iTunes App Store: Walk4Life App (for iPhones and iPad) –> FREE to download
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’s 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: Walking in beautiful 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.
Update: As of 13 February 2012, Walk4Life have released a free app for Smartphones! It’s currently only available on the iTunes App Store so only iPhones and iPads users can have a go at it for the moment. It looks like a great tool but unfortunately I don’t have any smartphone so I won’t be able to review it for you.
To Sum Up:
|Ease of use / appearance||Search facilities||Walk descriptions||Grading system||Route Mapping|
|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 postcodes||Most of the routes don’t have any descriptions or directions. Users can now upload a document to a route so this should improve eventually||Not 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.|
|Free||The website is funded by the Big Lottery and is part of the Change4Life Campaign|
|GPS waypoints or Apps for smartphones||A free App for smartphone was released in February 2012 (available for iPhone and iPad only)|
|Photographs or videos of the routes||Anyone can add pictures to any routes|
|Info available along the route (i.e refreshments and toilets)||The way the website has been built doesn’t really allow this kind of information|
|Community based website||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