The Bogtrotter

Tag: walk

Monk’s Dale circular walk from Tideswell

by on Oct.05, 2014, under Britain, British Walks, Walks

A 6.5 mile walk through one of the less visited dales in the heart of the White Peak.

Monk's Dale

Monk’s Dale

Starting from Tideswell, take the footpath between houses on Sherwood Road that climbs up into rolling filed full of sheep and dry stone walls. The path crosses several fields until you reach a track marked for the Limestone Way. Turn right and follow the track for 400 yards until you reach the road.

Turn left and follow the road steeply downhill until you reach the valley bottom. You are now at the top of Monk’s Dale. Take the footpath on the left that follows the valley floor, and head towards the woods.

Trees in Monk's Dale

Trees in Monk’s Dale

The woods of Monk’s Dale are a mystical place, completely covered with verdant green mosses and lichens. The damp micro-climate almost makes you feel like you are in a rainforest. It’s other-worldly atmosphere is enhanced by the lack of other walkers, as most seem to head to more famous dales nearby. The path is fairly tough going and progress is slow, with lots of slippery stones and rocks making it ankle-sapping.

After a mile or so you emerge from the woods into a classic U-shaped White Peak dale, with steep sides and the fast moving stream at it’s base. The path now becomes much easier, but the valley is equally picturesque. Continue along the path until you cross the stream on a narrow footbridge, then it climbs up the other side for you to leave Monk’s Dale. You appear almost on top of the church. Descend the narrow steps to reach the road, then turn right and follow the road under the impressive Miller’s Dale viaduct.

When you reach the road junction signed for Wormhill turn right and climb up the steps to reach the old Miller’s Dale railway station. This huge old station is now a car park and visitor centre, and if you are lucky the Ice Cream van will also be there.

Follow the old railway line Eastbound for around a mile until you see a signed footpath crossing it. Turn left and descend the muddy steps to a footbridge across the river. Follow the quiet backroad East, past the Ravenstor Youth Hostel, until you reach a small car park. Turn left here and take the footpath up Tideswell Dale. The path gradually ascends through a park with some curious wood sculptures and then through a field until you get to the outskirts of Tideswell. Here you join the main road to come back into Tideswell, where you can try out one of several tea shops and visit the “Cathedral of the Peaks”.

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Castleton circular walk over Mam Tor

by on Sep.27, 2014, under British Walks, Walks

Probably one of the most iconic walks in England, this seven and a half mile circular walk provides excellent views across the White and Dark Peak divide.

Cave Dale with Peveril Castle

Cave Dale with Peveril Castle

Starting from Castleton itself, go past the church and take the narrow path into Cave Dale. This spectacular deep dale (which is also the start of the Limestone Way) climbs sharply up, the path a rugged mix of stone and mud. The steep sides of the dale give it an overbearing atmosphere, which is enhanced by the sight of Peveril Castle sitting at the top of the cliffs to the right. After nearly a mile the path flattens out and you enter a more typical White Peak scene of sheep in fields surrounded by continuous stone walls.

Having passed over a stone stile, follow the tarmac track past a farmhouse as you head directly towards the imposing figure of Mam Tor. You cross a couple of roads before starting your ascent of the steep pathway to the top of the “Mother hill”. The stone steps lead through the old Iron Age ditches all the way up to the Trig point that marks the summit.

View along the Ridge

View along the Ridge

From here you follow the ridge, the stone paving that lines the route a necessary reinforcement of one of the most walked paths in the country. The path traverses Hollins Cross and Back Tor until eventually reaching the conical top of Lose Hill.  At the summit the path turns 90 degrees to the right and starts to descend back towards Castleton.

Drop down the slope towards Losehill Farm, using styles to cross a couple of stone walls.  After the farm the path follows a metalled track to Spring House Farm.  From here take the track that contours along the valley side to Losehill Hall.  Don’t follow the track when it turns left but continue straight ahead along a soggy footpath.  This emerges into another track that reaches a outdoor pursuits centre before curving left and returning to Castleton along Hollowford Road.

