Ramblers Scotland unveils best-ever map of nation's paths

Ramblers Scotland has today unveiled the best-ever map of the nation’s paths, making hundreds of previously-hidden trails visible to the public.

The walking charity’s online Scottish Paths Map collates path data from numerous sources, including trails recorded and audited over the last year by more than 100 Ramblers volunteers.

The map shows almost 42,000 miles of paths – from traffic-free city routes to high mountain trails – including many that are not shown on Ordnance Survey maps of Scotland.

Since 2019 Ramblers Scotland’s volunteers have completed around 1,500 path surveys, adding almost 450 unmapped paths that total more than 85 miles in length. 

From today, everyone can discover these hidden paths and plan fun days out using the interactive Scottish Paths Map

There is huge capacity for the map to expand in future, so Ramblers Scotland is also urging walkers to volunteer to help audit its data and record hidden paths in their owns areas.

Click here to use the Scottish Paths Map

Ramblers Scotland director Brendan Paddy said: “Scotland has amazing landscapes and world-class access rights, yet sadly many people still lack confidence about where to walk – so mapped paths are key to creating a healthier, happier nation. I hope that people will use our Scottish Paths Map to plan walks, find new routes and unearth previously-unknown paths on their doorstep. While this is the best-ever map of Scotland’s paths, we believe that it can be still be improved – so I’d encourage people to volunteer to help us audit data and identify thousands more hidden paths across Scotland.”

Paths are marked in purple on the map until audited by volunteers – when they turn green. Many more paths are expected to be audited in the coming months and years, enabling the public to access useful details such as a path’s surfacing, condition, waymarking and any obstacles.

Ramblers Scotland president auditing a path near her Arran home.

Ahead of today’s launch, Ramblers Scotland president Lucy Wallace has been voluntarily helping test the technology and audit paths on her home island of Arran. 

Lucy, who is a mountain leader and wildlife guide, said: "This is such an exciting project as it brings together existing mapping with new data gathered by volunteers on the ground. As it grows it will be a super-useful planning tool with publicly available information about important things like path condition and obstacles such as gates or stiles. As one of the volunteer auditors, I'm having a great time walking with purpose in my local area and helping to put this data on the map."

Ramblers Scotland believes that shining a light on these hidden paths will create better walking links between communities, opportunities for fun days out and space for people to boost their health outdoors.

The map can be used on desktop or mobile devices, wherever there is a signal. Rather than replacing traditional maps – it is instead designed to help people plan journeys, highlight gaps and promote paths and routes.

The map will be regularly updated with volunteers’ new paths and audit information and in future, Ramblers Scotland intends to make its entire Scottish Paths Map dataset downloadable for free in various popular formats.  

Ramblers Scotland has worked with many partner organisations to include their path data and to agree a definition of what standards a path should meet for it to be mapped. It is also inviting any organisations with path datasets to get in touch about including them in the project. 

The project also draws on existing open-source data including Open Street Map. In addition to including many previously hidden paths, the new map has the capability for volunteers to record ‘metadata’ that will be useful to walkers and wheelers such as the path surface, stairs and any obstructions.

The Mapping Scotland’s Paths project has received generous funding from players of People’s Postcode Lottery.