The Bogtrotter

Walks

Amble through the Lakes – walk from Grasmere to Ambleside

by on Oct.04, 2009, under Britain, British Walks, Walks

When you think of walking in the Lake District you immediately think of heading for the fells and mountain-tops, but there are also plenty of low level walks that provide equally enjoyable walking. This is an gentle but varied five mile walk between two of Lakeland’s most visited sites – Grasmere village and Ambleside. The walk is fairly easy going, with little ascent and just one tricky section.

Starting from Grasmere Church (resting place of poet William Wordsworth) take the small road opposite, past the car park and garden centre. You follow this road past a hotel and out of the village, getting your first views of Grasmere lake on your left. You then approach close to the lake, passing a small boathouse and cafe. The road then climbs up and slightly away from the lake, giving fine views across to Grasmere with the village lying underneath the bulk of Great Rigg.
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Whitby to Robin Hood’s Bay coastal walk

by on May.09, 2009, under Britain, British Walks, Walks

Whitby to Robin Hood’s Bay is one of the most renowned coastal walks in England. As long as the wind is not in your face, it is an enjoyable seven mile walk taking in some spectacular cliffs and scenery.

When you hear the town of Whitby mentioned you immediately think of fish. Not only is it one of the biggest fishing harbours in the UK, it also is the spiritual home to fish and chips. Wander down into the town on any evening and your nose will be assaulted by the smell of fish and chips drifting out of the numerous cafes that line the streets. You know you shouldn’t, but how can you resist?

Whitby Abbey

Whitby Abbey


The walk starts from Whitby centre. Walk through the old part of town on the east side of the river, and head for the 199 steps up to Whitby Abbey. After you climb the steps, pass through St Mary’s churchyard to reach the majestic ruins of the abbey, sat high up on the top of the cliffs. Follow the wall around the abbey until you reach the signed path (marked Cleveland Way) which crosses a field to get to the cliff edge. From here the route follows the sea edge all the way. After about one mile you reach a caravan park. Just follow the road through it for 200 yards before picking up the path again and returning to the cliff tops. (continue reading…)

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LLeyn Peninsula coastal walk – of cliffs and golf balls

by on Mar.15, 2009, under Britain, British Walks, Walks

The Lleyn peninsula is tucked away in the North of Wales, pointing like a finger into the Irish Sea. The coast has some superb walking yet is much less walked than the more famous neighbours down in Pembrookshire. This 8 mile coastal walk goes from Nefyn to Tudweiliog, with a regular bus service running for you to complete the circuit.

Lleyn Coastal Path

Lleyn Coastal Path


Starting from Nefyn a short walk takes you to the coast path above the beach. Follow the path around the cliff tops through the scented gorse bushes. From here you can see the picturesque little harbour of Porthdinllaen tucked under the cliffs in the distance, with Ty Coch (its red pub) standing out. Continue until you reach a road going down to a slipway on the beach. I prefer to continue by going up and through the golf course here, but you can also go down the slipway and follow the beach round as long as the tide is not in.

Porthdinllaen

Porthdinllaen

Follow the path along the clifftops until you are nearly over the top of Porthdinllaen, then drop down to the hamlet. Pass through the arch in the buildings to come into a courtyard, then carry on the rocky coastline. This rocky section is a little more difficult underfoot, but is passable with care. You will then come to Lifeboat Bay with the Lifeboat Station which has protected boats in the area since 1864.

Cross over the slipway and then climb up the steep steps to join the golfers on the course above. You can rest in the shelters here and watch the golfers before following the track down the middle of the course. Then pick up the path to the right which goes down the side of the fairway to rejoin the clifftop.

Walk across Nefyn Golf Course

Walk across Nefyn Golf Course

Leave the golf course behind and continue along the coast. The coastline becomes a bit more rugged and wild now, with hardly a sole in sight. However the path is fairly distinct and easy to follow, with just a couple of slightly tricky bits where the path has been eroded back by small streams. The cormorants and seals provide welcome company along the route – the cormorants diving off the rocks into the sea whilst the seals lounge around on the sand and rocks.

Keep going until you reach the path cutting inland next to a small caravan site. Take this path then follow a small path across the fields to Tudweiliog village, where you can get some refreshments in the shop and wait for the bus back to Nefyn (click for timetable).

