Newsletter > Newsletter archive > November 2011
Historic parks and smuggling trails
For November’s Countryfile magazine we were asked to pick some of our favourite city parks. Doing the research for the article was a reminder of just how extraordinary their history can be. Some, like Castle Park in Colchester, have witnessed truly gruesome historical events. The Roman temple that once stood in the park was used as a refuge by citizens fleeing Boudicca and her rampaging Iceni tribe. Their attempt to remain safe was in vain; they and thousands more inhabitants of the town were brutally massacred.
Nowadays our town and city parks form a peaceful haven from urban life and are a testament to an age of Victorian benevolence (although the generosity of the benefactors was often laced with a good measure of self-interest). It’s a theme we were keen to cover in our Pathways book, as Britain's municipal parks were the first specially designed places in which the public could stroll for free. In many ways they acted as small-scale models for our much loved National Parks, and even for the more recent ‘right to roam’ legislation, by acknowledging that everyone has a need and a right for open spaces in which to walk.
In the same issue of Countryfile magazine we also had featured one of our ‘smugglers’ trail’ walks. This one, on the borders of Hampshire and West Sussex, passes the site of one of the most horrific murders of the smuggling era. Smugglers were often far from the lovable rogues of fiction and would do anything to protect their lives and freedom. At Harris’ Well one unfortunate victim met his end after being badly beaten and thrown down the well. You can find out more about his sad demise on our Chalton and Ladyholt walk, which is available now as a free sample route. If it’s a subject that whets your appetite there’s a whole chapter on smuggling – a fascinating aspect of British history – in the Pathways book.
It is with great sadness that we report the death of Charles Boldero, one of our earliest contributors and a great advocate of the footpaths of eastern England. For many years Charles and his wife Joy devised walks for their local newspaper. They also published a wide range of books, selling tens of thousands of copies and encouraging visitors and residents to explore the sometimes neglected pathways of Suffolk and Norfolk.
Charles was early to appreciate the benefits of the internet and within just a few years of the launch of Walkingworld the Bolderos had well over 200 walks on the site. Although well into his 80’s Charles’ enthusiasm and zeal for the outdoors remained undimmed; just the day before his death he was photographed for a local newspaper in support of his campaign to keep Norfolk’s footpaths properly cared for (an issue we mentioned in last month’s newsletter). That was typical of the man; he will be hugely missed.
Fancy an epic adventure next summer?
Trailwalker UK 2012 is open for entries and off to a record start with almost 100 teams signed up. Every July, 500 teams take on the 100km challenge and raise over one million pounds for Oxfam and the Gurkha Welfare Trust.
The UK’s largest and most unique walking event covers the South Downs in an average time of 25 hours! It’s tough, but with training, determination and teamwork your team could be crossing that line next summer.
Walkingworld members can sign a team up now for just £100 – this special offer ends 16th December.
Walking with medical conditions
For those who suffer from medical conditions, walking can be a relaxing and beneficial way of keeping healthy. Including a holiday around your walking means you can enjoy the best of both worlds, with relaxing 'down time' as well as exploring the local towns and countryside.
One of the challenges of walking when you have medical conditions is acquiring adequate travel insurance, especially when you want to walk abroad; whilst many companies may be able to cover you they may do so at a hefty price. If you don’t want your walking holiday to be compromised by your medical conditions then it’s a good idea to look around and see what cover is available.
Although some insurance premiums will soar with the addition of medical conditions this isn’t always the case. For example, over-50s insurer Staysure covers 220 pre-existing medical conditions free of charge including conditions such as arthritis, asthma, cancer, diabetes, heart conditions and high blood pressure as long as their criteria is met. If you would like to learn more about Staysure’s insurance products call their insurance experts on 0844 692 8266 (please quote the reference WWN) who will be more than happy to help.
New Year with a difference
If you have the urge to do something a bit different this New Year, why not combine colourful local festivities with some splendid walking beneath the warm winter sun of the southern Mediterranean, while staying in a truly special hotel? Inntravel has a wide range of 3 and 4-night festive breaks including a celebratory gala dinner on New Year’s Eve and car hire, so you can access a number of leisurely, yet invigorating, routes to walk off the excesses of the festive season!
