Skip to main content

Length of routes



  • Philip Ellwood

    This is very interesting. I find myself in the same boat, so to speak.

    As a Slow Ways volunteer, I plotted / amended quite a few routes where I thought, "Could I do this myself?" and the answer was "Nope." Generally, 6 miles is my comfort zone; 10 miles at the most, if on the flat.

    But, we were constrained by the 'node network', which in turn was driven by the vision of Slow Ways to connect settlements, rather than just nice locations. For urbanised areas of the UK, settlements are very close together. For more rural or wild areas, however, settlements can often be very far apart. It's just the way it is.

    Maybe a later phase of Slow Ways could attempt a finer level of granularity of settlement nodes, but it would be a huge undertaking, I suspect. 

  • LizMcBreen

    I suppose what I am suggesting is in less densely populated areas there should be more nodes.  No more nodes are needed in densely populated areas like London where most walks are just a couple of miles.  So where there is less population more villages should be nodes to reduce the average length of walk.  In Milton Keynes there are plenty of additional nodes that could be added which would greatly reduce the average length of walk and enhance the network.  Stony Stratford is a good example. Historically part of the local village network but not a node.

    I think that unless the average length on walk is reduced slow ways will end up as a niche for the very fit not the fantastic new walking network which all can use.

  • Antony Butcher

    When I walk a route I also survey it. One of the survey questions is about the middle third of the route containing bus stops, stations, benches etc. I think information about how to rest midway, or do part of a route, where you can 'bail out' is important for those who want to do shorter walks for any reason.

    I would encourage others to survey the route, or mention in the review, where 'bail out points are. I don't think Slow Ways are a 'niche for the very fit' if the surveys and reviews are done in accordance with the methodology (below) especially points 5 and 6.  There is no rule to say you have to walk from node to node. There will, however, always be some routes, especially in more rural/remote settings, for those with long legs!

    All Slow Ways routes should follow a set methodology. As far as is reasonable it should:

    1. be safe
    2. respect local codes and laws
    3. be accessible to as many people as possible
    4. be direct
    5. be off road
    6. have resting places to eat or sleep every 5-10km
    7. pass through train and bus stations
    8. be easy to navigate
    9. be enjoyable and beautiful
    10. use established routes (such as the Welsh Coast Path), but not be distracted by them!
  • Lynn Jackson

    You are right, of course Antony. I always put a bail-out for my walking route cards but I don’t make a point of mentioning them in my reviews and surveys - I will correct this in future.

  • Yorkie Christine

    I'm really grateful for this thread and everyone who has contributed to it. Like Lynn and Philip I find some of my local routes rather long for me at around 11 and 12 miles, but as a local pioneer and Slow Ways enthusiast I've been keen to walk and review them in their entirety.

    So I'm really pleased to have Antony remind me that Slow Ways are designed to have resting/bail out places every 5-10km and that of course people don't have to walk the whole route all at once.

    This explains why an already long route (e.g. Cawyor) is made a bit longer by its short diversions into small villages! Rather than treating that as a disadvantage, as I have implied in my Cawyor review, I'm now realising it's a deliberate strategy to meet the Slow Ways criteria. (Maybe I'll go back and amend my review!)

    Thanks all.

  • Yorkie Christine

    Sorry, I meant *Liz* and Philip.

  • Charlette Mills

    I want to walk more, but am limited in how much I can do. I agree that shorter routes or even circular routes could be an improvement. I don't know how many people manage to complete a 20km route in a wheelchair, but I doubt it is very many!

    Also, it seems that many of the routes near Chipping Ongar are alongside the roads rather than on the public footpaths that cross the countryside. 


Please sign in to leave a comment.

Powered by Zendesk