To do this walk you will need OS Landranger Map number 123 (Lleyn Peninsula). Alternatively you can download the map from Anquet Maps.

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Broadway Tower – circular walk back in time

by on Feb.23, 2009, under Britain, British Walks, Walks

This is a classic 4 mile circular walk through one of the best parts of the Cotswolds, starting and finishing in the “Jewel of the Cotswolds” that is Broadway village.

Start from the centre of Broadway and follow the old High Street up and out of the village. If several of the buildings look familiar – it’s no surprise. This street is used as a setting for many historical dramas, with it’s chocolate box looks and untouched feel. Carry on up the hill past the car turning circle until you see a gate on your left with a footpath sign next to it. Take this path and go through the low arch under the bypass.

The Green in Broadway

The Green in Broadway

The path goes up and across the first small field, then curves up to the right. You pass through a gateway then cross straight over another couple of fields, climbing gradually until you reach a hedge at the far side of the fields. The walking here is wet underfoot as several springs come up in these fields, and it is difficult to plot a dry route. At the hedge turn left and follow the road for approx 50 yards until you see a path signposted through the woods on your right hand side. You then take the path through the woods, winding you way until you come to the busy A44 road.

Broadway Tower

Broadway Tower

After crossing the A44 you join the Cotswold Way National Trail and continue the gentle climb up onto Broadway Hill, and after five minutes walking you will see Broadway Tower appear in front of you.

Broadway Tower is an original British folly, built as a mock castle in 1799 for Lady Coventry, from which it is said you can view 13 counties from here. I’m not sure if it’s true, but the views of the surrounding countryside do make the climb to the top of the hill worth the effort. We stopped and had a drink whilst looking out over the landscape, watching a group of Red deer which were penned into the field alongside the tower.

Afterwards we went through the big car park and started our fairly steep descent down a track – heading straight towards Broadway. After about 10 minutes the main track appears to come to an end. Carry straight on around the house and you will see the path going across the field to your left.

The route from here is fairly easy to follow as you take a well worn path across several fields back to the village. There are numerous paths criss-crossing as you get nearer to Broadway, but it makes little difference which one you take. All eventually lead back to the High Street, where you can get you bearings and head for the obligatory post-walk tea shop for a well earned cuppa and a slice of cake.

To do this walk you will need to use Ordanance Survey Explorer Map OL45 The Cotswolds. Alternatively you can download the map from Anquet Maps.

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Lode Mill walk on the edge of the Fens

by on Feb.14, 2009, under Britain, British Walks, Walks

Cambridgeshire does not give you the most spectacular walking country, but for those looking for a gentle stroll through the fens should head for Stow cum Quy.  From here there is a lovely 4 mile circular walk across the fields to Lode Mill.

Lode Mill

Lode Mill

From the A14, go through Stow Cum Quy and turn left onto Station Road. Park your car near the small bridge about 1/4 mile along Station Road, and start the walk by standing on the bridge and feeding the swans and ducks.  Cross the bridge and take the path diagonally across the first field on your right (past the inquisitive horses) to join a wide track.  Follow this track for about 15 minutes, crossing the old railway line, until you come to a fork in the path. Take the right fork and you will come to a kissing gate. Go through the gate and follow the signpost along the edge of the fen towards Lode. You will then reach a footbridge on your right – cross this to get to the field opposite.

Follow the path around the field, and then it joins a broad grassy track. Shortly after there is a ruined building on the right, take the right turn here and follow the track behind the building. At a T junction turn sharp left along a track, then the path goes off to the right through a wood. Turn left in the middle of the wood and you come out into a field. Follow the track along the edge of the field (lined with old apple trees) which leads to Lode Mill.

River Bank near Lode

River Bank near Lode

From Lode Mill turn right and follow the riverbank back.  On the opposite side of the river you will see Anglesey Abbey (a National Trust property with a great garden).  As you continue you will have the strange experience of following a river that is higher than the surrounding land.  As the fens were drained the land has sunk, leaving the river flowing above two metres above the fields.  The river gentle winds its way back to the bridge where you started, and you will hopefully find the ducks and swans awaiting your return.

