Many of us enjoy walking and hiking but how much thought do we give to protecting the planet when we’re out and about? Here are our top tips on how to care for the area you’re visiting and the wider environment too.

Drive down your emissions

Why not pick a route that’s close to home so you can walk there and back? Bonus points for the extra exercise! Check out Slow Ways for plenty of inspiration on local walks. It’s a project that’s plotted routes connecting Britain’s villages, towns, cities and national parks. If you want to go further afield, consider walks or hikes you can get to by bike or public transport. You could even car share with others going to the same destination. Liftshare and GoCarShare are websites where you can find passengers and drivers to share journeys with, cutting CO2 emissions.

Care for outdoor clothing and footwearCare for outdoor clothing and footwear

Make your outdoor clothing and footwear last longer by following care instructions, e.g., washing clothes at 30 degrees or waxing walking boots. If you no longer need outdoor items, donate them to friends, family or charity so they can be used again. In need of extra gear? Make it second hand. “Charity shops and online auction sites are amazing for buying kit,” Sam Knight, from Ramblers Scotland, told us in a recent blog post. Check out eBay, plus Vinted, Gumtree, Facebook Marketplace and Facebook Groups. You never know what you might find! Part of a walking group? Sam suggests getting hand me downs from other members of the group. If you prefer your clothes new, source them from an ethical company, so they protect you and the planet.

Crack the code

Make sure you follow the Countryside Code if you’re walking or hiking in England or Wales. In Scotland, it’s the Scottish Outdoor Access Code. Both advise you how to care for the environment and enjoy the outdoors responsibly. It’s worth reading the relevant code in full, but here are some key points:

  • Stick to marked paths, to protect wildlife and crops.
  • Remove any dog waste if your four-legged friend is walking with you.
  • Be careful not to stand on young trees.
  • Don’t light fires and only set up BBQs in designated areas.

Clear up any litter

Make sure you don’t leave any litter or recycling on your walk or hike. Sam Knight suggests going one step further and doing a two-minute litter pick as well, to leave the area in a better condition than you found it. If you’re planning a coastal walk, you could combine it with a group beach clean. The Great British Beach Clean takes place Friday 16th – Sunday 25th September, with beach cleans organised across the UK. As well as removing litter, you’ll record the rubbish you find. The results will help the Marine Conservation Society – which runs the event – campaign for environmental action. Find your nearest beach clean.

Go green with your map

You can protect the environment when choosing a map for your walk or hike, too. Dennis Maps is the official print partner of Ordnance Survey and prints a huge variety of maps for other organisations as well. All our map paper and cover boards are carbon balanced, with emissions offset through a World Land Trust programme and Climate Partner. On top of that, we use vegetable-based printing inks and FSC© certified paper and card. Our waterproof and weatherproof maps are incredibly durable but can eventually be recycled too.

Make your food and drinks eco friendly

Up to 10% of greenhouse gas emissions globally are linked to food that isn’t eaten, according to the UN environment programme. We can all help reduce this. If you’re bringing a picnic for your walk or hike, check out apps Olio and Too Good To Go, where you can pick up surplus food locally and tackle food waste. Pack reusable cutlery and packaging, like beeswax wraps, for extra eco points. Choose a reusable bottle for drinks when you’re out and about, too. There’s also a handy app called Refill to help you sip sustainably. On it, you’ll find the locations of over 274,000 Refill Stations where you can top up your water bottle for free.

Dennis Maps is one of the leading map printers in the world, producing more than two million maps and charts every year. We offer comprehensive pre-press services, large format print solutions using both large format litho printing and large format digital print technologies, plus specialised map folding and map finishing techniques.

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