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What is an LDP?

Last updated 7 April 2022

Access land on the South Downs

1066 Country Walk Guidebook

What constitutes an LDP is a matter of opinion and views vary widely. This website seeks to list long distance routes within the UK for which a publication of some sort is currently available to the general public at a reasonable cost that enables the route to be followed on the ground by a competent walker.

Publications we list vary very widely in form: ranging from detailed guidebooks, a simple line on an OS map, or an electronic route description on a public website.

Some challenges are included where the walker needs navigational skills; these may involve traversing difficult or unmarked terrain without a clear path. Some of these require the walker to devise their own route between defined points – these are often called ‘kanters’. However the vast majority of routes we list are well within the capabilities of the fit walker with a reasonable level of skill with map and compass. We do not list routes that require special skills or difficulties in normal weather conditions, such as scrambling or rock climbing, though any route may present unusual difficulties in adverse weather.

Badge for Derbyshire Derwent Mills & Hills Anytime Challenge WalkA special class of LDPs is the so-called Anytime Challenge. These are routes intended to be completed as a continuous walk normally in one day, with completers qualifying for a certificate and/or a badge from the route’s ‘Recorder’ who logs the completions. There are many such challenges listed on this website, often promoted by an LDWA member or Group. You can find Anytime Challenges using the Advanced Search options.

What constitutes a ‘long distance’? We list as ‘main routes’ on this site walking routes that are 20 miles or more in length and are mainly off-road. Some shorter routes are also covered as main routes where they have some strategic significance, such as linking two other main routes, or if they are the only routes available in an area. We also list local networks promoted as a whole, providing long distance options when linked.

Most routes are in the countryside but a number pass within urban areas, often using green corridors linking parks and open spaces, often with many interesting buildings, heritage and history to be seen en route. These urban routes are important as they are easily accessible by much larger numbers of people, many of whom progress to walking more demanding and longer country routes. Using the Advanced Search option in Search for Path, you can look for routes with features or 'attributes' such as 'easy', 'challenging', 'urban', 'coastal', 'riverside' or 'literary'.

The LDPs on this site are believed to be on rights of way, permissive paths or access areas that are normally open to walkers. The recent opening of substantial new areas of Access Land is likely to encourage new routes or changes to established routes to take advantage of these newly opened areas, for example to the source of a river previously inaccessible. We would like to cover such developments so please contact us about them.

We do not cover routes that are solely available as commercial ventures, normally as holidays operated by companies that provide the route description only to those that book with them. Such ventures do not meet our listing criterion of a route description being freely publicly available at reasonable cost.

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