Discover Andalucia with 4 nights at the stylish Hotel La Herriza (pictured here), hidden deep amid the beautiful hills of Grazalema in southern Spain: dance the night away after your sumptuous gala dinner; explore the Sierra de Alcornocales National Park, or relax in Ronda, the most atmospheric of Andalucia’s ‘white towns’. Alternatively, experience the captivating island of Madeira: watch fireworks light up the night sky from the terrace of the luxurious 5-star Quinta do Monte; wander the colourful streets of the capital, Funchal; or follow flower-lined levadas for rewarding walks and spectacular views over dramatic mountain landscapes.
For details of Inntravel’s festive New Year breaks – and many more wonderfully Slow holidays for autumn, winter and spring – order a brochure online or speak to one of their experts by calling 01653 617034.
Wake up to this view
If you are thinking about walking in Spain there is one big problem; you are spoilt for choice! However a good place to start if you wish to explore southern Spain is Periana, a small village less than an hour away from Malaga.
Just outside the village is a small cluster of cottages called Cantueso, shown above. The place has long been popular with individual walkers and groups, offering one and two bedroom self catering cottages in a most spectacular setting. They even provide walking routes and, for some, a major plus is the on-site restaurant with a reputation for some of the best Spanish food in the area. Their web pages have lots of information, videos and even a live webcam. www.cantueso.net
Low cost moving mapping
If you have an Android Smartphone, it will contain a GPS receiver that you can use when walking and there are many applications (‘apps’) that display maps that move with you as you walk. Walkingworld’s licence for Ordnance Survey maps does not cover downloading to a phone but John Thorn has processed the maps available from the Ordnance Survey’s Opendata initiative and added further information from Open Street Map to create maps that are pretty good for navigation in the countryside. These maps are available for a very small subscription within the My Trails app.
One clever feature of this app is that you can use the GPX file from the Walkingworld Digital Mapping Downloads to select the area of map you need for a walk and copy it to use on the walk without needing to be in range of a telephone signal.
Year-long Christmas gifts
Lakeland Walker is the only walking magazine devoted entirely to the Lake District, with detailed walks from experienced contributors in every issue, news from the National Park and equipment reviews. You can subscribe at a special Christmas rate and receive a distinctive Herdy Classic mug worth £10.50 for free. Pay just £7.45 half-yearly by Direct Debit or £14.95 by cheque or credit card yearly (6 issues a year). Call today on 01778 392009, quoting code 85hmweb, or subscribe online. Herdy, incidentally, is a cute and lovable character born out of the Herdwick sheep, a breed that thrives against all odds on the high fells of England’s Lake District and helps sculpt its stunning landscape appreciated. See www.herdy.co.uk
Sales of the 2012 Wainwright Society calendar are going well with over 75% of a 2,000 print-run sold. The calendar is, as always, absolutely beautiful and all the profits go to charity. At just £10 including post and packing it is also very good value for money. As before each month features a sketch by the man himself with today’s view from the same spot, taken by one of the Society’s excellent photographers (all of whom give their work free of charge). If can think of someone who would appreciate the calendar as a present this Christmas best get in reasonably quickly to secure one. It’s available from the Wainwright Society website.
The Wensleydale Wander is an annual fundraising event organised by the Rotary Club of Wensleydale in aid, next year, of Yorkshire Air Ambulance and local charities. There is a choice of two circular walks, one a 22 mile challenge and a shorter one of 12 miles, both starting and finishing in Leyburn. The routes are well sign-posted and marshalled. The longer route will view Lower Wensleydale and Coverdale, taking in some of the Dales prettiest scenery including part of Penhill. The shorter walk includes a very attractive section along the River Ure. Full details of the event on 14th April 2012 are available on the Club website.
In 2013 Ian Innes from Inverurie, Scotland will walk 300 miles in 10 days with a 50lb rucksack on his back to raise money for Help for Heroes. He’s on the lookout for some bits of kit to help with his training and on the challenge itself. Currently his main requirements are a decent 50L or so rucksack, trail shoes and some socks (size 10). If you have something sitting in a cupboard looking for a new owner you can contact him through us. Find out more on his website.