Several well-known walking areas of Britain have been almost overwhelmed by visitor numbers in 2020. Why not take a look at somewhere less crowded, offering a unique experience?
England’s South Pennines are not usually on most walkers’ ‘top ten’ lists. Well, those walkers are missing out on a fascinating region combining beautiful countryside with history.
Old paths and trails dating back generations beckon, revealing the unique character of a region shaped by hundreds of years of human toil and creativity. Canals, railways, mills, bridges, viaducts and reservoirs are testaments to humankind’s work.
Many of the walks can be reached by train, making for a varied day out, punctuated with refreshment breaks in pubs or cafes, while making the area feasible even for those not living in the area. For example, within 20 minutes of leaving the hustle and bustle of central Manchester you can be in the wildest and most lovely countryside. Most of the walks lie within a rough rectangle contained by Walsden in the north, Bollington in the south, Oldham and Stockport in the west and Glossop in the east.
Anyone who has a mental image of soot-blackened towns and dull countryside is mistaken. Many of the old industrial buildings that remain have been converted into heritage centres or living accommodation. Farms dot the countryside where flora and fauna flourish; bird watchers will find plenty to discover.
For more information on wonderful walks in the South Pennines, take a look HERE.
Although many parts of the UK enjoyed some warm sunny September days, the switch seems to have suddenly flipped to full Autumn. Chilly, windy and rain that sets in for hours on end. Overseas travel is still tricky to plan, though Madeira remains one of the Government’s ‘green list’ destinations.
How does the weather in Madeira compare to London’s at this time of year? A quick check of BBC weather services for October 03 2020 has London’s temperature range as 10C – 15C, heavy rain, zero sun. Madeira should enjoy 19C to 25C, little chance of a shower and plenty of sunny intervals. Madeira gets plenty of rain too; look at those beautiful forests, trees and flowers. But the island’s sunshine and temperature figures look tempting as winter beckons.
Madeira is a classic destination for keen walkers, though you don’t need to be an expert. There are plenty of lovely strolls as well as high end challenges for experts, with plenty of variety in between. Or, why not explore by bus, a pocket-money way to experience the island. For plenty more information on discovering Madeira, take a look HERE.
Thanks to author-researcher Shirley Whitehead for these beautiful photos of her home island.
The British Government has published the list of countries you can travel from, into England, with no quarantine needed. At last, the brakes are off and all of us who want to get away have a tempting array of countries to choose from.
Of course, keeping safe is important, so what better than getting out and about on airy mountain walks or breezy coastal trails, well away from the crowds.
Greece and its lovely islands is on the ‘good to go’ list, along with all of Spain including the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands.
How about the quiet beauty of Brittany (France), or fascinating Malta and Gozo?
There’s plenty of information to help you choose your getaway destination here.
Have a look at our free digital maps, fully detailed and just what you need for adventuring away from the crowds. Take a look at our printed maps and walking guidebooks too.
We can offer maps (many also available as free digital downloads) and guidebooks for most of the following destinations which are all on the UK Governments ‘free to travel‘ list:
Canary Islands: Gran Canaria
La Gomera & El Hierro
Mainland Spain: Costa Blanca Mountains
Sierra de Aracena
Costa del Sol
Balearic Islands: Mallorca
Malta & Gozo
Things change, of course and our walking guidebooks for the garden island of Madeira are no exception. From time to time, erosion or weather events mean that parts of a walking route need to be changed, or other safety issues prompt the authorities to make route changes. If you have either of our guidebooks ‘Madeira Walks’ volume one or two, please take a look at these notes sent to us by our resident author/researcher, Shirley Whitehead.
Volume One – Walk 35 – Levada das 25 Fontes – Via Calheta Tunnel (PR6)
Volume Two – Walk 68 – Rabaçal – Levada das 25 Fontes & Levada do Risco (PR 6.1)
The following update applies to both the above routes along the final section between the Ribeira Grande Bridge and the 25 Fontes.
“Around 400m beyond the Ribeira Grande Bridge, a stairway appears on our right; this is a new return route recently constructed to improve safety to walkers by reducing the volume of traffic along the narrowest part of the levada which is subject to serious erosion.
Walkers are therefore asked to respect this safer diversion on their return to Casa do Rabaçal. The new route starts around 120 metres from the 25 Fontes. The stairway is approximately 250m in length with an ascent and descent of 50m therefore reducing the original return journey by around one kilometre.”
Volume Two – Walk 76 – Loreto to Madalena do Mar
Due to a large landslide below the levada around Wp.8, the right hand pathway descending to Lombo da Achada is now closed. As an alternative route to connect with Wp.10 and enable continuation down to Madalena do Mar, we suggest the following:
Just beyond Wp.2, turn right following the cobbled lane as it descends through the woodland. Around 100 m ahead, swing right onto a tarred road. This is “Impasso de Cova da Arco” which winds down the hillside towards Arco da Calheta. Shortly after a right and left bend around 800m ahead, go left down “Caminho das Paredes” to rejoin with “Impasso de Cove da Arco”. Turning left here, follow the road for around 500 metres to reach a T-junction. The total descent to this point is around 263 m. You are now on “Rua da Achada do Santa Antonio” and turning left the route ascends towards Santa Antonio. 700 m ahead take a left turn following “Caminho do Lombo” the lane bends left around100m ahead. Another 50m ahead, you will arrive at a well on your left.
This is Wp.10 of the original route where you now drop down steps on the right of the road to continue on to Madalena do Mar. The variances in timings and distance between the original route and this detour are negligible. The increase in ascents and descents is around 25m.”
How do you like the sound of walking through bucolic countryside, or discovering an orchid-lined pilgrim’s way?
What about exploring a fairy-tale trail winding through ancient woodland, or strolling alongside an idyllic trout stream?
You could be scrambling across a cataract of rocks or following the airy contours of the spectacular coastal path, weaving between delicately sculpted dunes or wandering across the flat sands of the tideland.
Gaze at the wide blue horizon from a wind battered headland or simply lounge about on a breathtakingly beautiful beach.
Brittany, (north-western France) is a perfect ‘get away from it all’ experience.
Boasting more than 3,000 kilometres of waymarked paths, a tourist infrastructure that is highly developed without being obtrusive, and regular budget flights, the region has all you need for a long-weekend away or a full walking holiday.
If walking in Brittany has you intrigued, we recommend you take a look at experienced walker/researcher/author Charles Davis’ guidebook, Walk! Brittany North.
There’s more information on Discovery Walking Guides’ pages also.
Having explored Spain’s Sierra de Aracena some years back for a walking guide and map, it was interesting to see a long and enticing piece in today’s Saturday Telegraph magazine about this little-visited region:-
Spain offers so many wonderful walking regions, yet Sierra de Aracena remains little-known – which is of course, part of its charm. If you want dramatic mountains, look elsewhere. If you like wonderful green, natural walking interspersed with hamlets and little characterful towns, you’ll enjoy this area. It’s the perfect ‘get away from it all’ place.
If your interest has been sparked, take a look at map and walking information from DIscovery Walking Guides: http://www.dwgwalking.co.uk/sierradearacena.htm