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iFootpath Expert: Know Before you Go

There’s nothing worse than a nasty surprise when you’re out walking. In this iFootpath Expert article, we explain how all iFootpath guides are laid out to give you the key access information about a walk before you set out. No longer do you need to worry about whether you will come across tricky stiles, a field of cattle or a steep climb that isn’t suitable for your walking party…

When we set up iFootpath, we knew that the key to helping people enjoy walking was to build confidence and remove uncertainty. Ordnance Survey maps are great for showing the line of public rights of way, but they don’t tell you about stiles, cattle, kissing gates, swamps or other barriers that cause problems for certain people. From the very beginning, we were determined to make sure that iFootpath Walking Guides would be different, telling you all the key facts you need to know before you set out on your walk.

And there’s no need to read the whole walking guide start to finish to find out what you’ll encounter along the way. The Walk Details page on the App has everything you need to know. This will tell you the length of the walk (in miles) and a difficulty rating (in boots). One boot is the easiest type of walks (in terms of hills, terrain and obstacles), whilst five boots is the most difficult (and might even include a bit of scrambling using your hands).access demo one

The key thing is to ALWAYS read the FULL overview text here before you set off. This includes a paragraph covering all the key access information. How hilly? How many gates and stiles? How muddy? Any livestock sharing the paths? Most of our walk authors are even kind enough to mention if the stiles have suitable gaps alongside for dogs (although this isn’t on every walk). It will also mention if there are any stretches of road walking or crossing points across roads, rail lines or golf courses that might need a bit of care. So, if you have an aversion to stiles or cattle, heights or rail crossings, you can easily determine if a walk is suitable for you before you set out.
access demo two
A handful of walks have some key access restrictions and these are always included right at the front of the walk details with a handy IMPORTANT NOTE: marker. This might be a route where dogs are prohibited (for example through an RSPB reserve), where a linear walk has restricted public transport or it might be a temporary closure of a footpath due to a safety issue.access demo three
Of course things change over time, so we are always grateful if you can get in touch to update us with anything new for these access notes. Have any of the stiles been replaced by kissing gates? Did you come across livestock not mentioned in the overview? If you can note the details (and maybe even take a photo) then email us or ‘Add a Comment’ via the App, that would be great.

20 May 2017
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The length (in miles) of a walk is an approximation of the overall of the walking guide, not a measure of the distance "as the crow flies" between any two points. This is based on the GPX file that was created when the author walked the route and rounded to the nearest mile.length

Grade (Boots)

The grade of a walk is an indicator of how difficult it is to walk. This does not take into account the walk length but does suggest how challenging the walk will be. An easy walk, graded as 1 (and shown as 1 walking boot) indicates a walk that is essentially flat, has no sharp hills to climb, has no stiles or other obstacles, is easy to navigate (probably along a well-worn path) and is suitable for most levels of fitness. Do be aware that the level of stamina required will vary and you should only walk within your limits - the indication of walk length will help with this. A difficult walk, graded as 5 (and represented by 5 boots) indicates a walk that is strenuous and involves steep ascents and/or descents. It may be technically challenging involving difficult terrain or obstacles.

Please note that the grading for walks is subjective and open to interpretation and should only be used as a guide when selecting a walk.

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