Newsletter > Newsletter archive > May 2011
Our big book is out in a few weeks
The launch of our book, ‘Pathways’, is imminent so it is definitely time to tell you more about it. Two years ago we sat in a meeting in the offices of The Guardian, pondering over what type of books keen walkers might want to read. There are plenty of route guides already stacked along the shelves of bookshops and, anyway, we are naturally of the view that an online guide is much more convenient. Our minds turned to history, and we wondered whether anyone had taken a comprehensive look at the myriad paths that criss-cross our country. What were their hidden histories and who were the people who had walked them before us?
Our investigation unearthed some surprising stories and far more types of path than we could ever have imagined. Of course there were the tracks and roads employed through the ages for trade, including the packhorse routes and drovers’ roads that formed the mainstay of the British transport system for centuries. Others, like the Roman roads and early medieval dykes were primarily dedicated to the exercise of military power. But then we found other paths with less earthly purposes; pilgrimage ways, obviously, but also prehistoric processional routes and the grim ‘corpse ways’ used to carry the dead from remote settlements to the mother church. Later paths came to be laid specifically for leisure, along seaside promenades and through municipal parks, where the masses could share something of the pleasures of the wealthy on their private and carefully landscaped estates.
For us, writing the book and taking all the photographs featured in it has been a fascinating journey. We have discovered that many of our contemporary feelings and attitudes about walking have deep roots in the past. If you would like to pre-order a copy of ‘Pathways’ we’ll send you one as soon after the publication date of the 16th June as possible. Up to that date we have a special offer – a copy of the book for the publication price of £20 with free post and packing (within mainland UK). If you would like the book signed by the authors please make a note in the ‘Any comments’ field and we’ll happily do that for you.
Pre-order 'Pathways' now
Lifting the veil on the past of our woodlands
Still continuing on the historical theme, in April we had an article on historic woodlands published in a Guardian/Observer supplement '100 Great British Woodlands and Forests'. It's not available on the Guardian website so we've put it on ours, in case you missed it when it came out in print. You can read all about mines, poaching, charcoal burning, water mills and royal hunting parties – in fact lots of raucous activities that you would barely imagine in the tranquil glades of today.
The article features ten specific woodlands but the historical evidence can be found in most woods and forests, the vast majority of which have been worked environments at some time in their past. It might just inspire you to root around in your local wood to see what you can find. Read the article
An idyllic walking base on Crete
On the beautiful island of Crete you can walk amid the magnificent White Mountains, where cascading streams lead from traditional hill-top villages through pine woods and olive groves and down to a coast of rocky headlands and long white sandy beaches. Holiday company Inntravel is offering a week at the splendid Elia Traditional Hotel & Spa, with 7 days’ included car hire, so you can explore, walk or relax at your own pace.
Inntravel’s carefully researched and detailed route notes enable you to learn about the Traditions & History of Crete on a number of varied walks through the lush hillsides, or explore the pretty Venetian town of Chania, before returning to your peaceful base at the Elia. Set amid colourful gardens, it boasts an excellent terrace restaurant beneath fragrant lemon trees and a Turkish bath, sauna and swimming pool - the perfect way to refresh yourself as you contemplate your next walk through the surrounding countryside.
To find out more about walking holidays in Greece, you can order your Inntravel brochure online, or speak to one of their experts by calling 01653 617034.
Annapurna Circuit trek
First Steps Himalaya is running a Manang to Mustang trek on part of the Annapurna Circuit from September 24th to October 13th. Led by Durga Aran, Founding Director of the charity, the trek climbs from pretty rice terraces, through narrow gorges, to the stunning Manang Valley surrounded by some of the highest Himalayan peaks. The route crosses the Thorong La Pass at 5,416 metres to reach Mustang and the medieval villages of the Kali Ghandaki valley. The charity’s treks support sustainable tourism by staying in locally run village guest houses.
First Steps Himalaya is a New Zealand registered charitable trust, running early childhood projects in Nepali hill villages. They offer the experience of combining your trek with a hands-on visit to their community projects, staying in village homestay accommodation. The price of the trek (excluding flights to Kathmandu) is £1350, with all profits going to the charity. Find out more
Peter Gordon has two rental holiday homes in wonderful walking country near Granada which are heavily booked for July and August but often empty in May and June – a shame as it really is the best time of the year for walking in inland Andalucía. So he’s offering10% off for Walkingworld members during this period – when car hire and air fares are more competitive and there are no crowds. Bookings can be made for any period to help get cheap flights, too. Both houses take six but there is a reduced price for a couple. Members can find out more including rates and availability on the Homeholidays website. Casa Morisca is ref no n° 6731 and Casa Molino n° 233727 or you can ring Peter on 0034 69525 98 09.