Newsletter > Newsletter archive > March 2016

March 2016

Going straight, the Roman way
The Roman invasion of Britain transformed our country completely, not least because of the network of roads that the conquering army swiftly constructed. Fanning out from London and joining key centres across Britain, this was the first genuinely strategic communications network our islands had experienced.

Over time the Romans built a vast web of roads, many taking that characteristic straight line between two points. Although the primary purpose was military the roads developed into important trade routes, taking the 'Roman way' to the indigenous population and carrying away valuable minerals, metals and foodstuffs.

When Roman rule waned around 410AD most of the roads continued in regular use but tended to fall into disrepair. In many cases the original line of the route continued to be followed. They have become the roads of today and any Roman archaeology has gone or is deeply buried.

In other places, as on Stane Street in West Sussex – featured in our Pathways book - the route fell out of use and remnants of the original Roman construction can still be seen. Find out more about the fascinating history of the Roman road by reading the chapter on the website or by getting the Kindle or paperback edition of the book.

Everyone's getting into crowdfunding
It is perhaps a sign of the times. As public funding dries up for what are sometimes considered low priority projects, various bodies are turning to 'crowdfunding' to raise the money needed to keep our footpaths in good shape.

The British Mountaineering Council has launched an ambitious scheme to raise more than £100,000 to repair damaged paths on some of Britain's most popular peaks, including the highest mountains of England and Wales, Scafell Pike and Snowdon. The campaign also takes in Ingleborough in the Yorkshire Dales, Kinder Scout in the Peak District and part of the Brecon Beacons Horseshoe, as well as moorland on Dartmoor, Exmoor and the North York Moors. The Mend Our Mountains scheme is slightly different from a traditional fundraising drive in that various outdoor experiences are being offered in return for the more substantial donations.

Meanwhile, in our own neck of the woods, The North Pennines AONB Partnership, in collaboration with the Friends of the North Pennines, is running a crowdfunding campaign called Raising The Standard. The aim is to raise £27,000 to improve a section of Wainwright's Coast to Coast path, on the border between Cumbria and North Yorkshire. Increased footfall and heavy rain is damaging the ground near Nine Standards Rigg and turning much of it into bog. The AONB Partnership want to lay stone flags along a damaged section of the route, not only to protect the peat but to give people a stable surface to walk on. You can watch a video about the project and visit the Crowdfunder website if you would like to get involved.

Village to village hiking in the Pyrenees
This is a wonderful week of self guided hiking between the tranquil villages of the high Pyrenees. There's a real sense of journey throughout the week as you head up the valley. The scenery is fantastic throughout the week and the route doesn't just stick to the valley floor but takes you into beautiful high mountain terrain.

There's a choice of an easy or hard route between each village with the longer options being quite strenuous - one day reaches the peak of Musales at 2654 metres. Hike Pyrenees transport your luggage each day meaning you just have to walk with a daypack.

Hotels are all are charming with great food and facilities in traditional Pyrenean villages with narrow winding streets and Romanesque churches.

For more details order a brochure or call Hike Pyrenees on 0208 123 5049.

Pyrenees Village to Village
- 7 nights self guided hotel to hotel walking
- Prices from £699 pp
- Includes 7 nights full board accommodation with breakfast, picnic lunch and evening meal each day
- Available 20 May - 31 September

An epic walk between Switzerland's most famous mountains
For lovers of high mountains, there could be no better place for a walking adventure than amid the iconic peaks of the magical Swiss Alps.

And the name of Inntravel's new Alpine adventure, From the Eiger to the Matterhorn, is enough the stir the soul of any serious walker. On this 14-night, self-guided walking holiday, you traverse a thrilling route over numerous high passes on your way from the Eiger in the Bernese Oberland to Zermatt in Valais, reaching heights of almost 3,000 metres. This is a walk that brings challenges and rewards in equal measure – not only the sense of achievement you'll feel, but views that vie among themselves for the title of 'most jaw-dropping'. Perhaps the best is saved till last as you finally see the Matterhorn's unmistakable crooked peak, a vista that will linger long in the memory.

For those with less time, Inntravel also offers a shorter version taking you over the High Passes of the Valais; or choose from one of several other 7-night walking holidays in the Swiss Alps, including The High Route, The Bernese Oberland, Lake Oeschinensee & Beyond, Around the Vaudoise Alps and Towards the Matterhorn.

For full details on Inntravel's wide selection of walking holidays, see or speak to their expert team on 01653 617034.

From the Eiger to the Matterhorn
- Self-guided hotel-hotel walking holiday
- Prices from £1,940pp, incl. 14 nights' half-board accommodation, 3 picnics, return rail from Z├╝rich or Geneva airports & detailed route guides
- Flights extra (direct from several UK regional airports)

A Purbeck Odyssey
This year the Purbeck Odyssey is taking place on June 18th from Harmans Cross in Dorset, with walks ranging from a gentle four miles to Corfe Castle and back to a 26 mile marathon challenge to Swanage, around the coast to St Aldhelms Head and back to Harmans Cross. The event is to raise funds for Leukaemia Busters' life saving research into antibody based treatments for currently incurable leukaemia. Registrations can be made online or by emailing

Raw fuel
Purely in the interests of science we have been stuffing ourselves with some new energy bars created by a company called The Primal Pantry. They are designed to have straightforward natural energy-giving ingredients which are cold-pressed into a bar so that none of the nutrients get broken down through heat. For carbohydrates each bar is made of dates, to which are added some nuts for your natural fat needs and protein. The recipe comes in various different forms, including Almond and Cashew, Brazil Nut and Cherry, Hazelnut and Cocoa and Apple and Pecan. We passed them round family and friends and we were quite impressed, finding them tasty and filling, and preferable in many ways to your typical cereal bar. If you want to give them a try you can get them in Waitrose, Sainsbury's, Tesco and health stores.

Share the path
If you find yourself accosted by strangely smiley people this weekend on the South Downs, don’t worry, it’s all part of an initiative to foster happy relations between folk using the paths and bridleways. The aim of ‘Share the path’ (#sharethepath) is to encourage the exchange of bright ‘hellos’,or whatever jolly greeting you fancy, between the various types of path users. Well we’re a cheerful lot here so we can only approve (although of course we respect the right of those who want to be grumpy in the outdoors).