This is a perfect Peak District day walk, suitable for almost any season or weather.  Having done this route in thick fog, snow showers and glorious sunshine, I can honestly say that I enjoyed it every time.

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Walk in the land of the menhirs

by on Sep.17, 2013, under French Walks, Walks

Any Asterix fan will tell you that a menhir is an ancient standing stone. Whilst they are spread all across France, there is a curious concentration of them in the northern Cevennes and this walk takes in many of them.

CombettesThe “Balade au pays des Menhirs” is a 3.5 mile circular walk in the Lozere department in southern France. It takes about two hours to complete the loop, but you will travel back in time through Millennia.

The walk starts from a signed car park on the road from Le Pont de Montvert to Mende. From here you cross a couple of fields, then turn left and follow a farm track with hedges on either side as you descent downhill into dense pine forests. Almost as soon as you enter the woods you start to see menhirs, standing upright in small clearings in the forest. Modern man has worked around these ancient landmarks, leaving them untouched over thousands of years.

The track continues to descent until you emerge into rolling farmland, with a wide vista of the resplendent Gorges du Tarn opening out before you. After 2 miles you reach the tiny hamlet of Combettes, which provides the pretty rustic idil that seems to typify rural France. As you enter the hamlet, a small building on your left (which is actually an old bread oven) houses a permanent exhibition on “Mont Lozere before history”. (continue reading…)

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Great Eastern Pingo Trail

by on Feb.28, 2013, under Britain, British Walks, Walks

This has to be one of the most interestingly named walks I’ve ever done. It is a 7 mile woodland walk in the heart of Norfolk, taking in a disused railway line and a mix of wooded trails.

Great Eastern Pingo Trail

Great Eastern Pingo Trail

The walk starts from the Great Eastern Pingo Trail car park on the A1075 at Stow Bedon. From the car park the first part of the trail follows the old railway line. As you walk along you can see how wet and marshy the surrounding woods are. After one mile you reach a crossroads, where you continue along the old railway line passing the ruins of the old railway keepers cottage.

After another two miles you will enter a cutting, with the embankments rising up either side of the old line. Just before a road bridge over the line, follow a set of wooden steps up to the right. This path takes you to a minor road, which we follow for a short way. When you reach a fork, take the right track (marked as a no through road). The tall pine forest soon gives way to farmland, although the area to the left of the track is actually Stanford Firing Range. Originally cleared during the Second World War, the “temporarily” evacuated Stanford village has never been returned to normal use. You will see glimses of Thompson Water through the hedge on your right, and shortly afterwards a path to the right going behing the lake. (continue reading…)

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Cambridge River Walk

by on Oct.20, 2012, under Britain, British Walks, Walks

A relaxing six and a half mile walk along the River Cam, from Waterbeach to the centre of Cambridge.

River Cam Towpath

Starting from Waterbeach railway station, cross the level crossing away from the village and take the path through the car park on the right hand side of the road. The path follows the road for a short way until you reach Cow Hollow Wood.

Turn right and follow the path through the centre of the wood. Go through the gate at the other end and follow the path straight on until you reach the river. From here you turn right and follow the river bank towards Cambridge.
(continue reading…)

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St Ives and Hemmingfords circular walk

by on Sep.29, 2012, under British Walks

This six mile cirular walk takes you through some of the best Cambridgeshire countryside, including part of the Ouse Valley Way.

We start in the centre of Hemmingford Abbotts, next to the Axe and Compass pub. From here, follow the quiet road of Common Lane for approximately a third of a mile until you see a public footpath signpost on your right for “Houghton”. Take this path (down Meadow Lane) and cross the bridge to enter the meadow. Follow the path across the meadow until you reach a small gate and footbridge, next to the river lock at Houghton.

