Walking in UK

Old Dec 9th, 2003, 06:41 PM
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Walking in UK

Can you give me general info and tips on walking self-tours in the UK?
We're headed to Italy in early 2004, but the lovely Mrs. Jacks is asking me about "going walking" in the summer. Not sure we're gonna make it, but I may surprise her!
Tips, websites, best spots, best months, gear etc. I figure on 10-14 days. We're not set on any particular area. We are looking for rural walks with nice villages. Does anyone let you borrow a border collie?!?!?
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Old Dec 9th, 2003, 08:07 PM
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A good starting website would be the Ramblers,

There are a number of companies that organize self guided walks; two that come to mind are Countour and Footpath Holidays. I have done a guided walk in the southern Cotswolds with Footpath.

Every Tourist Information Centre (TIC) in the UK will sell (sometimes give) booklets or sheets of local walks.

You can also buy National Trail Guides published by Aurum Press if you want to walk a long distance trail, such titles as Hadrian's Wall Path, Pembrokeshire Coast Path, Thames Path, Offa's Dyke and the Pennine Way.
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Old Dec 9th, 2003, 11:32 PM
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For a wonderful area to walk I would recommned the Yorkshire Dales. Stunning views, friendly people, lovely villages......a good base would be Pateley Bridge in Niddderdale. You would have the Dales literally on your doorstep but would be close to Harrogate if you wanted shops/restaurants etc. There are also some superb eating places close to Pateley. A good Yorkshire website is Other general walking websites are and You can download walking routes from these sites. For Yorkshire walking books I strongly recommned the series by A David Leather - called Walkers Guide to Wharfedale, Nidderdale etc. If you choose the Dales feel free to contact me again for more details....
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Old Dec 9th, 2003, 11:33 PM
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How about the West Highland Way? Can't say I've walked it myself (far too lazy ) but many friends have done. Have a look at
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Old Dec 9th, 2003, 11:57 PM
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There are a number of magazines produced in this country.

I think you want to have one called Country Walking, and if you email me I'll send you a copy. "All" the tour operators advertise in the back of it and it does do nice walks round rural England- the scale in Scotland is too big to string villages together. Lots of BIG walks available, but not little ones.

I have an Old English Sheepdog who could use the exercise
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Old Dec 10th, 2003, 12:53 AM
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Forgive me if this is teaching a grandparent to suck eggs...

Britain - but especially England - is covered with a huge network of footpaths, accessible from practically everywhere, and each individually shown on the Ordnance Survey 1:250000 series. Since we have few significant animal, plant, weather or terrain dangers, there's no real reason to stop you just following any path - not just the artificial "long distance paths" (mostly just the ordinary paths with some brand name) - by yourself. Within 100 yds of your base you're usually in empty countryside, but you're rarely more than a couple of miles from a pub and a reasonably well-preserved village.

There's no reason - unless you want to - either to follow a long-distance path or to use a company. Every bookshop in the country sells a range of - often locally produced - books called something like '30 Walks near here': a set of 5-15 mile circular walks, almost always passing a pub around half-time. So it's possible to base yourself in two or three towns over your fortnight, and do a set of walks from them, carrying no more than a bottle of water and raingear (for it's a near-certainty you'll get rain at least once in 14 days).

Many of these books are tough to find outside the area, but an excellent range you should be able to find on Amazon, or from Stanford's, is the Jarrold-Ordnance Survey Pathfinder series: there are about two dozen of them, one or two for each of the key regions, and there's a parallel series of easier walks called Short Walk Guides. A full list is at Even the list of guides is a good starter for deciding which bit of the country to concentrate on.

There's no best time, though some years July-August has been uncomfortably hot for serious walking day after day, you need to check on midges if you're going to Scotland, and bits of the Pak District and Lake District can get congested in the summer. May obviously gets the English greenery at its best, but this October, the colours, though hardly up to Vermont standards, were fantastic.

Unless you're in a very exposed area, dress for dryness, rather than against extreme cold. Practically all walking is on rough, often muddy, ground, so you do need tough, waterproof, boots with proper ankle support. Personally, I'd take two pairs, as few things are as demoralising as putting on boots wet from yesterday if you know it's going to be wet again today.
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Old Dec 10th, 2003, 05:33 AM
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Yes, visitors' centres and bookshops have loads of books about walks. One of my favourites in a Lake District one called "Mainly on the flat" ;-)
That's not as daft as it sounds because it involves a lot of nice walks round the lakes themselves.
I also walk in the Highlands and wear a stout pair of boots and a goretex jacket, waterproof and fairly light. I also take a walking pole, the telescopic type.
Old Dec 10th, 2003, 10:09 AM
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The September issue of Smithsonian magazine has an article, A Walk Across England. The route of 190 miles starts at St. Bees Head on the Irish Sea and ends at Robin Hood's Bay on the North Sea. You traverse the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors National Parks. The route was laid out by Alfred Wainwright who wrote a series of guidebooks.

You can try these websites for more info:

May your feet never blister.
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