Bath may be famous for The Royal Crescent, Jane Austen and the Roman Baths, but there’s much more waiting to be discovered in this Somerset city. A newly released map has captured undiscovered walking routes in and around Bath, so you can explore all the area has to offer. Annie Legge, the map’s creator, tells us more…

Walk the wonders of BathWhat inspired you to create the Bath 5K Map?

We were on a family walk on New Year’s Day 2022, talking about resolutions and fitness goals. I thought it’d be a nice goal to find lots of different walking (or running) routes around our home city, and to discover more of its hills, valleys and countryside. I decided to aim for 52 walks, one for every week of the year. From the start, I wanted it to be something I could share with others, to encourage them to discover more of the city.

What makes the map so special?

The map is both practical and beautiful, with lovely illustrations. Our first version of the map features 20 of the circular walking routes – each 5k in length – with additional routes gradually being released on an accompanying website. 5k is a good distance that doesn’t make for too long a walk.

It’s designed to spark people’s appreciation for Bath, whether they’re locals or visitors. All the walks reveal the area’s hidden treasures, from physical landmarks to places for wild swimming, and pubs to enjoy. There were whole parts of the city I never knew about before I started this project. Some of the places have taken my breath away.

How has the map evolved over time?

I soon discovered it wasn’t necessary to have 50 routes on the map. The final version has the first 20 routes, so there’s more space for detail, and the other routes are gradually being released on the website. This gives walkers access to more and more routes, without it being overwhelming. Having the website was a new idea. It offers detailed route guidance, plus additional routes, behind a subscription model.

Quite quickly, the map started to change from a personal project to a community initiative. It’s become an inspiration for walking groups. We’ve already used it for a community walk and wild swim and are in discussions about doing charity fundraising walks for World Mental Health Day in October.

Early this year a family member took their own life at the age of 24. This led me to turn the map into a tool for improving people’s mental health and wellbeing, through walking and accessing the outdoors. All the profits from its sale go to two local charities – Mentoring Plus and Off the Record, both of which support young people’s mental health.

Why do you think the outdoors can have such a positive impact on mental health?

Movement can calm your mind down and be a great way getting out of your own head. Walks with family and friends can be a good way to have deeper conversations as well. They can be great for time alone and a mental break too.

The Bath 5k Map - Dennis MapsYou launched a successful crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for the map. Can you tell us more about this?

We had an initial target of £5,000 and are now over £4,700, but we’re still open for donations. The crowdfunding was to cover the cost of an illustrator (Ellie Shipman), map printing and getting the business set up.

Did you experience any challenges creating the map?

I spent a lot of 2022-23 mapping all the routes. My dogs have now been on many walks and my husband has been marched out at strange times of the day! I never knew what I’d come across along the way either. I’d find dead ends, cows, permissive paths that didn’t exist anymore. The outdoors changes season by season too. I re-walked routes in different seasons to make sure they still made sense.

The Bath 5k Map uses an Ordnance Survey (OS) map as its base map. I had to set up a company and apply to become an OS Licensed Partner to be able to use this. None of that was within my skillset or experience, so it’s been quite a process. I’ve always been fascinated by maps, but I’ve had nothing to do with making one before. I’ve loved it!

Why did you choose Dennis Maps to print the Bath 5k Map?

One of the reasons was that they’re in Frome and we wanted to keep production local, with it being a community project. They invited us to the factory, and it became obvious that they’d be a great choice. They print all the OS maps, have so much knowledge around map printing and gave me so much support.

dennis maps fromeHow did you feel when you first saw the printed map?

I was so nervous before seeing it. The way we had to print it meant you couldn’t see a final product until the maps were run through the large format litho printer. I went over to the Dennis Maps’ factory to sign it off and see it coming out the printer. That was amazing!

Would you create any more maps in the future?

Yes, I would love to create a version two of the Bath 5k Map, perhaps when I’ve released another 15-20 routes on the website. My longer-term ambition is to have enough routes in and around Bath to all link together, or even to develop routes for other local areas.

Keen to get your hands on a copy of the map? Head to the website to purchase a copy or find out about stockists in Bath.

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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