Getting There - Maps & Things
This time, I thought I would go into a little detail about what we provide when you walk and cycle in the Cotswolds: those essentials that make sure you arrive at your destination safely each day. There are two vital components – route notes and maps. In theory one or the other might do at a pinch, but in practise it is a symbiotic relationship and they work best together. The route notes, which I originally wrote and researched in the nineteen nineties, and which have been updated anually ever since, are highly detailed. Where there is any doubt about which turn to take, I mention it. I try to rely on landmarks that are unlikely to change. It has been suggested that we illustrate with photographs but a picture can be highly deceptive – the same view in autumn looks quite different from the same in spring, for example. Or a gate, or signpost, may change or get covered up or disappear altogether, rendering the photograph useless. Articulate and detailed wording is more efficient.
Then, the maps. Our route notes incorporate maps of the most detailed scale available, with the route marked on them. These we obtain from a licensed publisher, who provides them to our specification; and in most cases (with the exception of those areas where too many maps are involved, which would only serve to complicate matters), just for good measure, we provide a full-size same scale map of the area for further reference.
One thing to bear in mind – our footpaths are not marked trails as in, for example, North America. In the Cotswolds, and in England in general, you cross land (very often private land) on footpaths that are enshrined in law and have existed for centuries. This means that you can go deep into an area and enjoy it in its natural state. But it means following the notes and using the maps - so a little concentration is required. One quickly adapts and soon everything falls into place. Of course, in the Cotswolds, you have the benefit of being in the countryside, whilst never being far from a helping hand!