Newsletter > Newsletter archive > June 2017

June 2017


Not too much change, please!
In the latest bout of good weather we’ve been checking out a few walks on which we have had issues reported. Our library of walks is, to some extent, a barometer of how the countryside has changed, and continues to change, over the past seventeen years (yes, that's how long it's been since Walkingworld was started). Stiles are gradually turning into gates, riverside paths are eroding and some permissive paths have closed, the latter counterbalanced by a massive opening up of 'Open Access' areas. Even more commonly we are told of pubs that have shut up shop and become private houses. Tea shops and cafes, on the other hand, seem to be on the rise.

A couple of weeks ago we followed up a report on one of our very earliest walks, with the ID number 16. It was submitted by David’s father John who lived in the Cotswolds, so this was one of his local favourites although not one we had ever accompanied him on. It was a delight to find much of the countryside largely unchanged, with just a few posts missing and the occasional new gate and stile. The old schoolhouse had turned into the village hall, which is, we suppose, second best to it remaining as a school. Better still the pub at the start of the walk was clearly thriving, though some might find its wines and gastro menu a tad pricey. It was a hot day, so we settled for an ice cold ginger beer.

Please keep reporting on anything that’s changed on the walks, using the ‘Add a comment’ facility on the walk summary page. Our contributors will go out and check walks as soon as they can, although if you can take a photo to illustrate what’s happened that can be very useful. Nothing stays the same, but as we have been discovering, the countryside still has that timeless quality we all seek.

Walking in the Dolomites
There are few mountain ranges that capture the imagination quite like the Dolomites in South Tyrol, where walkers are constantly surprised by the variety and splendour of the landscapes which encompass eight nature reserves and one national park.

On Inntravel's self-guided walking holidays here, the routes are challenging, yet hugely rewarding, and provide countless opportunities for exploration on foot: moving from hotel-to-hotel Towards the Dolomites or amid The High Dolomites; or a thrilling discovery of the Dolomites' Three Peaks, the famed Tre Cime, where jagged mountains and emerald lakes make the Pusteria Valley a true walkers' paradise.

But the Dolomites are far from being South Tyrol's only draw. Inntravel also offers two walking holidays in the impressive Ă–tztaler Alps to the west: The High Alpine Way, which promises exhilarating hotel-to-hotel walking high above the Val Venosta, and Traditions of South Tyrol, a centre-based holiday in the tranquil Senales Valley, both of which offer the opportunity to stay overnight in a high mountain refuge.

For more details on Inntravel's walking holidays in South Tyrol, see inntravel.co.uk or speak to their expert team on 01653 617034.

The Dolomites' Three Peaks
- Hotel-to-Hotel, self-guided walking holiday
- Prices from £935pp, inc 7 nights’ half-board accommodation, 3 picnics, detailed route notes & maps
- Flights extra (direct from several UK regional airports)
- Available from 21 June to 4 October 2017

Winter walking in the Alpujarras and Sierra Nevada National Park
February is a wonderful time to walk in this area of Spain: the high mountain peaks glisten with caps of snow, and skies are the purest blue. Lower down there are almond orchards in full bloom trumpeting that spring is here, whilst the tang of woodsmoke reaches you from village firesides. It’s warm during the day and crisp at night and it doesn’t get dark until 7 o’clock.

Your base for the week of 17-24th February is Casa Ana, a gem of a guest house in Ferreirola, in the Alpujarras, and your hosts are Anne the owner (herself a keen walker), Chris Stewart, author of ‘Driving over Lemons’, plus experienced guides to lead walks into the hills.

Highlights of the holiday are snow-shoeing in the Sierra Nevada National Park (equipment provided), a walk through almond groves in full flower with writer Chris Stewart and Alpujarra countryside walks along the Poqueira and Trevelez river valleys. Down on the south coast, there’s a walk on the cliffs and lunch on the beach. There’s a visit to a local winery for sampling Alpujarra wines and evenings at the house encompass delicious dinners, chestnuts roasted on a wood-burning stove and mulled wine for all. A superb winter get-away.

Casa Ana holidays
- Single centre walking holiday
- From 1195 euros for 7 nights
- Included:  accommodation and breakfasts at Casa Ana, 5 picnics or lunches, 6 dinners, excursions, local transport, snow-shoeing equipment and guides
- Not included: flights, airport transfers, one lunch, some refreshments

Festival of Archaeology
The annual CBA Festival of Archaeology is now the world's biggest archaeology event, with activities all around the country from the 15th-30th July. Events are organised by CBA (Council for British Archaeology) members and include hands-on activities for families, behind the scenes tours and guided walks, special exhibitions, excavations and workshops, re-enactments and finds identification days. The online event listings are updated daily, with new events right up to the start of the Festival.

Lakes Alive
Lakes Alive is a free event offering a weekend (8-10 September) of 'happenings' in and around Kendal and the wider Lake District National Park. With the theme of 'Cultural Landscapes' it will showcase world class art in unexpected locations. Last year around 20,000 people attended Lakes Alive. Visitors experienced vibrant illuminations, digital delights, intimate performances, amazing installations and spectacular happenings. Sounds fun.

Sitting with Jane
'Sitting With Jane' is a public art trail made up of 24 'BookBenches', each designed with a Jane Austen theme to celebrate the famous author's birthplace and home for 25 years of her life, 200 years after she died. Austen was born in Steventon, just a few miles from Basingstoke. Each BookBench acts not only as a work of art but also as a piece of street furniture for all to sit on and contemplate the artist, the novelist or just the landscape where it is located. It forms part of a worldwide celebration of Jane Austen's life.

The BookBenches have been designed and painted by a range of artists and are being installed in locations around Basingstoke and Deane borough as well as in Alton, Chawton and at Winchester Cathedral. A free app is available to guide you around the trail and a trail map is available at local outlets.

Any budding poets out there?
The Resurgence Poetry Prize, now in its third year, aims to encourage poets to engage with ecology, and to foster the role poetry can play in highlighting the ecological imperatives of our time. The £5,000 first prize will be augmented this year with a writer's residency at White House Farm in Suffolk.  The second prize is £2000, and the third £1000. The results will be announced at a ceremony at the Poetry in Aldeburgh Festival, 3-5 November 2017. Previous winners of the prize are Luisa Igloria, the Filipina American writer (2015), and Rob Miles, poet and lecturer in Spanish at the University of Hull (2016).

Details of this year's competition can be found on the Resurgence Poetry Prize website. Closing date for entries is 17 August.