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The History of Walking Britain

The concept of Walking Britain was formed during the summer of 1997. After a couple of false starts, an embryo site was constructed and uploaded to the web using free web space. At this stage the colour scheme of grey and green had been decided. This small collection of pages formed the basis of today's site and all of the original content (albeit in revised form) is still in place within the current site although the style of presentation is far removed from that original first attempt.

March 1999 saw a serious attempt to get the site better known and the number of 'hits' began to rise steadily helped by mentions in many national newspapers and magazines. A number of changes to the 'look and feel' of the site followed before settling down for 6 years until a makeover began in late February 2006.

Lou Johnson portraitThe rapid growth of content forced a further redesign in early 2014, which was completed by May of that year. Despite the growing use of mobile and tablets, this redesign did little to address the inherent challenges that these devices pose to surfing the web. Spring 2015 saw a rethink of what was needed and I did some serious reading about responsive web pages and decided this was a more practical approach than construction of "apps". What you now see is the result of this reading. Like any web site, ongoing development is a dynamic process and no doubt there will be many changes in design techniques and technology over the coming years.

The site has always been a 'one man show' although a growing band of hard working volunteers have helped with their own walks and photos. This, I am pleased to say, has added specialist content in many areas covered by the site. I should also mention my wife who has accompanied me on many of the walks and has added her own words of encouragement from time to time.

I often get criticised that a certain area is not included in the site. I wish this could be addressed but I only have limited time and resources available so it is unlikely that I will ever complete the task of providing coverage for the whole of the United Kingdom. However if you do live in an area that I have "neglected" then why don't you submit your favourite route? Just go to Share Your Walk and complete the form.

The content on this site is currently provided free of charge with advertising covering the rising costs of hosting and bandwidth charges. In the future Walking Britain may start a low cost subscription service so that all costs are covered with perhaps a small income now I have reached retirement. Whatever happens the many hours spent developing content will remain my contribution to the information that is available to help you enjoy the countryside.

Lou Johnson - Editor & Proprietor

Timeline

  • June 1997 - the idea of Walking Britain began.
  • August 1997 - first web site published with 40 pages containing 25 walks from the Peak District and Lake District National Parks.
  • June 1998 - site reached its first milestone with 100 pages of walks and information available to visitors.
  • March 2000 - first major redesign of the pages to cater for the increased screen sizes and developments in desktop computers.
  • June 2002 - faster growth saw over 1,000 active pages with geographic coverage expanding rapidly. At this stage walks from all the UK National Parks were available.
  • September 2005 - expanding coverage of the UK with content from the most scenic Counties and AONBs added almost on a daily basis.
  • February 2006 - 5,000 pages now available. To keep pace with demand and to ease the management of the site, databases were first used to deliver content. The opportunity was also taken for a further makeover of the site format and design.
  • March 2010 - 10,000 page milestone reached
  • May 2014 - redesign of pages completed.
  • April 2015 - responsive website to cater for growing use of mobiles and tablets implemented.
  • May 2017 - implementation of further changes to design and presentation of content.
  • January 2021 - 25,000 pages of content exceded.
  • June 2022 - redesign of pages to improve loading speed.

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