Newsletter > Newsletter archive > August 2012

August 2012

Canals and rivers in trust
regents canalIn July British Waterways, the guardian of our navigable canals and rivers for several decades, formally handed over responsibility for them to the newly created Canal & River Trust. Back in the 1990s and early 2000s British Waterways did well to hang on to much of its valuable riverside property, using the income along with contributions from the National Lottery Fund to transform great tracts of Britain’s canal network. The comparison with the asset-stripping of British Rail over the same period could not be more stark. So the new charity should be well-placed to continue the good work. There are now more boats on our canals than at the height of the industrial revolution, and millions of people walk and cycle the towpaths.

The Trust is keen to find volunteers to help with a huge range of tasks, from looking after the wildlife and clearing vegetation to talking to visitors and working the locks. The volunteering model is one that has worked well for the National Trust and also for our National Parks, where there is a long tradition of volunteer rangers. If you fancy a bit of canalside work you can find out more on the Canal & River Trust website.

Meanwhile many councils, while cutting back on their own public rights of way teams, are fretting over the use of volunteers to keep our footpaths and bridleways clear and well maintained. Difficulties with training, health and safety and insurance appear to be commonly quoted stumbling blocks. Apparently in some areas ‘guerilla’ parties of local people, armed with scithes, secateurs and strimmers, have been out clearing paths behind the council’s back. Whatever next...?

New Films from the Natural History Museum
bee orchidNatural History Museum botanist Fred Rumsey is back on screen with another couple of films about the seasonal flowers and plants you can discover out and about in our countryside. Each film is only a few minutes long and offers a delightful and expert view of British plant life that can be so easily missed. In ‘Summer Walk’ Fred goes on a coastal walk at West Wittering Beach, West Sussex, discovering plants living in extreme conditions. In the second film, 'Bee Orchid', he goes in search of wildflowers that go to extreme lengths to lure pollinating insects, and finds the bee orchid, Ophrys apifera, and its close relative the late spider orchid, Ophrys fuciflora.

Moroccan magic...
“Linger longer in a single place so you can discover it quietly and thoroughly. Allow time and space for chance encounters and the welcome serendipity of travel…”

OuzoudThe words of Yannick and Jacqueline, who run a delightful 'eco-lodge' in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains, mirror perfectly Inntravel’s philosophy of Slow Holidays – and this is one reason why Kasbah Tamdif has been chosen as  the base for their latest walking holiday in Morocco.

Much more than just a hotel, this romantic rural idyll provides a stylish-yet-informal atmosphere in which to relax beneath a magnificent backdrop of snow-capped mountains. It is also an ideal location for gentle exploration of the surrounding countryside on a number of privately guided walks, on which you will discover Cascades, Souks & Spices along the way. See waterfalls plummeting over red ochre cliffs; follow the footsteps of dinosaurs through the desert; buy spices in lively, colourful markets; and spend time relaxing in the hotel’s delightful grounds and rustic hamman (steam bath) – before an unforgettable finale in mesmerising Marrakesh.

For more information on our walking holidays in Morocco, see Inntravel’s 'Walking and more' brochure for 2012/13. Order a copy online or speak to one of their experts by calling 01653 617034.

Yorkshire Dales photo competition
Photos of views and wildlife have been coming in for a competition being run by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, but there is still time to send in a potentially prize-winning image. The competition – called ‘Your Yorkshire Dales National Park: a snapshot’ – runs until November 9th. The photos can be of any subject, within the categories ‘wildlife and habitats’, ‘people and places’, ‘fun and adventure’, and ‘farming, tourism and other employment’ (the category titles wouldn’t win any prizes, but no matter...). Photos must have been taken within the National Park boundary. There will be both an adult and an under-18s overall winner, to be announced on November 23rd. As with all photo competitions do check the terms and conditions first to make sure you are happy with them.

Events and festivals
Alan Hinkes, the celebrated mountaineer, will deliver the 2012 Wainwright Memorial Lecture on Friday 9th November at 7pm at the Rheged Centre, near Penrith. Alan Hinkes is the first Briton to climb all the world's highest mountains. These are the fourteen 8000m peaks, all of which are in the 'death zone', where human survival rate is measured in hours. Tickets are available direct from Rheged (01768 868000) and cost £15 each (Wainwright Society members £8)

The Hay Walking Festival takes place between the 11th-15th October. Based around Hay-on-Wye, the Brecon Beacons and Welsh borders the 2012 walking festival offers a programme of over 55 walks with something for all ages and abilities, from a few hours to full day hikes... apparently with some literary references along the way.

group outside pubThe Boots and Beer Walking Festival runs from Friday 7th - Sunday 9th of September. Tickets are available for a fun-filled weekend, packed with quality walks and plenty of Black Sheep beer. Enjoying its 11th anniversary the Festival offers a choice of 14 walks ranging from easy to challenging, specially collated by Mark Reid, author of 'The Inn Way' guidebooks. Walks will start from either Hawes, Askrigg, or Aysgarth and there will be a free daytime 'shuttle bus' linking the three registration desks. Tickets are £27.50 for the weekend; tickets for the evening entertainment are sold separately.

Charity challenges
HACK- Hike Against Cruelty to Kids - is a series of walking events organised by the NSPCC. The Shropshire event takes place on Saturday 22nd September, with organised 10 and 20 mile walks. There are others in Buxton, London, the Mournes and Devon, all in September. These team building events allow everyone over 18 years to help support vulnerable children living in our communities.

Alzheimer Scotland is organising a 5K Memory Walk in Glasgow’s beautiful Mugdock Country Park on the 16th of September. As well as a very pleasant stroll around the park, they promise a fun day out with face painting, games and the opportunity to try out a brand new woodland trail. Register at 0845 260 0789 or visit the website:

St Christopher’s Midnight Walk 2012 is taking place on Saturday 13th October from 11pm until 2am. The event has a target of raising £40,000 for the Candle Project, providing vital support to children and young people who have lost someone close to them.  In addition to walkers, the organisers need volunteers to help marshal the route. The walk starts at St Christopher’s Hospice (51-59 Lawrie Park Road Sydenham SE26 6DZ) and takes in the Crystal Palace area. Entry for the 5 mile walk is £15, which includes a Midnight Walk T-Shirt. Further information and online registration at 

Prospect Hospice’s Marlborough Starlight Hike is on Saturday 15th September. Registration is at 7.30pm for a 8pm start at St John’s School, Marlborough. This is a 15km sponsored night hike around Marlborough and the surrounding countryside. Further information at or call 01793 816161.

Member news
On 29th September, Walkingworld contributor Peter Harper is taking part in The Thames Path Challenge, a 50 km sponsored walk. He is joining a team from Lloyds Banking Group raising funds for Save the Children. Visit the team’s JustGiving site.

Romney Pargeter, owner of the rather fabulous looking Buscot Manor Bed and Breakfast in Oxfordshire, is offering a 10% discount for the remainder of 2012 for any members quoting 'Walkingworld'.

Patrick Swinden has a family wedding to go to in Italy at the end of September, which is in a town called Mombaruzzo in the Piemonte Region (half-way between Allessandra and Alba and one and a half hours drive south'ish of Milan) and wants to know about walks in the region. Can you help? Let us know and we’ll pass on your info.