Another version of this walk (starting from Anglesey Abbey car park) and a simple map can be found here.

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Etretat – beach walk on the wild side

by on Feb.09, 2009, under France, French Walks, Walks

Chalk cliffs of Etretat

Chalk cliffs of Etretat

Those looking for a challenging but spectacular coastal walk should head for Etretat in France, where the chalk cliffs rising up from the English Channel create the magnificent image of the Alabaster Coast.  Etretat is a pretty little coastal town which is now a tourist honeypot, and the start of one of the best short walks you will ever do.  With the beach section only accessible at low tide you need to check the local tide times and ideally start about an hour before low tide.

As low tide approaches a group begins to gather at the western end of Etretat beach, and you can sense something is about to happen.  A short walk across the seaweed-covered rocks (and a splash in the rock pools if you’re so inclined) takes you to a metal ladder fixed to the cliff.  Climb up the ladder to a ledge and you can then walk through the tunnel carved out of the rock.  You are now the other side of the Failaise D’Aval arch, and on a much quieter beach enclosed by the mountainous strata-lined chalk cliffs.  Carry on across this pebble beach – with the Mannaporte Arch in front of you striding out into the sea.  When you reach the next arch go though this and down a ladder to reach another enclosed beach.  This one has a beautiful waterfall cascading down the cliff – the perfect place to stand and cool off from the summer heat.

Waterfall on the beach

Waterfall on the Beach


One feature of this walk is it’s challenging nature. This is one place the Health and Safety brigade have failed to reach.  The rocks are slippery, the ladders are exposed, and there are no handrails or barriers on the open ledges.  It is not unneccessarily dangerous and can be done by any reasonably active person, but is not for those of a nervous disposition!

Arch through the rock

Arch through the rock

Another archway to go through to reach the final beach – from a distance I think this one looks like a silouette of the queen on a postage stamp.  This final beach is probably the best for sunbathing – and is much busier than the previous two.  At the end of this beach is a roadway which cuts through the cliffs.  From this road you can join the cliff path and follow this all the way back to Etretat.  The clifftop walk gives stunning views of the chalk cliffs – which seem to go on forever into the distance.

In the summer there are large crowds on the cliffs, and the numbers increase the closer you get back to Etretat.  But it is easy to see why – the scenery is unsurpassed.  Once you are back in Etretat – head for one of the great restaurants where you can try the local seafood (highly recommended) washed down with a glass or two of Normandy cider and calvados.

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Brancaster Circular Walk, Norfolk

by on Jan.26, 2009, under Britain, British Walks, Walks

This is a great 5 1/2 mile walk taking in several of the best things about walking in Britain in one go – salt marshes, a small harbour, some woodland, a common and a Roman fort.

Small harbour at Brancaster Staithe

Small harbour at Brancaster Staithe

Starting from the village of Brancaster the path goes across the marshes – mainly on a raised boardwalk to stop you getting your feet wet – to Brancaster Staithe.  You can often see the piles of reeds where the local reed-cutters have been at work – collecting the harvest for thatching local properties.

Brancaster Staithe is a small fishing port in the middle of the saltwater marshes, and seems miles from the sea itself.  Most weekends in the car park here you will find the cockle van, selling an amazing variety of seafood along with the obligatory cups of tea.

From here the route continues along the coastal path past the back of the White Horse hotel and the round mussel beds until you reach the track up to Burnham Deepdale. You then turn inland and the next stretch (the only bit of the walk along tarmac) takes you up the road towards the woods of the Downs.  In the summer the fields near here are awash with poppies, completely overshadowing the wheat crops beneath them.

Field of poppies near Brancaster

Field of poppies near Brancaster

You then get to cross Barrow Common – surrounded by the coconut scent of the Gorse bushes. The views from here stretch right across the marshes, giving you a full panoramic vista even though your only 50 metres above sea level.

The route then drops down towards Brancaster, and after crossing the coast road you end up in the Branodunum – the roman fort that gave the village it’s name. Although no remnants of the fort remain you can still clearly see the earthworks and outline of what was once there.

And then you’re back to your starting point at Brancaster.

You can download a routemap for this walk from the Norfolk County Council web site – it is the first half of Walk 09.

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