Walk4Life

www.walk4life.info 

Website’s statement:

Walk4Life is part of the Change4Life movement that has been set up to encourage families and adults to eat well, move more and live longer, by making small lifestyle changes that add up to big health benefits. Walk4Life is all about helping people move and walking is a great way to start. Almost everyone can do it, anywhere, at any time, and it’s free – you can just get out there and start walking.

Social Media:
Twitter: twitter.com/Walk4lifeinfo
Blog: www.walk4life.info/blog

The review:

Update: On 11 August 2016, Walk4Life became a subscription only site. It is therefore not possible to access any of the features described below without paying for a fee (5£). Further details on their blog.

Although this is a website where you can find walks from all over the UK, there are plenty of walks to find in Yorkshire. It’s also a user-generated website so anyone can add their own walks to it! Unfortunately that means the quality of the routes you will find might not be what you would expect. Having said that this is as far as I know the only website where you can use 1/25000 O.S Explorer Maps for free! So this is quite handy to prepare your own walks. It doesn’t take long to master the mapping tools and there is a handy video to explain how to do it when you create a walk. You don’t even have to register to do this. If you register, you can then keep the walk just for you or share it with others. You can then print them on your own printer, again for free. The website also keeps a tab of your walking activity and fitness level. You just have to “complete” your walks to find out how many miles you’ve been walking. You can now input you own miles without “completing” a route – handy if you use a pedometer.

However what about the routes that are already there? Well as mentioned before, it is user-generated so it’s a bit of pick and mix really. Some are good, some are not so good. And up until recently, users couldn’t leave descriptions of a walk but they have now rectified this and it’s now possible to upload a document to a route which could include descriptions and directions. Anyone can also comment on a walk, so that leaves users the possibility to interact with the editor of the route and the rest of the community if they spot any problems. There are plenty of fun things you can do too. For example you can share any route on Facebook or Twitter. You can upload photos to a route. You can join a virtual walking group and take on some walking challenges with your group. I have created a virtual walking group on that website, have a look: Walk in Yorkshire. You can even find a real walking group by checking their calendar of events. There are still some efforts to make on the grading of routes: there aren’t any! However you can search for specific criteria. For example routes which are flat or free of barriers or with identified hazards. There are also some specific routes that they call “Walk4Life Miles” of which they aim to way-mark 2012 on the ground by the time the Olympics start in London. So look for them in your neighborhood, you never know there might be one not so far away from you.

To Sum Up:

Pros

A very good search engine Thousands of walks available You can create your own walks – easy mapping tools Free 1/25000 O.S Explorer Maps Anyone can upload photos to any route Fun things to do (join a virtual walking group, take on some walking challenges, share on social media websites) Allows you to enter your own walking activities and keep an eye on your fitness level Features routes suitable for trampers (all terrain electric scooters) Calendar of walking events Features “Walk4Life Mile” routes NEW (Feb 2012): a free app is available for iPhone and iPad

transparent
Cons

Quality of some routes is not what you would expect The yellow colour theme used can be a bit too overwhelming No grading systems – you can search per criteria though but it’s limited and doesn’t give you a sense of difficulty A lot of routes don’t have any descriptions or directions – users can now upload a document to their route but it will take time before the majority of routes have one of them! No way to know if there are any refreshments or toilets along the route No GPS waypoints available

Ease of use / appearanceSearch facilitiesWalk descriptionsGrading systemRoute Mapping

 4/44/4 2/42.5/4 4/4

Good navigation and easy to find your way around. Not too cluttered with info, no adverts. Only problem is the use of the yellow theme which might not be everyone’s cup of tea.It’s possible to find all the routes using UK postcodesMost of the routes don’t have any descriptions or directions. Users can now upload a document to a route so this should improve eventuallyNot the best really. You can only search for flat, barrier free or hazards identified. Not available on all routes. Doesn’t really give a sense of difficulty but rather a sense of accessibility.Probably the only website that give users the opportunity to use 1/25000 O.S Explorer Maps for free.

TOTAL

16.5/20

Features Yes No Comments
Free  Green Tick The website used to be funded by the Big Lottery and was part of the Change4Life Campaign. It is now a subscription only site
GPS waypoints or Apps for smartphones Green Tick A free App for smartphone was released in February 2012 (available for iPhone and iPad only)
Photographs or videos of the routes  Green Tick Anyone can add pictures to any routes
Info available along the route (i.e refreshments and toilets) Green Tick The way the website has been built doesn’t really allow this kind of information
Community based website Green Tick You can create and share your walks with others, join a virtual walking group or take part in walking challenges

Please rate this article below and/or leave a comment about your own experience of www.walk4life.info

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