Newsletter > Newsletter archive > December 2012

December 2012

We wish you a happy new year!
So 2012 turned out to be a pretty soggy year, with the Christmas period not offering much respite. The term ‘already saturated ground’ is one that we have all got rather too familiar with. Let’s all wish for a drier 2013, though not so dry that we start having hosepipe bans again.

We hope that, in spite of it all, you’ll find some inspiring winter walks on the Walkingworld website. There are plenty of options, although you may have to be prepared to put up with a bit of mud (it can even be quite fun if you approach it with a devil-may-care attitude and the right footwear). Winter can also be a time to explore Britain’s promenades and public parks (both featured in our Pathways book), and the many paths now running along old railway tracks. We sometimes forget that these are as much a part of our history as the archetypal country footpath.

Where conditions underfoot may be heavy going, it’s a good idea to allow a bit more time for your walks. You can change the duration estimate for Walkingworld walks in your settings, so you don’t have to do the calculations yourself. If you log in and click ‘Change my details’ at the very top of the page, you’ll see there is a setting for speed. It is set at a default of 4 kms/hr; you can change this to any round number, so setting it to 3 kms/hr may give you a more accurate duration for this time of year.

Palaces & Pathways of Sintra
SintraNew for 2013, Inntravel’s featured holiday this month follows the dramatic coastline of Western Portugal before exploring the remarkable ‘back garden’ of Lisbon, the former playground of Portugal’s nobility where you can uncover a wealth of cultural treasures.

Beginning in delightful Cascais, the route meanders along the coast, taking in the golden sands of Guincho and the lighthouse at Cabo de Roca – mainland Europe's most westerly point – before sweeping inland towards Sintra. Here, you can discover the town’s many elegant palaces, mansions and castles, including the astonishing Pena Palace and the Quinta de Regaleira, famed for its luxurious gardens. Staying in exceptional hotels, this holiday, Palaces & Pathways of Sintra, is as much about delving into the region’s rich past, as it is about exploring its gentle landscapes. Don’t miss the delicious Colares wine that comes from vines grown amongst the region's sand dunes, the perfect accompaniment to a tasty plate of Bacalhau à Bras.

For more details on Inntravel’s walking holidays in Portugal, see or speak to their expert team on 01653 617034.

Horror stories raising funds for Mountain RescueCumbrian Cthulhu
Two fully illustrated collections of short horror stories, set in Cumbria and inspired by horror legend H.P. Lovecraft, have gone on sale. They are great fun plus all profits from ‘Cumbrian Cthulhu’ volumes 1 and 2 are being donated to the Lake District Mountain Rescue Teams.

The authors plan to continue producing volumes of Cumbrian Cthulhu books for as long as they have new stories and continued sales, with all the writers and artists are giving their time for free. The publishing website is international, so simply change the store for UK orders to pay in pounds sterling.

Open Gardens
The Red Cross Open Gardens scheme offers a rare opportunity to explore the secrets of hidden and private gardens not usually open to the public. The programme has a spectacular list of gardens of all shapes and sizes throughout the UK. The season runs from March through to October with most of the gardens opening for a day or two during the summer months. In Berkshire, for instance, you can visit everything from a University research teaching garden to a grand Victorian walled garden complete with male voice choir. Gardens across UK can be viewed from January on the Red Cross website.

The South West Coast Path Association is hoping to raise over £250k through a month long series of sponsored walks next April, for over 50 improvement projects around the entire path. The event will entail 56 legs covering all of the Coast Path. There are lots of ways to take part, from a half day’s walk to basing a walking holiday around the campaign. Culminating with a party at Land’s End on 7th May 2013, the south coast series starts at Poole on 3rd April, with the north coast series starting at Minehead on 16th April. Each leg will be guided by local experts, rangers and path wardens. Walkers will be asked to raise £50 of sponsorship each, with further funding being generated from other organisations via matched giving.  

Walkforall_w.jpgThe Walk For All Festivals allow walkers, no matter what their capabilities, to take on tough treks around some of the most beautiful areas in the country. While each walk has a number of partner charities, including the Jane Tomlinson Appeal, participants can fundraise for any charity of their choice. The Peak District Walk in the Hope Valley takes in the area's most striking scenery, including Win Hill Pike and Edale, with a choice of three varied routes and terrains that are suitable for all abilities. In the Yorkshire Dales the three walks offer a range of breath-taking views across the Dales. While in the Lake District the festival is a spectacular showcase of Lake Windermere with three challenging walks around the classic, countryside home of Beatrix Potter.

The Chesterfield Area Walking Festival (Saturday 11 to Sunday 19 May 2013) invites you to explore the area on foot in a 9 day Walking Festival with 58 walks. You can discover the pretty Derbyshire village of Ashover, search out the Florence Nightingale connection at Pleasley Pit Country Park, explore beautiful bluebell woods as you walk through the Linacre Valley or take in some history as you walk from the famous Crooked Spire Church in Chesterfield to the English Heritage owned Bolsover Castle. 

Holiday offers
Richard & Alex Johnson are again offering members a discount on their walking holiday package based at their delightful farmhouse in the beautiful Lot department of France. The 7 night holiday is normally 742 euros for 2 people but members can save 42 euros per couple by quoting WW2013 when booking. The offer is available for all 2013 bookings made before the end of April and full details of the package can be seen at

waitby schoolIn our own part of Cumbria, the Upper Eden Valley, some of the best local accommodation providers are offering great deals throughout the winter. It really is a beautiful area, with lots of walks that are suitable when the weather isn't so good or there's snow on the higher Lakeland fells (such as the old railway lines recently featured in October's Countryfile Magazine). Check out the deals on the Walkeden website.

Member news
Catherine Ames’ book on the South Downs Way, a 100-mile walk she did through
Southern England, is out. A 'sequel' to her North Downs Way book it has plenty of lovely pictures. More information: