Newsletter > Newsletter archive > January 2016

January 2016

On the drovers' roads
This month's newsletter is packed with ideas for great holidays both in the UK and abroad, food for thought at the beginning of the year. Holidaying is fun, but of course traveling by foot in the past was seldom for pleasure, as this month's chapter from our Pathways book reminds us. For several centuries the drovers' roads were the highways for real food, being brought alive from the furthermost reaches of our islands to the burgeoning towns and cities.

The extent of livestock transport today can be a cause of concern - its scale featured heavily in the devastating foot and mouth outbreak at the beginning of this century - but the herding of everything from cattle to geese over long distances is nothing new. There are signs of droving and the roads the drovers used in many parts of the country, if you know what to look for.

Droving had an impact on our financial systems too, as drovers were some of the earliest users of banks. Banking allowed them to reduce the risk of robbery once their walking cargo had been turned into cash. Drovers were licensed to carry arms but it was no doubt infinitely better not to have money on you as you made your way home.

You can catch up on the whole story in the 'Drovers' roads' chapter of Pathways published this month on the website, or get the whole book in Kindle or paperback editions.

Walking holidays in the Pyrenees
The Hike Pyrenees 2016 brochure is now available with details of their enticing walking holidays in the Spanish Pyrenees. They specialise in personal, small group holidays and offer both guided and self guided options. They're surrounded by spectacular scenery and the highest peaks in the range.

New for 2016 is their 'Villages of the Guara Natural Park' holiday. This offers hotel to hotel walking between the remote villages of the Sierra de Guara with your bags moved each day. There is fantastic hiking amongst limestone gorges and abandoned villages. The park has perfect early season hiking weather in April and May as well as the autumn.

Order their summer 2016 brochure or visit their website for more information.

Walking in Italy's Piano Grande
The Monte Sibillini National Park is an ideal destination for walkers seeking the ultimate escape amid a wild and remote corner of central Italy. Beginning and ending in the 'foodie' town of Norcia, this well-marked loop takes in the breathtakingly beautiful and villages of 'unknown' Umbria. With soaring limestone peaks, vast grassy uplands and forest trails, the Piano Grande is a spectacular natural amphitheatre crowned by the dreamy village of Castellucio. Visit in early summer to see the meadows carpeted in magnificent wildflowers; and look out, too, for a remarkable variety of wildlife, including deer, chamois, wild boar and even the elusive wolf.

Sibillini Apennines & the Piano Grande is the latest self-guided hotel-to-hotel walking holiday in Italy from Inntravel, which combines neatly with Olive Groves, Vineyards & Abbeys to make a fabulous two-week walking adventure through the heart of Umbria. Starting in the shadow of the Assisi's remarkable Basilica di San Francisco, the route winds its way through lush countryside and picturesque hilltop villages like Montefalco and Spoleto, before ascending into the Sibillini Apennines and the wide grassy plains of the Piano Grande.

For more details on Inntravel's walking holidays in Italy, see or speak to their expert team on 01653 617034.

Sibillini Apennines & the Piano Grande
- Prices from £798pp, incl. 7 nights' B&B accommodation, 5 dinners, 2 picnics, detailed route guides
- Flights extra (direct from several UK regional airports)
- Available 14 May-17 July and 27 August-16 October 2016

Alpujarra walking holidays with writer Chris Stewart
As a walking holiday destination, the Alpujarra (southern slopes of the Sierra Nevada mountains in Andalucia) ticks all the boxes. It's wild and beautiful, untamed and unspoilt with a great variety of walks, from high mountain hikes to gentler routes through orchards and white villages. The area is a haven for wildlife - with eagles, ibex and wild flowers in abundance - and a landscape steeped in history from the time of the Moors.

And who better to guide you here than Chris Stewart, author of best-seller 'Driving Over Lemons'? He'll take you on his favourite walks, invite you to lunch at his farm, and entertain you with many stories about life in the Alpujarra. The walks include the Sierra Nevada and the Poqueira and Trevelez river valleys, plus a guided day in Granada exploring the city's medieval sights.