Houghton Mill

The path continues around a small island until you come out at Houghton Mill. Go through the passage at the mill, and then carry on across the car park. Follow the left hand side of the field until you come to a gate with a sign for the Ouse Valley Way. Turn immediately right after the gate and follow this alleyway for 200 metres until it ends. Turn left for 20 metres then right to continue along the Ouse Valley Way. The path now continues for nearly two miles, past “The Thickett” until you emerge at the back of a Scout hut.
(continue reading…)

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Gazeley and Dalham circular walk

by on Jun.19, 2012, under British Walks, Walks

This circular 6.5 mile walk through West Suffolk gives you quintessential English countryside and postcard-perfect villages. Taking in the villages of Gazeley, Dalham and Moulton, the rolling fields are separated by thatched cottages and three beautiful churches.

Dalham Church

Start from the village of Gazeley, where there is roadside parking near the church. Take Higham Road (opposite the church entrance) and follow the path that veers off the the right (signposted for the Icknield Way). This path winds through Tithe Close until you go through a small alleyway to reach a gate that opens into a field. Follow the signed path across the fields until you reach a small wood. THe path then ducks into the wood – continue until you reach a crossroads at the far end.
(continue reading…)

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Taking the towpath from Bath to Bradford upon Avon

by on Jan.15, 2012, under British Walks, Walks

A beautiful and easy 9 mile walk along the Kennet and Avon canal from the centre of Bath to Bradford upon Avon.

Kennet and Avon Canal

Starting from Bath railway station, turn right out of the main entrance and go through the underpass beneath the station. This comes round to a footbridge that crosses the River Avon. Go across the bridge and turn left, following the road until it crosses the canal. Turn right onto the canal towpath and go up past a couple of locks. As the path levels out and you start to go past the backs of houses you catch glimses of the historic centre of Bath across the valley.

The rest of the route follows the tow-path, so it’s very easy to follow. Although it is all along the canal, the character of the walk evolves as you progress. Starting out you feel you are sneaking through the back streets of Bath, seeing a side of the City that many visitors miss. You go through a tunnel underneath an impressive house that straddles the canal, and after a short way emerge from the City to suddenly find yourself in the countryside. (continue reading…)

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Norfolk coast walk – Thornham to Hunstanton

by on Oct.29, 2011, under British Walks, Walks

This is a six mile walk along the western end of the North Norfolk Coastal Path, from Thornham to Hunstanton.

Wide open beaches of North Norfolk

Park the car or take the bus to Hunstanton, then get the Coasthopper bus towards Wells and Cromer as far as The Orange Tree pub at Thornham. From the bus stop take the road towards the coast, walking past Thornham church on the right and a mix of traditional cottages. At a fork in the road, bear right and carry on until the road takes a sharp right turn. At this point, turn left and follow the footpath (signed with a National Trail acorn sign). After 50 yards turn right and cross a small footbridge, then continue on the path with grazing fields on your left and saltwater marshes to your right. Keep an eye out for herons who like to stand beside some of the shallow water channels looking for food.

At the end of the path turn right and follow the track for a short distance, before turning left and joining the footpath on top of the sea dyke. As you walk you now have an elevated view across the marshes, where myriad wading birds potter along searching for tasty morsels to eat. The path slowly winds its way along the dyke towards the sand dunes and Holme Bird Observatory. (continue reading…)

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In search of the Avocet – Minsmere circular walk

by on Oct.08, 2011, under Britain, British Walks

I’ve never been a big bird watcher but some birds just have a magical appeal. The Avocet is one of these, and Minsmere is the place to see them.

Avocet in Flight

Possibly the hardest part of this 5 and a half mile walk is finding your way to the start. The tiny village of Eastbridge is just a few miles north of Aldeburgh. Park at The Eel’s Foot pub, and then start the walk by heading a hundred yards south back along the road. From there turn left and take the public footpath towards the coast. After 20 yards take the right fork (signed F.P.) along a narrow path until you come out into a field. Follow the edge of the field until the far corner then carry straight on through the gap in the hedge. The track now follows a small water channel with signs suggesting that otters can be seen.
(continue reading…)

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