We’re lucky in Britain that our seasons are so wonderfully defined; each one quite distinct from its predecessor due to the colour of the leaves on the trees, the abundance of native flowers and the low-lying mist on the ground. It would be difficult to choose a favourite season, even the tumultuous grey skies of late autumn, the withering heat of summer and the frozen ground of mid-winter have their charms – but there’s something about spring; this awakening of nature after its sleepy hibernation and regeneration of flora and fauna.
Spotting some of the wildlife is one of the main attractions for getting out into the British countryside. Whether it’s something as grand and imposing as a stag, or the decidedly smaller squirrel, getting sight of a wild animal can instantly turn a workaday walk into one that’s very special.
Finding animals isn’t as simple as heading to areas where sightings have been reported and hoping for the best, however. Those who want to really maximise their chances of spotting animals should instead doff their deerstalker hat and do some investigating.
Jamie Gibbs is the fitness blogger and rambling ambler for healthy living life insurance comparison site Confused.com. He’s currently training to tackle the Three Peaks Challenge, and feels more out of his depth than the distance he has to climb.
Are you looking for a Welsh getaway and want to find the best places to visit? Here are some beautiful walks for anyone looking to see more of the “Land of My Fathers”.
The Welsh love to walk. Almost a third of Welsh adults enjoy walking as recreation, and walking is one of the main activities for people who come to visit. When you look at what the country has to offer, you can see why.
If you’re going for a healthier, leaner you this year, then taking in the fresh, Welsh mountain air will do you the world of good. Angela Charlton, Director for Ramblers Cymru, says that “walking can form part of a regular exercise pattern … for adults, 150 [of aerobic exercise] per week is recommended to keep in good health.
Walking in Wales offers fantastic opportunities for residents and visitors alike. You can visit cathedrals, castles, forests, woods and coast.”
With so much to choose from, which walks are best? Here are five of my favourites.
Total distance: 8-10km (to the summit and back)
The seat of the legendary giant Idris, Cadair Idris offers routes to the summit that suit both the casual and the adventurous walker. If you’re looking for a pleasant stroll, the Pony path is the longer but easier of the three paths where the only surprises will be the sudden changes in weather.
If you’re after something a little more exciting, the Minffordd path is a shorter but much steeper hike that veers away from any defined path but one that rewards you with an amazing view of Llyn Cau, the supposedly bottomless lake that has become popular with wild swimmers.
This year sees us celebrating the bicentenary of the publication of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, arguably Austen’s most famous novel. The Royal Mail will be marking the occasion with a six-stamp set (released 21 February) featuring scene’s from her works – but there are a number of ways you can mark the occasion by getting outside and exploring Great Britain! We’ve picked our top five:
1. Jane Austen lived and stayed in a wide variety of places across the country during her lifetime. Jane was born in Hampshire and spent eight years of her life living in Chawton, Hampshire and her 17th century former home is now known as Jane Austen’s House. Whilst living there Jane wrote and revised her six great novels. You can now visit the house and they have a number of events planned this year, including a Pride and Prejudice exhibition running until May. It’s a beautiful spot to visit and we’ll be featuring a four and a half mile circular walk of the area on Wednesday’s blog.
2. Jane’s father’s family had many links to Kent, and particularly Tonbridge. Kent County Council have a lovely circular walk around Tonbridge which is around two and a half miles. You can download the route and an audio version from www.kent.gov.uk/leisure-and-culture/libraries. The walk takes you to many places associated with the Austen family and has great facts to keep you entertained during the stroll.
Today’s walk is from Peter Naldrett, author of the Trigpoint Walks series of books. You can follow Peter on @peternaldrett on Twitter or find out more at www.peter-naldrett.co.uk
A delightful exploration around the village of Marloes and the rugged scenery at Wooltack Point.
Length of route: 8.9km / 5.5miles
Time: 2 hours 40 minutes
Difficulty: Easy paths with a steady climb to Wootack Point. Steep cliffs.
Map: OS Explorer Map OL36 South Pembrokeshire / De Sir Benfro
Start / finish point: A National Trust car park on the road west out of Marloes (SM 762, 089)
Trig points:Marloes at 76m/249ft (SM 785, 084)
ROUTE Taking you to the western tip of mainland south-west Pembrokeshire, this walk has few to match its wilderness and dramatic scenery. To reach the starting point, you need to head west from Milford Haven, following signs for Marloes. At the northern end of Marloes, the road bends off to the left and continues stretching away to the west. You need to follow this road into National Trust land and make your way to the car park at the end, where the walk starts at grid reference SM 762, 089.
From the car park, head to the road and turn right onto it. Continue on this road, with views of St Brides Bay being particularly pleasing on the left. The trigpoint (S6544) is located in a field on the right at grid reference SM 785, 084. Access to the trig, which is still used as part of the GPS network, is easy. The landowner has kindly established a permissive footpath straight to the trig, allowing you to get a closer look. Once there, you’ll see the plaques in English and Welsh that disclose its importance as a GPS marker.
The Snowdon range consists of glacial corries, knife-edged aretes, and some very big mountains. There are many routes to the top of Snowdon itself (in Welsh ‘Yr Wyddfa’) with some big paths that can get crowded, but when you look across the horizon of a hundred hills you’ll know why it’s so popular.
There are a variety of routes to the top of Snowdon with different degrees of challenge, but all with tremendous scenery and breathtaking views. Llanberis path and the Ranger track are the easiest way to the top, with Rhyd-Ddu, up the Pyg and down the Miner’s tracks other popular routes. The Snowdon Horseshoe should only be tackled by experienced walkers with steady nerves.