Newsletter > Newsletter archive > February 2012

February 2012

Doing your bit for England

Black Swan HotelGreat efforts are being made to promote the United Kingdom as a destination during 2012, partly to build on the exposure generated by the Olympic Games this summer. Some involved in tourism are concerned that the Games will actually put visitors off, thanks to worries about pricing for accommodation and overcrowding on our transport systems. We’ll have to see if those worries prove to be unfounded; one has to wonder how many prospective visitors really do think the UK starts and ends in London.

In the meantime the folk at 'enjoyEngland' would like to encourage us to kick-start the 2012 season by taking part in an ‘English Tourism Week’, running between the 10th and 18th March. Well it doesn’t seem such a hardship to go out and enjoy some English countryside, especially as during that week the worst of the winter should be past and the sun is almost bound to be shining. Not that we are making any guarantees on that count.

In our own neck of the woods, the beautiful, historically fascinating and sometimes cruelly overlooked Eden Valley in Cumbria, our ‘Walkers are Welcome’ group have put together some special offers for the week at local guesthouses and hotels. Do have a look at the Walkeden website to see if a stay in a ‘castle’ or in a remote Georgian farmhouse appeals to you. If it does happen to rain there’s usually a blazing open fire to sit and read by. For our part we have made a couple of our favourite local walks, on Wild Boar Fell and at Smardale Nature Reserve, free to download (click the 'Free sample walks' link on the Walkingworld homepage).

Funding opportunity for walks groups
walk partnership logoBritain’s guided walks operator, Ramblers Worldwide Holidays, has just launched what they are calling ‘The Walking Partnership’. Their aim is to champion walking at the ‘grass roots’ level by helping walking groups and clubs throughout the UK raise a little extra funding. These include local Ramblers groups but it’s not restricted to them;  ‘University of the 3rd Age’ walking groups and other local organisations and clubs can also take part.

The scheme is simple enough. Walking groups register with Ramblers Worldwide Holidays as partners and then receive a financial contribution for every member booking a Ramblers Worldwide (or Countrywide) Holiday. Walking groups get £10 per person booked on UK holidays, £20 per person booked on short haul holidays and £30 per person booked on long haul holidays (there’s an extensive portfolio in each category to choose from). The funding for the scheme is coming directly from Ramblers Worldwide Holidays and it costs nothing for a walking group to join up.

Pink Ribbonwalk 2012
The Pink Ribbonwalk 2012, in association with woman&home, can be joined at one of five stunning locations. Escape to the countryside for a 10 or 20 mile fundraising walk with breathtaking views and an amazing atmosphere and help raise funds for people affected by breast cancer. The dates and venues are as follows:
Pinkribbon walkers12 May – Scone Palace, Perthshire
19 May – Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire
26 May – Petworth House, West Sussex
9 June – Cholmondeley Castle, Cheshire
16 June – Marble Hill, Twickenham, London

Register now at www.pinkribbonwalk.org.uk or call 0870 145 0101.

Quote promotional code PINK29 to be entered into a prize draw to win two tickets to Breast Cancer Care’s Carols by Candlelight Service in December 2012.

Umbria – Italy at its best
Carla LenziInntravel’s Italian consultant, Carla Lenzi loves Umbria and reckons it’s one of the best places in Italy for a walking holiday. “It’s just so wonderfully, beautifully and gorgeously green, for a start,” she enthuses, “the vivid landscape, with its endless curves and undulating ridges, creates an ethereal atmosphere that really captures the imagination.”  

It was this boundless enthusiasm that first tempted Inntravel to explore the dramatic Monti Sibillini National Park and the result is a walk that explores Italy’s Green Heart, from hill-top Spoleto to the ancient walled town of Norcia. You can discover hidden Romanesque churches and abbeys where masterpieces adorn the walls; wander through some of the wildest scenery you could ever hope to find, and enjoy fabulous rustic cuisine featuring local sausages and salamis, cheeses and truffles, washed down with the robust reds of Montefalco. This is a land that the Italians love and it’s easy to see why. 

Carla continues to seek out those hidden corners of Italy, many of which feature in Inntravel’s Walking and more brochure for 2012. Order a copy online or speak to one of Inntravel’s experts by calling 01653 617034.

Book review: The 1066 Country Walk
1066 country walk coverIf you fancy a fairly gentle weekend walk following in the footsteps of William the Conqueror, Nick Brown has written a new guide to the 1066 Country Walk. He has split the route into six stages, some of which are very short so you can certainly do more than one in a day if you are walking the route end to end. Alternatively Nick has devised a series of circular walks taking in some of the best parts of the 1066 route, such as Battle Abbey and the Brede Valley near Icklesham.

