Go4awalk

www.go4awalk.com 

Website’s statement:

Walks and Walk Ideas conceived, researched and described by walking experts to make sure you have a really fantastic day on Britain’s hills, fells and mountains. Whether you want to walk alone, with friends or with your partner & children in The Lake District, The Yorkshire Dales, The Peak District or Snowdonia in North Wales, Ramble with a Pub half-way round or at the end, Hike on a National Trail or Long Distance Path or simply walk elsewhere in this beautiful island, finding your perfect walk is really easy.

Social Media:

Twitter: twitter.com/go4awalk

Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/go4awalkcom/57913823827

Go4awalk Logo

Smartphone App: go4awalk mobile: www.go4awalk.com/m/go4awalk-mobile_example.php

This is a smartphone version of the website and is available on iPhone, IPod Touch, Android, Kindle, Blackberry and Palm Pre. You just need a free Library/File storing App like ‘iBooks’, ‘Files (Lite)’ or ‘PDFReaderLite’ and register to go4awalk.com

THE REVIEW:

This website has thousands of walks throughout the UK. If you are interested in walking in the countryside, hills and mountains, it’s probably one of the most complete walking website you can find out there. The only down side is that you have to pay to get the walks you are interested in! Is that a bad thing? Well there is a lot of free content anyway. A lot of interesting facts, reviews, articles which make the free part of the website quite enjoyable. However this profusion of information means that you can get lost and it looks a bit messy. You can feel overwhelmed by the amount of text displayed on your screen. Nonetheless you will probably find what you are looking for. One of my favorite bits is the “Invaluable, Money Saving Walking Gear Tips” part where any one can share their experience and tips about walking. This is within their “Bunkhouse” section where you will be able to share a lot of things with fellow walkers. For example if you are fed-up of walking on your own, there is a  “Find a friend” section which will probably help you find like minded people and share a bit of walk together. There is also a lost & found section for those dear items and gadgets you might have lost or found on your walks. Go4awalk also release regular articles related to the subjet of walking which I often find quite instructive. You can subscribe to their newsletter which will give you the right to download some of their walks for free.

What about the walks? To start with I must say that their search facility is  quite good. You can find a walk through different means. You can use Ordnance Survey (O.S.) maps, listings, location and postcodes or even suggestions. Finding a walk with O.S. maps, is easy. You can choose either from O.S. Explorer range (they are the 1/25000 scale with orange colour) or from O.S. Landranger range (they are the 1/50000 scale with pink colour). Many walkers will probably own some of them so it’s a great way to make a good use of them. To get started, click on one of the corresponding squares on their “interactive walk map” and you will be redirected to the area selected. It’s not the full O.S. map though but just a trimmed down version. However it’s purpose is to display the walks and their outline itinerary . If you hover your mouse on the walks points you will see their outline itinerary. Walk points are the starting points and they are graded from 1 to 9 depending on their difficulty. Unfortunately there are still a lot of O.S. map squares which are blank and some don’t contain many walks either. Regarding Yorkshire, I would say that the three National Parks are well covered (with the exception of the North Yorkshire Moors) but the rest in the middle is still a work in progress. If you live in the North-West, this is probably where this website will be of great use to you. The company being based in Cheshire, there are far more walks around that area than anywhere else. This is reflected if you choose to find a walk using postcodes or location. Put “Macclesfield” and your search will come up with a multitude of results. Put “Doncaster” and it’s not the same story. Having said that there are probably more exciting walks around Macclesfield than around Doncaster. That’s why I think they have been quite clever with their suggestions. Whatever search you do, you will always be prompted to some suggestions. I quite like it because it broadens my search and it’s better than a “sorry there are no walks” message.

Now what about the walk descriptions? This is what you have to pay for. However if you subscribe to their newsletter, you can get sample walks for free but they aren’t necessary places you want to go… So to get a full access, you need to create an account and you can start with 10 walks/credits for £9.97. You want value for money really, so is it a good deal? Well for each route you are interested in, you will always get a full walk description that you can download as a pdf file. It’s an A4 page that you can easily print and take with you. The document includes an outline itinerary as a map (not O.S. map), the complete directions and a the walk profile. Now depending on the route, you can also download GPS waypoints (either .gpx or .txt format) and O.S map extracts (1/25000 scale). The latter ones are not extensively available and I would advise you to have the corresponding paper maps if you don’t have a GPS handset. They have lately launched a smartphone version of the website and all the website’s features will eventually be available on your phone too. This is really interesting because as they state, “Once you have all your walks and maps stored on your Smart/Cell Phone you will be able to view them and use them without the need for a mobile/cell phone signal or internet connection (and without excessively depleting your Mobile/Cell Handset’s battery!)” . Also if you are into peak bagging the website is a great tool for this. You will get all the information you need including lists and maps locating the various peaks and hills and every time you have climbed one of them you can ask the website to remember it for you adding it to your list. So overall I would say that it’s not such a bad deal. The only disappointment I have is the lack of routes in some areas and the inconsistency of information between the routes (some don’t have GPS waypoints and O.S. map extracts).

TO SUM UP:

PROS

Richness of the content. A lot of free information is available to prepare your walk Great search facilities Community website. You can be involved  by submitting your own pictures, stories and gear review. You can even post your lost & found items or find a friend so you don’t have to walk alone any more. A smartphone version of the website has now been developed

transparent
CONS

Navigation and appearance are not the best. The profusion of information makes it sometime hard to find what you want Advertisements Part of the website is not free There are still a lot of blank areas where you won’t find any walks

 

Ease of use / appearance Search facilities Walk descriptions Grading system Route Mapping
2.5/4 3.5/4 3/4 3.5/4 3/4
The navigation and the appearance are not great. You can get lost + there are adverts on every single page  (in moderation though) This is the strong point of this website. However there are a lot of areas which are not covered yet Really good quality descriptions and directions downloadable as A4 pdf or GPS waypoints but not free. No pictures or videos of the walks available The walks are listed from 1 to 9 (1-3 easy, 4-6 moderate, 7-9 hard) however you can’t search these criteria Every walk description comes with a “statistics” section at the top and always includes a map (not O.S.) and a terrain profile. Some walks can be downloaded with an O.S map extract (1/25000 scale)
TOTAL
15.5/20
Features Yes No Comments
Free Green Tick Some parts of the website are free though. Only the walk descriptions are paid for. There are advertisements too
GPS waypoints or Apps for smartphones Green Tick GPS waypoints are downloadable on almost all walk descriptions but they are paid for. And the website is now available for smartphones too
Photographs or videos of the routes Green Tick There aren’t any pictures included with the walk descriptions. However there are pictures submitted by users which you will find in their photo gallery. They try to associate them with some walks but it’s just an indication and doesn’t mean that you will see such features on the walk itself
Info available along the route (i.e refreshments and toilets) Green Tick The walk directions often indicate where pubs are located
Community based website  Green Tick There is a vibrant community on this website. Users can contribute a lot by leaving reviews, posting pictures, finding friends or starting discussions. You can’t post your own walks though.

Please rate this article below and/or leave a comment about your own experience of www.go4awalk.com

Looking for more reviews? Go to my page about Walking Route Planner websites

Do you have an opinion on the above? Please share it and leave a reply