Back at Casa Ana in the white village of Ferreirola, there are glasses of wine and cold beers on the terrace at sunset, gourmet dinners, hearty breakfasts, comfy beds and good company.

For further details contact Anne Hunt at or visit the Casa Ana website.

Walking with Chris Stewart
- Next holidays: 23 - 30 April, 21 - 28 May, 17 - 24 September, 15 - 22 October
- Prices from 1275 euros incl. 7 nights B&B at Casa Ana; picnics, lunches, dinners each day; a day exploring Granada with  gastronomic lunch; excursions, local transport and guides
- Price does not include flights or airport transfers

Win a weekend away - last chance
There are just a few days left to enter the special competition for Walkingworld members giving you the chance of winning a self-guided walking break for two adults, worth up to £600, at one of HF Holidays' beautiful Country House locations.

Each of the nineteen properties is unique, from Georgian mansions to Victorian estates and even three in the care of the National Trust. They are all geared to the needs of walkers and outdoor enthusiasts, with hearty local food, a legendary picnic lunch, and excellent boot and drying room facilities, along with a free Ordnance Survey map to help you explore the area.

To enter the competition just give your details on the competition form on the HF Holidays website. The competition is open until the end of the month.

Update on Ibiza and Formentera maps
The Discovery Walking Guides crowd funding project for Ibiza and Formentera Maps is proving a bit onerous for those simply wanting to buy individual maps, interesting though it was as a concept. So now the new maps are available as 'Pre-Publication Offers' with payment by PayPal, which is a whole lot simpler. All the current pre-publication offers can be found on the DWG website.

'You too can trek the Pyrenees'
A new book says that anyone 'reasonably fit' can rise to the challenge of traversing Europe's most iconic mountain frontier, the Pyrenees. 'Space for Wonder: A Guide to Trekking the Mountain Frontier of the Pyrenees' by Gordon Wilson is published this month and provides a comprehensive guide to the long distance trail. The book draws on the experience of Gordon and his partner who reckon they have walked the entire route, in various ways, at least two and half times since their first foray in 2001. The inspiration for Space for Wonder came from what the couple saw as shortcomings in previously published guides to the Pyrenean trails, which tended to play up the physical difficulty of the challenge.

'Space for Wonder' provides anybody contemplating this epic trek with all they need to know to turn their initial idea into reality. Gordon describes the physical nature of the mountains, as well as the weather and the people and animals that live there. He offers invaluable advice on how to get there; what to take; how to minimise the load; how and what to eat; and where to stay. The guide is available as an e-book and as a 'real' paperback.  

British Heart Foundation UK treks
The British Heart Foundation has a whole raft of walking challenges lined up for 2016, right across the year. The hikes include Hadrian's Wall and walks from London to Brighton and Glasgow to Edinburgh, as well as the 3 Peaks in Yorkshire and an 8 Peak trek in the Lake District. The Brecon Beacons and the Peak District also feature, so there's something for everybody. The latter two are TrekFest events, at which you can fundraise for a charity of your choice. Find out more on the British Heart Foundation website.

Capability Brown at Blenheim Palace
A new exhibition celebrating the 300th anniversary of one of our greatest landscape designers is to open at Blenheim Palace on February 13th. Blenheim Palace was one of 'Capability' Brown's most significant projects. Commissioned by the 4th Duke of Marlborough in 1763, he spent a total of eleven years transforming the Palace's parkland which, although on the face of it looking quite natural, was 'contrived to pleasing effect'.

The new exhibition features maps, plans, paintings, pictures, costumes and historic artefacts, along with a reconstruction of one of Brown's famous tree-moving machines.

Member news
Members can again enjoy an exclusive discount on the very popular independent walking package offered by Richard & Alex Johnson in the Lot Department of France. Established for more than 10 years, they have designed a series of self-led walks that take in some of the most beautiful countryside and villages of southwest France. Based at their award winning guesthouse, the holiday includes 7 nights B&B and 6 four course evening dinners using fresh local ingredients. Normally priced at 420 euros per person, members qualify for a reduced price of 390 euros if they complete their booking before the end of March 2016. Please mention 'WW offer 2016' when making an enquiry. Prices are based on two persons sharing a double room. For more information, visit