Many of us tend to stick to the same routes, even if subconsciously, so the chances are that there is something new to be found in your locality if you do a little digging. Searching online for recommendations from others is always a good bet, but we’re also big fans of digging out a map and doing a bit of old-fashioned adventuring for ourselves.
We still love paper Ordnance Survey maps that you can spread out on the dining table at home to get a proper overview of an area – something you just can’t do very easily on a screen – when you might be able to spot an undiscovered park, woodland or nature reserve, or even just a new footpath to follow. The OS Explorer maps are the best for plotting local rambles. Collect a few to get a good sense of what’s in your broader area (the Landranger maps will show you a bigger scale, but less in the way of local detail). Rather handily, these paper maps also come with a digital download these days, which you can load onto your phone using the OS app and use while you’re out and about. This allows you to pinpoint yourself exactly (so no arguments over who took a wrong turning where) and even plot out your own route to estimate the distance, elevations and time it’ll take you to walk it.
Maps aside, we’ll also often turn to The National Trust for well-marked and maintained walking routes, both at properties and in the landscapes they look after. Many of these places have their walks published online with details of the difficulty, distance and instructions on how to follow the route and what to look out for. At properties, you can also ask the welcome guides or rangers who’ll often have paper maps you can use – not to mention personal recommendations.