UK Ordnance Survey Maps

If you have read our article on navigation or any of our articles on hiking, camping, bushcraft or the outdoors you will already know that we advocate for learning how to navigate, using an old-school paper map (some are made of plastic today) and a compass. Here in the UK, there is one brand that is synonymous with maps and that is OS Maps, the Ordnance Survey. These are official and national guardians of all things map related and they have the complete range of paper maps. So if you thinking of going out anywhere in the UK area, and you need a map of a particular chunk of Great Britain, be it Scotland, Wales, England or Northern Ireland then Ordnance Surveys range of maps is where you start. 

Therefore, your initial step should be to acquire an OS map of the specific region you are planning to explore. OS maps are highly meticulous and usually at a 1:25,000 scale, making them essential for any hiking or outdoor excursion. There’s a drawback in that you will need to purchase multiple maps for various areas—for instance, there are 13 maps for the Cairngorms, 4 maps for the Lake District, 2 for the Peak District, and 2 for the North York Moors, and so on.

Head on over to the Ordnance Survey Shop on Amazon and check out their map range.

 

Here are the maps that I often use:  

OL4: The English Lakes, North-Western Map

OL5: The English Lakes, North-Eastern Map

392: Ben Nevis & Fort William Map

36: Grantown & Aviemore Map

OL6: The English Lakes, South-Western Map

OL7: The English Lakes, South-Eastern Map

OL1: The Peak District, Dark Peak Map

I suggest using the OS Maps app as well as a back up to your very own detailed maps. It requires a £29 annual subscription to get access to their maps and OS data. It’s one of the essential apps on my phone, and a game-changer for anyone spending time outdoors in the UK. 

 

Compass

Yip, now you have invested in some keymaps for your adventures, you will need a good compass. Build quality is key, you are in the outdoors, so buy a good compass and it could last you 20 years. 

1: Trekrite Explorer Compass for Map Reading and Navigation

  • Stay on track wherever you are: budget hiking compass, with sturdy base plate, magnifier, and easy-rotate bezel. Comes with full instructions, ideal for first-time compass users.
  • Ultra-safe navigation on all terrain: with lanyard break-off safety feature, and luminous markings for night-time navigation or low-visibility weather conditions.
  • Practical in every situation operates in temperatures -40C to +60C, durable and easy to use for men and women.
  • 1:25000, 1:50000 and 1:63360 scales plus centimetre and inches ruler. Direction of travel arrow, index line and magnetic (N) needle have luminous markings
  • Designed and built to last: our products are designed by our UK-based family business offering ‘365 Day’ warranties.

Waterproof Map Protector

Yes, it rains a lot, and when you up a mountain the fog is guaranteed to appear, clouds, blankets of wetness and a waterproof map case is essential. These protect your maps from water, dirt and grubby fingers and will help preserve your maps for years to come. 

1: Lifeventure Waterproof Pouch Case Touch

  • A lightweight (90g), IPX7 seal, waterproof, buoyant map case for every adventure that will keep your maps safe, dry and always at hand — ideal for trekking, sea kayaking and more
  • Comes with a nylon cord lanyard that mean you can use a neck cord, bungee, carabiner or webbing strap and attach this case to just about anything
  • Slightly larger than most standard map cases, 330 x 330 mm is big enough to carry spiral bound maps and all other types of maps including Ordnance Survey and Trails Illustrated
  • Quick and easy roll-seal Velcro closure which provides superb sealing against the elements – also prevents dust and sand ingression. This waterproof cover will also float safely if you drop it in the water
  • Made from durable, TPU-laminated nylon fabric
  • Lifeventure design reliable, practical travel and outdoor accessories for your wanderlust. Made with sustainable materials and processes. Lifeventure is with you, every step of the way.

Always go equipped with a map, compass, communication device, first aid etc and never rely on your mobile phone!  Read our Navigation, and bushcraft articles for more info,

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