,000 km of public rights of way, in Britain, but they don’t necessarily link into, out of and between towns.

Dan Raven-Ellison, the Ordnance Survey’s GetOutside Champion, came up with the idea to design a network of Slow Ways routes that can be used to inspire and guide walking between towns, cities and villages. The routes will use existing footpaths and people will be able to use the network to walk between neighbouring towns or to combine multiple Slow Ways routes for long-distance journeys.

After a briefing, we divided into teams to cover regions in the southern part of Britain. Although I’ve lived in the South-East for many a year, that team had many volunteers so I worked on the East Midlands team and focused my efforts on linking the towns of east Lincolnshire.

It was a challenge finding footpaths out of Mablethorpe, given all the drains in the fens, but moving west to the Wolds and on towards Lincoln provided more opportunities.

Screen shot of an online Ordnance Survey map showing a footpath route from Bardney westwards to Lincoln
A footpath route linking Bardney to Lincoln

I thoroughly enjoyed the day as it combined three of my interests of digital, geography and walking. And all in all it was a productive day for the whole group.

Dan will be working out the next stages of the project in due course.

Slow Ways hack day
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