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All about Country Walking and Walking Books

summer walkingYou are definitely in the right place if you are looking for a good selection of walking guide books. Easy site navigation by location will get you where you want to be quickly. Just click on Bookshop or here to get started. You can also find lots of info about walking destinations by clicking Locations, find out about long distance walks by clicking Trails and also get details of walking festivals and events.

October is the time for walks through woodland ablaze with colour, from golden yellows to deep russets. Morning mists often disperse to unveil clear sunny days that are cool and ideal for walking. The low evening sun highlighting the rich autumn colours can provide a spectacular climax to a day in the countryside.

Try exploring some new routes this autumn, either on your home patch or a little further afield. A good walking guide can be a great help here and we have a fantastic selection for you to choose from.

There are still some events remaining in the autumn walking festival season which provide great opportunities for some social walking.

Have a look at our walking festivals listing to see if there is something that appeals to you.

Primaloft wins award with Down Blend Insulation
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The new Gustav Holst Way is a long distance walk through glorious North Cotswold countryside from Cranham to Wyck Rissington, via Cheltenham and Bourton-on-the-Water. Linking places associated with the composer this is an interesting new path.
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New National Trails Website
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Sir Chris Bonington appointed president of the OWPG
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Lake District Walks to WaterfallsThe Outdoor Writers and Photographers Guild (OWPG) held its prestigious awards ceremony on 12 October 2013. One of the categories is ‘Best Guidebook’ and the winner was ‘Lake District Walks to Waterfalls’, by Vivienne Crow, published by Northern Eye.
The judges’ commented “This book is part of a small but perfectly formed Top Ten series. There’s little to fault in this winning formula with clear maps and instructions, concise and well laid out with the reader very much in mind. These are great value for money at under a fiver. Of the three from this series submitted for consideration, Vivienne's book narrowly got the nod due to some excellent photography and cover.” We congratulate Vivienne for this important award and for the other excellent guides she has written for the series.
You can purchase this great little book from our bookshop. Just click on the link or image above.

Health Walks

Summer StrollA recent online ‘YouGov’ survey showed that 25% of adults in the UK walk for no more than an hour a week. This includes all essential walking (e.g. to work, shops, school), so for these people non-essential recreational walking is minimal. This is a worry, because the medical profession recommends that adults should undertake at least 2.5 hours of moderate physical activity every week and brisk walking for this amount of time would fulfil this requirement. It is highly likely that many of these people are not carrying out alternative forms of exercise and so are putting their health at risk.

Any recreational walker will tell you that walking is relaxing, enjoyable and makes you feel better. The problem for many non-walkers is knowing where to begin, and this is where ‘Walking for Health’ schemes are so beneficial. By walking with a group of people comprising others who are new to walking and leaders who can pass on their experience and love of walking the newcomers gain the knowledge and confidence to continue regular walking for exercise and pleasure either by themselves or with a group such as the Ramblers’ Association.

By walking as part of a small group you will make new friends, encourage each other, and discover new walks in and around your neighbourhood. There are 600 local health walk schemes that run regular short walks every week. Anyone can turn up and join in – it’s free, fun and friendly.

Physical inactivity is now acknowledged as a major threat to public health, but we believe walking holds the key to getting more people active. It’s a fun, social form of exercise that keeps you feeling healthy, happy and more relaxed. And it helps to reduce the risk of a number of diseases and medical conditions such as heart disease, stroke, and many types of cancer, depression and even Alzheimer’s.

New Weather Information for Walkers

The Met Office has launched a new service for walkers and climbers which provides summit forecasts, for over 500 hills and mountains in the UK. The new forecasts take into account the very different types of weather you are likely to experience at these locations helping walkers, ramblers and climbers plan their trip, walk or expedition.

The tailored information provides forecast information on weather, wind, temperature and visibility in easy to read symbols, with additional information on feels like temperature, humidity, UV index and the chance of rain out to five days ahead.

Unique to the Met Office the summit forecasts also provide easy access to severe weather warnings that may be in force, helping walkers prepare, plan and protect themselves from the impacts of potentially severe weather.

Derrick Ryall, Head of the Met Office Public Weather Service said: "Mountains can be inhospitable and dangerous places for the ill-prepared. From one hour to the next, from one hill to the next, they can exhibit a dramatic variation in weather conditions. These local and accurate forecasts from the Met Office allow walkers and climbers to be more weather aware and better prepared for the conditions that can be experienced in the hills and mountains of the British Isles."

The new forecasts are available at the leisure pages of the Met Office website: www.metoffice.gov.uk/public/weather/leisure

You can also find weather forecast information here for bays and estuaries, beaches, national parks and youth hostels.

Penistone Hill Geology Trail

Steven TicaA new short walking route combines sculptures and geology to create a fascinating trail through a long forgotten chapter of the South Pennines industrial heritage.
The Penistone Hill Geology Trail, a short circular walk from Haworth Parish Church, tells the story of the heritage of the area through its rocks, from their formation millions of years ago to the men who quarried and mined the land to further man’s development.
A 20 page booklet written by Alison Tymon, chairman of the West Yorkshire Geology Trust and Steve Wood, a local historian, guides walkers around the two and a half mile trail taking in two quarries and various geological features as well as four sculptures by Stevan Tica. The booklet and trail have been funded through the Watershed Landscape Project, managed by Pennine Prospects, and in partnership with Bradford City Council.
“The sculptures have been carved from Yorkshire stone and are used as markers along the trail,” explained Stevan, a self taught sculptor of stone and wood.
“Two of the works illustrate the origins of the landscape; the first is of a fossilised tree stump, with a few leaves and a dragonfly to represent the material that decomposed to form coal over millions of years, and the second a river channel, which shows how water carved out the landscape.
“The more recent history can be seen in a relief carving of a horse gin, a mechanical device used by miners to bring buckets up the mine shaft to the surface. This is the biggest sculpture weighing about a ton. And also a depiction of two quarrymen splitting a rock using the plug and feather technique,” Stevan added.
Alison explained the importance of the quarries to the area. “There’s lots of evidence of mining and quarrying, which links us to our industrial heritage. But it’s more than that; these quarries provided all the stone for the mills and dwellings in the Upper Worth valleys; most of the buildings we see here today have been built of stone from these hills.
“People have always been interested in the heritage of the mills but not so much the mines and quarries that helped to build them. Now that is changing.”
And it’s not just the relatively recent past that can be revealed, Alison added: “Steve is the historian and I am the geologist. He has made the connections between quarrying for building stone and mills and I can see what life was like in this area 300 million years ago by studying the quarries; they’re very informative.”

The 20-page booklet, which brings all this knowledge together, is available from visitor centres in Haworth and Hebden Bridge and costs £2.


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Book of the Week

Gustav Holst Way

by: Frank Partridge
The Gustav Holst Way is a medium distance rambler’s route from Cranham to Wyck Rissington, via Cheltenham and Bourton-on-the-Water. Each place has close associations with the composer and the broad stretch of Cotswold country that connects these important milestones in Holst’s life and musical career was well known to him. He recorded many a pleasant day spent walking in the hills.

The walk is 35 miles in all (with the four optional detours adding a further eight miles or so). The route is divided into five sections ranging in length from about 6 to 8 miles.

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