How’s this for a New Year’s Resolution? Rail, hike and camp the UK

map showing distance of campsites to nearest railway station

Showing ingenuity, not to mention IT wizardry, Will Petty has created a map of UK train stations and walkable campsites. The interactive tool allows you to filter campsites by distance – from <3km to 10-20km away, which Petty describes as very roughly a day’s walk. It’s the ideal planning tool for a ‘rail, hike (or bike) & camp’ trip.

Responding to praise for the map on Twitter, Will explained his workings: “Campsite data pulled from OpenStreetMap, using OverpassTurbo. Cleaned up a bit in QGIS, e.g. deleted entries with no name. Calculated distance to nearest station for each campsite. Saved it out as a GeoJSON and uploaded to Felt. Styled by distance to nearest station field.”

If you’re as confused by the explanation as we are, don’t worry – navigating the rail, hike, camp map is simplicity itself.

Cycle touring or bikepacking? Call it what you will – just get out and camp

The preoccupation with cycling as a sport makes it easy to overlook other aspects of life on two wheels. For example, cycle touring is a pursuit as old as the bicycle

In 1884, Thomas Stevens cycled his Penny Farthing across North America. His small handlebar bag contained a spare pair of socks, a shirt, a mackintosh (that doubled as a tent) and a .38 calibre pistol. Following the success of this 3,700-mile cycle tour, Stevens went on to become the first person to circumnavigate the world by bicycle.

Cycle touring in Britain was at its most popular in the 1950s, but a renewed interest in camping over the last few years has seen clubs attract an increasing number of people looking to holiday by bike.

Touring by bike may have been re-branded more recently as ‘bikepacking’, but the business of setting off to ride and camp, taking with you only as much as you can carry, remains largely unchanged. Thankfully, it no longer requires the carrying of a Smith & Wesson.

cycle camping

Cycle camping is as old as the bicycle

The excellent describes ‘a synthesis of mountain biking and minimalist camping; it evokes the freedom of multi-day back-country hiking, with the range and thrill of riding a mountain bike. It’s about forging places less travelled, both near and afar, via single-track trails, gravel, and abandoned dirt roads, carrying only essential gear’.

However, don’t allow the lure of far flung destinations stop you planning a route nearer to home. The rail, hike, camp map is the ideal place to start.

The ethical choice

The ETA was established in 1990 as an ethical provider of green, reliable travel services. Over 30 years on, we continue to offer cycle insurance , breakdown cover  and mobility scooter insurance while putting concern for the environment at the heart of all we do.

The Good Shopping Guide judges us to be the UK’s most ethical provider.


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