While it's not a high production value publication Nick Brown's guide is thorough, describing the route in more than adequate detail and providing plenty of useful background information, plus some 'potted history'. The maps are hand drawn so you will almost certainly want a proper Ordnance Survey map; OS Explorer 124 does the job. Cover price is £10.99. More on the author's website.

Do you need an app to find a beer?
Well, maybe. Apparently thousands of ale lovers across the UK are using a new ‘CaskFinder’ app to track down pubs serving their favourite ales and to earn rewards for having a pint. Using the phone camera, they scan the QR codes placed on Cask Marque certificates in the 8,000 accredited pubs and bars across the UK. The app records the hostelries visited and you get prizes for reaching the milestones of 25, 50 and 100 pubs. Once you have scanned 100 (which would, admittedly, show uncommon dedication to the cause) you become a Cask Marque ambassador. You can then spend a day with an assessor, visiting pubs to see how Cask Marque ensure a quality pint and presumably doing a bit of ‘quality control’ of your own. If this sounds like your idea of fun the CaskFinder app is available to download for free for both iPhone and Android, from their respective app markets.

Charity challenges and events
The South Downs Way Hiking Challenge sees you joining a small group hiking from Winchester to Eastbourne over five days (1st – 5th June).The registration fee of £100 includes all accommodation, meals, bag transfer, a guide, and welcome and celebratory drinks and buffet. You need to pledge to raise £500 for Dreams Come True, helping to fulfill the wishes of terminally and seriously ill children. www.dctc.org.uk

Just Walk, now in its sixth year, takes place on Saturday 12 May at Goodwood Racecourse. Four walks of different lengths from 10km to 60km leave the racecourse in the morning, all wending their way through the South Downs. Adult registration costs from £25 for the 10km walk to £70 for the 60km walk including hot drinks, food for those on longer walks and a T-shirt for all those who complete the walk. Registration is online via www.acrossthedivide.com/just-walk. Once registered you are free to start raising sponsorship for the charity of your choice.

First Steps Himalaya, along with two other charities working in Nepal, has been chosen to be part of Purple Cake Day this year. The charity plans to construct purpose-built early childhood centres, establish school-based satellite early childhood centres in rural Sindhupalchok and  support children in  a number of government primary schools with resources and training. Purple Cake Day is all about kids (and big kids!) helping other kids who are less fortunate. You can download the Nepal Resource Pack (www.purplecakeday.org) which is full of fundraising ideas.

The Winchcombe Cotswolds Walking Festival, 18-20th May, offers 17 guided walks for all abilities. For 2012, the festival walks programme includes part of the Cotswold Way National Trail with the Trail Officer;  the Windrush Way from Winchcombe to Bourton-on-the-Water; Winchcombe’s history during the two World Wars; an insight into life in and around Sudeley Castle in Tudor times; and many more. www.winchcombewelcomeswalkers.com/festival

Free torches!
The Lake District’s Mountain Rescue teams stress the importance of carrying a good torch in your pack (see the Safe in the Hills website for more advice). Lakeland Walker is the only walking magazine devoted entirely to the Lake District, with detailed walks, advice and news in every issue, and it’s offering a free torch to new subscribers. The Mini Maglite is a tough little torch that could get you off the hill after dark and save you the embarrassment of having to call for help. Subscribe to Lakeland Walker at a special rate and you’ll receive the torch worth £27.99 for free. Pay just £9.50 half-yearly by Direct Debit (6 issues a year) to receive this gift. Call today on 01778 392009 quoting code 87ML or subscribe online. Visit www.lakeland-walker.com to find out more about the magazine.

Wye Valley breaks
Walk Herefordshire and The Hostelrie at Goodrich are offering an all inclusive 3 day walking break with a tour guide in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty along with a 4 night dinner, B & B stay in a 16th Century Gothic Hotel for just £340 per person. The area adjoining the River Wye between Hereford and Monmouth was designated as an AONB in 1971. The river was central for transport, trade and communication and the Wye tour of the 18th century heralded the start of British tourism. To view the hotel facilities, menus and events visit http://www.thehostelrieatgoodrich.vom and contact Dennis Downey of Walk Herefordshire on 01568 614411 or 07787 331 863 or email info@walkherefordshire.com for more information.

And finally...
Professor Robin Grove-White, The High Sheriff of Anglesey and Gwynedd, and his wife Helen are raising funds for charity by tackling ‘The Walk’, a 125 mile trek around Anglesey’s coastal path, over 15 days at the end of March 2012. There are lots of fundraising events to get involved with. See www.crimebeatnorthwales.co.uk/thewalk/