Newsletter > Newsletter archive > July 2016
A stroll around our municipal parks
In the 1830s a Government committee made one of the most influential interventions in our urban life. It recommended the creation of public parks in every town and city. The report argued for the public park as a place where people could walk, play sport and be entertained. A further objective was to provide a venue where Britain's classes could mix and improve themselves, although of course there was the implicit assumption that the working classes were the ones in the greater need of improvement!
The new municipal spaces were tightly controlled. Parks were often locked at night and sometimes even on Sundays, since visiting the park should not clash with going to church. Alcohol was generally banned and sports had to be 'appropriate'. Park keepers were renowned for strict enforcement of the rules, though sometimes their advanced age was bemoaned as they struggled to keep the local youth in check.
The lofty ideals behind many of the parks fell quickly by the wayside. Some were initially planted out with exotic species that could not survive the polluted city air. Few now have more than a small contingent of hard working maintenance staff. However over time most have reached a state of slightly shabby equilibrium and the public park has become one of the best loved of British institutions. This month you can read our chapter on Municipal Parks from the Pathways book and follow a walk through an elongated municipal park in the city of Bristol.
Hidden Britain revealed
For nearly two years now we have been featuring the quirkier parts of Britain in a weekly column in The Big Issue. We have covered everything from a strike school to the crater left by the country's biggest explosion, with smugglers' chapels, deserted villages, ancient dykes, inhabited caves and a few prehistoric monuments along the way. Every 'Hidden Britain' location is found on one of walks, which readers can download for free for a week or so after publication.
We are very proud to be associated with a magazine that is not only a good read but which also provides a living to those who have found themselves homeless or at a difficult point in their lives. Big Issue sellers buy their own stock and sell it at a profit, so they are getting a hand up, not a handout. Please do support their micro-businesses and maybe you'll find an intriguing example of 'Hidden Britain' inside. You can catch up on past ones from the past couple of years on The Big Issue website.
Rambling and Riesling in the Moselle
Amid the rolling hills of south-west Germany, near the border with Luxembourg, the silvery-blue serpentine ribbon of the River Moselle winds its way through vine-terraced slopes and historic villages.
This is the setting for Inntravel's self-guided walking holiday, Meanders of the Moselle, which explores the remarkably steep vineyards of this beautiful valley - and offers plenty of opportunities to sample the region's refreshing Riesling wines along the way.
The starting point is the historic city of Trier, one of the region's seven enchanting 'Romantic Cities'. Its Mediterranean vibe, with gelato stands, alfresco cafés and restaurant terraces, goes arm-in-arm with romance, and is complemented by a plethora of fascinating Roman ruins, not least the massive Porta Nigra gateway.
One recent Inntravel customer "loved the mix of getting boats buses and trains to complement the journeys and enjoyed the fabulous walking with plenty of variety and superb views". Follow sections of the well-waymarked Moselsteig Trail to experience all this and to witness the timeless wine-growing traditions of this famous river valley - most notably in early autumn when the streets come alive with the colourful festivals and wine fairs of the annual Grape Harvest.
For more details on Inntravel's walking holidays in Germany, visit inntravel.co.uk or speak to their expert team on 01653 617034.
Meanders of the Moselle
- Self-guided hotel-hotel walking holiday
- Prices from £670pp, inc 7 nights' B&B accommodation, 2 dinners, 1 picnic, & detailed route notes
- Flights extra (direct from several UK regional airports)
- Available now until 9 October 2016
A bigger national park
On Monday the Yorkshire Dales National Park will grow by nearly a quarter as its boundary expands to include a small part of Lancashire and a larger part of Cumbria. The new area of the park includes the Orton Fells, the northern Howgill Fells, Wild Boar Fell and Mallerstang to the north and, to the west, Barbon, Middleton, Casterton and Leck Fell. The Lake District National Park is being extended on the same day to take in a number of additional fells.
The Upper Eden community, based around the market town of Kirkby Stephen, is celebrating the extension at a 'Westmorland Dales Day' centred on the town on Sunday July 31st. As well as a number of guided walks, there is a chance for runners and cyclists to take part in events exploring the new National Park area. There are also free rides on a Cumbria Classic Bus around the area. Walkingworld's David Stewart is leading a walk on the fascinating Stennerskeugh Clouds, a limestone pavement which now falls within the National Park. You can join him or any other of the walks at no cost, but do make sure you sign up on the Kirkby Stephen website.
Wainwright Society 2017 calendar
Every year we're pleased to promote the Wainwright Society calendar. It always features superb images and the proceeds go to a series of good causes. Once again, the 2017 format includes photographs of the Lake District taken by Society members, together with line drawings and quotations from the works of Alfred Wainwright.
This time profits from the sale of the calendar will be donated to the Lake District Calvert Trust for the renovation of Bowderstone Bothy. This will enable the Calvert Trust's disabled visitors to have an overnight remote camping experience. The bothy is situated in the heart of Borrowdale. It is also close to the Trust's accessible abseil site where a specially adapted Larkin Frame, as used by the local mountain rescue teams, provides an exhilarating experience to the disabled visitors, who are able to leave their wheelchairs even if only for a short time to descend the 70-feet crag.
The 2017 issue is out now. The price is still just £10 including delivery, purchased direct from the Society website.
A Northumbrian challenge
Online retailer and adventure specialist, Above & Beyond, is holding a two-day outdoor event based in Northumberland called The Challenge, on 20th-21st August. After a night of free camping at Ingram participants are bussed to Kirk Yetholm in Scotland. From there, they have to navigate to Clennell Hall in Northumberland National Park and back the following day. They can choose the precise route but must hit a series of check points along the way. Whatever the route those taking part can expect to cover some 40 miles of beautiful terrain over the two days.
Entry for The Challenge is £45, including camping, and everyone who enters the event is entered into a prize draw for £500 of outdoor equipment from top brands. The event is in support of St Oswald’s Hospice, a charity providing specialist hospice care to North East adults, young people and children with life-limiting conditions.