Newsletter > Newsletter archive > November 2017

November 2017


Hunting down our industrial heritage
Winter is a great time to get out and discover elements of our industrial heritage. Some of the transport links created during the industrial revolution have disappeared under tarmac, but all around our towns and cities the remnants of old tramways, railway lines, canals and waterways are waiting to be found. A big bonus at this time of year is that they generally make for gentler going, perfect for a few hours stroll on a crisp, but short, winter's day.

A few weeks ago we checked out a fascinating walk just outside Keynsham, near Bristol. The 'Dramway', as the local horse tramway was known, pops up along the route, as does a restored steam railway (pictured right). The Dramway served a nearby colliery, connecting it with the River Avon where barges took the coal onwards to Bristol, Bath and beyond. At one point the walk zigzags down a steep incline where counter-balanced wagons took the coal down to the tramway, a neat piece of engineering ingenuity.

There are hundreds of walks in the Walkingworld library on which you'll come across such treasures. If you haven't already done so, please do download the Walkingworld app. Just search on the Google and Apple app stores for 'Walkingworld' to find it. It's ideal for making your way around the routes, especially if you want to find something at short notice.

No more squashy bananas
On your behalf we've been tasting some new banana snack bars. The concept is a worthy one, to take some of the bananas that would go to waste for being too ugly or over-ripe for the supermarket and squish them into a bar with some fruit, vegetables and spices. Bananas are pretty good fuel sources but carrying them on a walk is fraught with difficulty. This way you get them in a neat little package.

The SNACT bars come in three flavour combinations – apple and cinnamon, carrot and spice and beetroot and cacao. The bars are dinky but solid, and quite tasty. They are vegan, gluten free, devoid of artificial flavourings, colourants and sweeteners and the wrappers compost naturally. You should be able to get them in health food stores but they're also available online in packs of five for around £6 (orders over £20 post free) from www.snact.co.uk

Explore Europe's best cities on foot
Exploring a city on foot gets you closer to the essence of the place, especially in the company of a knowledgeable guide. For 2018 HF Holidays has put together several itineraries, each lasting three or four days, delving into the culture and history of some of Europe's finest cities. All their guided city breaks include centrally located accommodation, a full programme of sightseeing and the services of experienced HF Holidays leaders.

New for 2018 are breaks to Dubrovnik, the ‘Pearl of the Adriatic' and Krakow, Poland's former capital. You can visit the Old Town of Dubrovnik, walk the 16th century city walls and visit the neighbouring island of Lokrum. Or you can wander through Krakow's medieval town squares and visit the astonishing Wieliczka Salt Mines and the old Jewish quarter, along with poignant Auschwitz-Birkenau.

On a break to Barcelona there's the city's abundance of art, parks and fascinating architecture to discover, including all things Gaudí from the towering Sagrada Famílía to the colourful Parc Güell and the famous Casa Milà. Foodies will love this city, with a host of culinary delights to sample from fideuà, paella's noodle cousin, to crema catalana, the ancestor of creme brulée.

There is a wealth of culture and history to be found on a jam-packed break to Berlin, from The Reichstag to the mighty Brandenburg Gate. A visit here wouldn't be complete without stopping by Checkpoint Charlie and the Berlin Wall and taking a look around the remarkable Jewish Museum, Neue Synagogue and the Reichstag Dome.

Discovering the beauty of Venice on foot is a revelation. You can view the city from the waterways as you hop between the islands of Murano, Burano and Torcello, visit St Mark's Square with its Basilica and Doge's Palace and stroll across the stunning Rialto Bridge, the oldest bridge across the Grand Canal.

To find out more or to book visit www.hfholidays.co.uk or call 0345 470 7558.

Canal open days
If you are interested in the history of our canal network the Canal & River Trust is running a series of open days throughout the winter. It could be a chance to venture to the bottom of a drained lock chamber to see how they are maintained. Lock gate making and fitting is a skilled and traditional trade and one that remains essential to the waterways. Lock gates are constructed with tremendous strength to control huge water pressure and survive for a long time underwater. Each lock gate is hand-crafted by a skilled team of carpenters and made from British oak. A single lock gate can take up to 20 days to make and has a working life of 25-30 years.

The open days are part of the Trust's yearly restoration and repair programme, with £38 million being spent this year restoring tunnels, bridges, channels and 250 lock gates across the country. The open days are free to attend. To find out more about your nearest open day and to check dates and times visit www.canalrivertrust.org.uk

Present ideas
A gift subscription to Walkingworld should go down well with your walking friends and relations. It costs the standard subscription price of £18 and it can be used to start a subscription whenever the recipient wants. With the release of the Walkingworld app it is even better value than ever, providing OS 1:50,000 Landranger and 1:25,000 Explorer maps on which to follow the routes.

The Wainwright Society Calendar is always popular with Walkingworld members and we're proud to be promoting it again this year. As usual the format features photographs of the Lake District taken by Society members, together with line drawings and quotations from the works of Alfred Wainwright. Profits from the sale of the calendar this year will be donated to Fix the Fells for the repair of eroded and damaged footpaths in the Lake District. The price of the calendar is still a very reasonable £10 including p&p. The calendar can be purchased direct from the Wainwright Society website using PayPal.