How to
Follow GPX Routes on your Mobile
1 hour walks

What is a GPX file?

  • A gpx file contains points on a route. These points are just coordinates displayed as dots on a line - see below
  • The points can include elevation telling us the height above sea level so it can detect steep climbs or descents!
  • When you switch on your gps you can see your position and lines reprsenting the route.
    If cou can't see the route you need to zoom out.
  • You walk towards the nearest point on the 'route line' until you are on the route itself.
  • Without a gps you often need to 'get your bearings',particularly if you have parked away from the suggested parking area!

Why bother with GPX files?

Anyone used to written instructions will find it hard to appreciate the value of a 'sat nav' for walkers .

True, it's more fun to unravel text or regularly consult maps than follow an arrow on a device.
However, if you are tired of going wrong because of missing signs/clues or unclear instructions, a gpx file on a mobile or gps device 'forces' you to take the correct turn at the right time ,useful particularly in forests and open fields.

Actual Written Instruction :

'Next, cross the field to a stile in small gap in hedge..

Which way?

How many of us have followed hedges just to locate a stile?

GPX Routes on Mobiles
  • Install Locus Map Free or OSMAnd

  • Download GPX .

  • Your mobile should automatically select the appropriate app , ie Locus Map or OSMAnd.

  • Import GPX (no need to unzip)

  • Allow app to know your location
  • You may have to send the gpx file to yourself then share it to the gpx app.
  • Iphone tutorial

Basecamp screenshot Basecamp screenshot
GPX shown on Locus Map GPX shown on OSMAnd
Questions people ask

I have downloaded a gpx file - now what ?

  Your gpx file contains the route of a walk. It has to be unzipped - on a PC

Why is is zipped in the first place?

Unfortunately , some browsers including IE , when trying to read a gpx file if unzipped, open it as text , which is very confusing.

How to unzip?

Once downloaded, right click on the file and select Extract All

How do I know in which direction I need to walk?

The app your are using should tell you how long it would take to the destination point.
If you are following the route but the distance to the destination seems to get longer, you are walking in the opposite direction.

Can I reverse the route?

On most apps you can - just check out the various options.

South West Hiking Map 2023

Includes Devon , Cornwall , Somerset , Avon
Dorset , Wiltshire & Hampshire


Topo South West 2023
Checkout Free Garmin Map of the South West


GPX on a PC or MAC
Garmin's Basecamp (Windows & Mac):

Basecamp will show your gpx but it needs a map of the area.

We have produced a free map of Devon which can be downloaded and installed on Windows.

Once installed select your map named Topo Southwest

(Garmin calls maps products)

Basecamp screenshot

Route shown in Magenta on Basecamp

How to show Google Earth (KML) files?


Install Google Earth (It's free!)

When double clicking on a KML file , your computer automatically opens it on Google Earth.

Search the net for Google Earth (FREE) ,then download and install.

All our kml files show starting direction in Cyan - see map.

lynmouth walk 1

How to upload FIT files

Modern devices like watches prefer FIT files to GPX files.

Garmin devices :

1) Connect via USB to PC/Mac

2) Drop FIT file into \GARMIN\NEWFILES

3) Go Navigate,Courses and find your route ('course')

4) Some FIT files include directions and 'food' & 'water' stops.

How to view FIT files

Download our FIT ConVerter

Map of South West

We have created a special hiking map for watches clearly showing footpaths , bridleways and many long distance routes.

FREE Downl oad


What are the best satnavs for walking?

For more information and what to look for when buying a GPS

read this .