Slow Ways Volunteer Training – Online!

Thank you to everyone who joined one of the Slow Ways Volunteer Training sessions.

The training sessions have now ended and over the last few weeks 700 volunteers have created 7,000 Slow Ways walking routes across Great Britain.

There will be further opportunities to volunteer and be part of the Slow Ways in the future. Later in the year we will be looking for 10,000 people to help explore, test and feedback on them all.

To stay updated please sign-up for our newsletter. Updates will also be added to the project page here.

About the Slow Ways project

I’m a geographer, walker and campaigner. You can read more about my work and collaborations here. A few years ago, when planning a route between Salisbury and Winchester, I started to wonder…

What if there was a network of walking routes connecting all of Great Britain’s towns and cities? And… why doesn’t that exist already?

While there are thousands of miles of paths linking places across the country, there isn’t a comprehensive network designed to help people walk off-road between all towns and cities. A breakthrough is needed.

Using existing footpaths, Slow Ways is a bold collaborative project to design a network of 7,000 routes that can be used to inspire and guide walking between towns, cities and villages. People will be able to use it to walk between neighbouring settlements or to combine multiple Slow Way routes for long-distance journeys.

North Lines

This is an important, positive and timely project. Walking can improve health and wellbeing, tackle the climate and ecological emergencies, save people money, improve our environment and bring joy to people’s lives.

The Slow Ways project kindly supported by the Kestrelman Trust and  I’ve teamed up with Ordnance Survey who I collaborate with through their GetOutside campaign. As a result, the entire Slow Ways network will be published online and made freely available via Ordnance Survey.  

Slow Ways on OS MapsIn February 70 volunteers came together at Ordnance Survey’s GeoVation innovation centre in central London. Together we tested the idea and collaboratively created nearly 1,000 routes that collectively stretch for 16,000km. 6,000km of these routes were made online by just 21 people while volunteering from home.

Slow Ways 16K

500 Volunteers, 7000 routes, 1 big effort

I’m now looking for 500 volunteers to help collaboratively create 7,000 routes to complete the first draft of the “Slow Ways network”.

Are you up for it? You’ll need to:

  • attend a 60-90 minute training session (register at the top of this page)
  • have a Google account, so you can access documents
  • be up for collaborating and sharing your efforts
  • be confident in reading and using OS maps
  • use the OS maps platform (with guidance) and be OK with their terms and conditions.
  • aged 16+

Everything we make will be made freely available online via OS maps . Whilst you’ll own everything you create, all volunteers need to be willing to share what’s created with the Slow Ways project too.

Scotland May 6

This is a unique opportunity to collaboratively create a beautiful, free and important new walking network for Great Britain. Who knows who or what it will inspire?

I do hope that you’re inspired by this idea and ready to help bring it to life.

See you at a free #SlowWays training webinar? I hope so!

Pick from:

South Lines


Got a question? Tweet me @DanRavenEllison.

What’s the Slow Ways hashtag? #SlowWays.

Who can take part? Anyone who is up for collaborating, has a computer and is comfortable reading OS maps. If you’ve got experience of using the OS maps platform that will help, but it’s not essential. You must be aged 16 or over.

I can’t attend this training. Can I still volunteer? Not at the moment, sorry. It’s important that you’ve been trained before you start.

Where is the training taking place? Online using Zoom video conferencing. You can join in from your living room, kitchen table or while in bed.

When is the training taking place? All the times and dates are posted at the top of this page.

Who are you? I’m a guerrilla geographer and an Ordnance Survey GetOutside Champion. You can read more about my work here and connect to me on Twitter here.

Will I get anything for taking part? Yes. Good feelings, shared output and the knowledge that you’ve helped with a cool project.

I’m not confident reading maps. Can I still take part? It’s probably best that you sit this one out. Being able to read Ordnance Survey maps well is vital and we’ll not have time to teach you.

How many routes will I be asked to create? You can make one route or 100. We will be creating over 4,000 routes together. If 500 people volunteer that’s an average of eight routes each.

How are Slow Ways different from other walking routes? The Slow Ways will use existing footpaths and walking routes, but form a network that focusses on connecting towns and cities.

How long are the Slow Ways routes? Most routes are about 16km long. Some are shorter and some are longer.

What does the Slow Ways network actually look like? You’ll find out of the day, but there are some clues on this page.

Do the Slow Ways cover the whole of the United Kingdom? Not yet. We’re using OS Maps which only cover Great Britain. 

Will Slow Ways be physically signed outdoors? For now the project is all about creating digital routes that people can follow. There is potential for Slow Ways to be physically signed, turned into maps or used in other ways in the future.

What will happen after all the routes have been made? All the Slow Ways routes will be reviewed. The entire first draft will then be published and made available for free online as a provocation to capture imaginations, get people walking and collect feedback.

Will we be testing the routes? Phase 1 of the project is to create and publish the first draft of the Slow Ways network. Phase 2 (at a later date) will be to go out and test them all on foot.

Will we be walking the routes? We will will definitely want to test all the routes. It will be fun and we’ll need even more people to do it well. For this first part of the project (phase 1) we are just designing the Slow Ways network. There will be a later call to action to go and test them all.

Is there a methodology to how the routes will be created? Yes! This will be shared during this online volunteer training.

What kind of computer do I need? You need a computer that can connect to WiFi and can run OS Maps on a web browser. You should also use a computer that feels comfortable and ideally you are used to using.

Do I need anything else? You need to have a Google account so that you can access our project files and maps. You will also need to use the Zoom video conferencing for this training session. Finally, you will need to use OS Maps.

Who will own the routes that are created? We are creating the routes using the OS Maps platform. They will be available to the public for free. Under the terms of the OS Maps platform license you will own the routes you create for personal (non-commercial) use. You will maintain ownership of your routes but also grant licenses to Ordnance Survey and the Slow Ways project to publish and adapt them in the future.

I don’t have an OS maps account. Can I still take part? Yes, we will set you up with a free OS Maps subscription for a month. You can register for a 7 day free trial here and then the subscription will top you up. If you already have an OS maps account the free month will be added to your currently subscription.

Do I need to attend the whole training session? Yes.