Copyright © Wiltshire Walks.  All rights reserved.  Terms and Conditions Relaxed Guided Walks around the woods, downs and ancient sites of Wiltshire Course - Map Reading & Compass Skills

Due to the closure of our training venue we are currently only offering ‘in-the-field’ courses.  These are based either around the west of Marlborough, or in Savernake Forest.

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C1 - Map Reading

We frequently see walkers who have organised their own walks in the area and are obviously inexperienced map readers, with OS map flapping around in the wind whilst attempting to orient it geographically North-South, or while trying to find their exact position.   We also chat with walkers who readily admit that they are having problems with map reading, perhaps while trying to establish the exact route of a right of way, or while planning the next day’s walk in the hotel or pub the evening before.  These symptoms indicate ‘warning signs’ to us, as we know that these problems can result in a ruined or shortened walk, arguments amongst the walkers, or confrontations with farmers and land-owners.

Map-reading is a skill that many of us learn from geography lessons at school or from guides/scouts, and although it is something that is not easily forgotten, maps have changed dramatically over the years -  in scale, the symbols, clarity and detail.  The old Ordnance Survey (OS) 1” to 1 mile maps were useful only for long distance walking across the National Parks and were very hard to interpret when it came to accurately positioning rights of way on the ground.  The newer OS Explorer (1:25,000) maps, although showing considerably more detail, can be cumbersome when used on linear walks over 4 miles, this being the comfortable fold-out distance of the Explorer maps.

But there is no need to have a map oriented correctly on the ground whilst out walking, nor to have a complete Explorer map with you, or to be constantly referring to a map.  Let Wiltshire Walks show you how to understand and correctly interpret OS maps, plan your walks properly, estimate distance and walking times, and then prepare simple paperwork to avoid having to unfold a map at every turn during your walks.

C2 - Compass Skills

Short linear walks do not require the use of a compass, but as Wiltshire has 8178 footpaths covering some 6162 km, and having a further 66700 acres of Access Land, the use of a compass around this area is often necessary.  A compass is extremely useful at the planning stage of a walk, and is an invaluable tool when walking in the depths of woodland when there are no available landmarks to be seen.

Although most everyone knows what a compass does, many folk do not understand how to use a compass when planning a walk, and actually during the walk.  A well-planned walk, even of short distance, becomes more a pleasure than a chore, particularly if certain ‘tricks’ are learnt and used.

C3 - Combined Map and Compass Skills

Why not combine these two major skills together on an easy Wiltshire Walks Course, then have a free Starter Walk to test out those skills!

Course Dates & Times

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