Frequently asked questions
While walking can be a taciturn retreat, some questions come up before and after a walk - again and again. We've collected the most frequently asked questions here. Should you not find an answer do get in touch.
The distance of the walk given on your website was entirely wrong
The distance for each walk is calculated by drawing a fictious straight line from waypoint to waypoint of the walk - as the crow flies. That is as accurate as can be, but distances do vary as any given walk rarely resembles a straight line (unless you're a crow, in which case this would not be the first question you'd ask yourself. Or us). It's also why we've added "about" before we give the distance.
Why can’t I find a walk in….?
If there isn’t a walk in the place you want to visit, it either means there are no public transport facilities there, or no one has suggested a route yet. Why not create a walk and submit it yourself?
There weren’t enough waypoints on the route
The aim of our site is to guide you to interesting places for walking that you can reach by bus or train. The waypoints and routes are just suggestions – we recommend you use them as a guide, and work out your own exact route for the day.
The elevation profile was inaccurate
Elevation profiles are there to give you an idea of how strenuous that walk is. To create one, we take 'elevation samples' on a fictitious straight line between the waypoints of a walk, 100 samples for each route. If, for example, there's a valley in between two waypoints, while the actual path goes along the ridge around the valley, the elevation is measured going down into the valley and coming up the other side. It's why we've added +/-10% before the elevation. Just use it as a rule of thumb. Do comment on the walk and mention the faulty elevation profile to help others.
The walk I went on didn’t match the description on your website
Sorry to hear that. We rely on our users sending in accurate and up-to-date information but, unfortunately, we cannot check each walk submitted to the site. You can comment on the rogue walk and point out what was wrong.
I saved a walk and now want to edit it again. How can I do that?
Go to your profile (log-in and use the menu under "My Account"). The walk is listed there with an "edit"-icon next to it. If you don't see it, press >CTRL< and >F5< simultaneously.
How does the walk-rating work?
If someone likes a walk, they move their mouse over the rating-stars and click when it indicates how much they like it. The more users rate a walk, the more accurate the rating is. Go on, give it a whirl. Accuracy is always just a click away.
In terms of why they rated it as they did, well, who knows? It could be they had great weather, or that 'classic summit moment', or just had a nice time. It could even be because they met a group of pretty hikers, like I did near Arant Haw. That got five stars, and no mistake. It's just a rough guide, at the end of the day.
What is an 'OS Grid'?
When someone asks you "What's the OS Grid?" they are asking for the current position on the map ("Ordnance Survey Grid Reference"). If you answer anything akin to "SE135402", you know what you're talking about and probably did your Duke of Edinburgh's Award. It's quite simple and straightforward once you've got the hang of it (but then, so is bungee jumping). Here's a guide to find out more. If you already own at least one OS Map, grid references are explained there as well.
How do I use Ordnance Survey Maps?
Ordnance Survey Maps (or "OS Maps") are simply the most reliable and accurate maps you will find for the British outdoors. They have a nice and easy guide on how to use them which also explains some key terminology. The waterproof ones also make good seats when the grass is wet and it's flapjack time.
If you're unclear about the different symbols on the maps, refer to this guide.
Why doesn't 'Show Walks Near Me' work?
If you click on 'Show Walks Near Me', you have to confirm your consent for geolocation. Your browser will prompt you for this and, if you agree, the latitude and longitude of your current location will be used by Car Free Walks to find walks near you. That's all we do with it, no storing of your location or anything phishy.
Why does the background-image change?
It's seasonal. We think the site just likes to do it every season, finds some nice photos and uses them as background. Quite nifty, non?
Why do I get different search-results for the same query?
When you're entering a search-query, such as "Bristol", we have to find out the coordinates (latitude and longitude) of that "Bristol". Google has a fantastic service that does just that - but it's limited to a certain number of queries per day. If we exceed that limit, we switch to the same service by Yahoo, which may return a slightly different result - and that, in turn, means the results to your query may be slightly different.
What is GPX?
GPX is as a common GPS data format for software programs. You can use a GPX-file of a car-free walk to visualise the walk in Google Earth for example. If you own a beautiful GPS device you can also use a GPX-file to navigate along the walk. And best of all: when you've been on a walk with your GPS device, you can share the walk and upload it to Car Free Walks very easily. Many smartphones have inbuilt GPS, so if you take it for a stroll in the outdoors you can share the walk with just a few clicks (and touches) with the car-free walking community. iCarFreeWalks.
What does ... mean?
We know not everyone is a map geek like us. If there is a term on the website you don't understand, please let us know and we will add a glossary of key terms here. (Or, you could get a dictionary.)
Why does the map on the homepage go white past East Anglia?
Unfortunately, OS Maps only cover mainland Britain. Who wants to see Holland anyway?
Why has the GPX Walk Editor "beta" written next to it?
We're trying out this functionality, we've tested it, it works for us, but we want to find out if it works for you. Until we know that, it's in "beta" (tech-term for "not quite there, yet").
You promote car-free walking, but there are adverts for car companies on your site
As we do not charge people to view or download our walks, we need some form of advertising from the site to cover the running costs. However, we want to stop car-related companies from advertising on our site. So if you spot one, make a note of the web adress and let us know so we can add them to the filter that stops them getting on again.
Your site is great – I would like to support your work
Why thank you. We are not a registered charity, so we cannot accept donations without all sorts of taxes and legal wrangling. However, if you would like to sponsor us, check out our sponsors page. If you don’t have a logo or a website to link from here, we can put your name and a picture of you walking or something so that everyone knows what a nice person you are.
And if none of the above have managed to answer your question, you had better get in touch with us.