By: Blonde One


Now please don’t be misled into thinking that this blog post is about diets. Reading the next few lines will not inspire you to lose any weight whatsoever. You will not have a sudden urge to empty your chocolate and cake cupboard contents into the bin. Nor is this post about a new route over Dartmoor covering miles of beautiful landscape, passing numerous points of interest. What this post will do, however, is make you want to get all of your maps out of the cupboard and have another look at them with new eyes! I’m going to teach you the Atkins way of map folding.

Map folding experts

You already know that the Two Blondes are map nerds and that OS have realised this about us and are showing off our nerdiness through their Get Outside Champion scheme, but what you didn’t know is that I have a very special way of folding the maps that I tell as many people as I can about. I have been looking forward to telling Ordnance Survey about it for some time. Various people (mostly teenagers) know about the Atkins Way and are keen to instruct other people in the method.

How to fold a map (so you can use it outside)

It’s a tricky map folding method to explain without an actual demonstration, so I’ll do my best. Here goes …

Normally 2 sided maps are folded along the middle horizontal line and then folded in a concertina fashion. This means that when you are out on the hill there is the possibility that you will need to open your map up completely to get to the other side. If you are walking at the south of the north side and then cross over to the north of the south side and it’s a windy wet day then things can get very difficult.

Many an experienced walker has been the unfortunate victim of ‘flappy mappy’ syndrome. Your arms will be outstretched as you try to fold the completely open map along the horizontal line, to get to the other side. It’s a real problem … unless you use the Atkins way.


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Fold your map along the vertical line first

The Atkins way involves refolding your brand new map so that it is folded along the vertical line in a concertina fashion. Here’s one I made earlier …

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When you are walking at the south of the north side and cross over to the north of the south side, all you now need to do is turn the whole map upside down and you now have the right side, the right way up. The map never needs to be unfolded completely and ‘flappy mappy’ syndrome is kept to a minimum.

Give it a try: it works I promise. I am hoping that Ordnance Survey will adopt the Atkins way of map folding and every map will forever mention the revolutionary folding method brought to fame by Blonde One! If you want a real-life map folding demonstration, why not join in with one of our Dartmoor navigation courses?

Get the right map for the right place today

One thing we Blondes both like to do is buy a paper (or waterproof) map for the area we are visiting before we go on holiday. Having a map is a great way of making sure your holiday has the potential to take you away from the crowds, and on some great exploration adventures. If you’re not sure which map you need (we always recommend orange Explorer maps in a 1:25,000 scale for walking), this handy tool from Ordnance Survey will help. All you need is a place name.