I’ve made no secret of my love for maps, whether it be framed maps on my wall or map coasters…give me a map and I’m happy! I’ve already built up quite a little collection of Ordnance Survey maps, which I keep hidden away from the kids because the moment they get their hands on them they insist on opening them out fully and such are my tessellation skills I can never quite get the big ones folded back the right way if I’ve not opened them myself!
Much as I prefer to view a physical map, there are times when it’s just easier and quicker to view them on your computer. Once you’ve bought an OS map you are able to view it digitally for free, or you can sign up for a paid subscription to OS and access them all.
However there is a little unknown trick to access OS maps digitally for FREE simply by using the maps facility on the search engine Bing. I think it’s really useful to know this during lockdown as it’s great to be able to discover walking routes right from your own street. It’s surprising how many rights of way there are and you will hopefully find walks you never knew existed! I use this all the time, especially in non lockdown times when it’s a fantastic resource to plan new walks.
Just a quick note before I show you how to do it. This only works on laptops and desktops, unfortunately it doesn’t work on mobiles, so what I normally do is take a screenshot of the map on my laptop, then I can access it from my phone’s photo gallery when I’m out on the walk.
- Go to https://www.bing.com/maps
- In the top right hand corner, hover your mouse over the ‘Road’ button and click on ‘Ordnance Survey’
- At first the map won’t look any different, but one click on the ‘+’ zoom in, the map will change to the more recognisable OS format.
- However, keep zooming in (press ‘+’ another 4 times) and it will drill down to the OS map where you can view the public right of ways.
- In this example I’ve zoomed right in on the centre of the village of Great Barrow, Cheshire. To find the public right of ways you’re looking for the various types of green dots. I’ve put the OS map key below so you can see what all the different types are, but it doesn’t matter too much as it’s a green dotted line you have permitted access! In Great Barrow you can see a recreational route running right through the village, as well as other footpaths all around it.
Hope you find this as useful as I do x