By: Blonde Two

Have you ever found yourself in a new town or city and longing for a bit of green space to get outside into?

Have you really explored all of your local green spaces?

I am guessing that the answer to our first question will be, ‘yes’ and to the second, ‘no’. We all have a tendency, I think, to separate the concepts of ‘countryside’ and ‘town’ in our heads. If you are guilty of seeing countryside as a place to enjoy being outdoors and town as a place for work, or shopping or breathing in fumes then you might be interested in Ordnance Survey’s new latest in a series of great features for OS Maps. OS Maps is already great for route planning (it must be, DofE use it), looking up suggested routes in a new area and visualising 3D terrain (premium subscriptions only) and since yesterday it is also great for helping you to find green spaces to enjoy.

I was so excited about this feature that I abandoned work for a while yesterday and put Green Spaces to the test. I couldn’t use Dartmoor because (apart from the fact that we all know Dartmoor is green) OS Green Spaces has been designed specifically for urban areas. Instead I decided to look at one of Devon’s two cities, Exeter. I travel by train through Exeter fairly regularly and sometimes have waits at Exeter St Davids; so I thought it would be a good idea to use OS Green Spaces to find green and pleasant lands within walking distance of the station. I looked at a traditional Ordnance Survey map (via OS Maps) and compared it to an OS Green Spaces map. This is what I found.

Copyright Ordnance Survey 2017

Copyright Ordnance Survey 2017

On the traditional map, if you look closely and have some understanding of OS map keys, you can see a few possible green spaces but there is no real indicator as to whether or not these are permissible. The Green Spaces map however makes things much clearer. I suspected that the area around Taddiforde Brook would lend itself to green enjoyment and this is confirmed by Green Spaces. You might have noticed that the Green Spaces areas are different colours. If you zoom into an area these are explained but I believe green denotes a playing field (possible dog poo), yellow a play area (great for kids and noise), purple a cemetery or burial ground (certainly peaceful), turquoise gardens (trees to lie under) and brown allotments (great if you are suffering from train sandwich induced scurvy).

Copyright Ordnance Survey 2017

By the magic of OS Maps I worked out that it would take me under 15 minutes (remember one blue square = 1 kilometre = 15 minutes) to walk to the Taddiforde Brook playing field. I don’t know yet what I would find if I walked there but then that is a big part of the fun of exploring.

If you already have OS Maps on your device then the new Green Spaces feature is absolutely free. If you don’t have OS Maps yet then I really do have to ask you the question, ‘Why not?’ If you want to find out more, Ordnance Survey offer a 7-day free trial… have fun I am off to visit a green space!