Newsletter > Newsletter archive > June 2018

June 2018

'Walking Roots' - mixed medieval fortunes

In our 'Walking Roots' pathways project we make our way into medieval times and things sometimes get rather too exciting in our little corner of Cumbria. East Cumbria is disputed territory between the English and the Scots and the battle goes on for centuries. It has a profound effect on the lives of those living in our remote parish.

And yet life somehow goes on and the paths and tracks through the parish continue to develop. Some of the more enterprising farmers break away from a feudal relationship with the manor and, over time, their commercial interests encourage the development of better routes to town. A new bridge, in particular, can make a significant difference, shifting the balance between one market town and another.

And when life ends in a remote part of the country, we touch upon the strange world of the 'corpse' and 'coffin' roads. Here our coffin road leads to the church of St Stephen in Kirkby Stephen, the 'mother church' for the area. However as one corpse is taken down it is quite possibly met by a line of horses laden with goods on the way up. The true age of the packhorse is about to begin. Read this month's Walking Roots blog on the changing paths of the medieval age.

A bit too much vegetation?
A bit of rain, a bit of sun, and everything goes green! For the most part it's exactly what we like to see. But we're also getting to that time of year when reports of overgrown footpaths start to flood in. With councils having already cut back on their footpath maintenance teams - rather than cutting back the foliage - we suspect the situation is not going to improve.

If a public right of way is blocked you have every right to find a sensible way round. It can be a good idea to carry a walking pole or stick to bash down nettles and, even on a sunny day, a pair of waterproof overtrousers can help to get you through without being stung or scratched. Of course if a landowner has wilfully obstructed a right of way that should be reported to the local council and it's even worth reporting excessive vegetation if it's particularly bad. The Ramblers have an app, called Pathwatch, which can be used to report footpath problems nice and easily.

Switzerland's loveliest valley
In a country where outstanding natural beauty is the norm, it can be difficult to stand out. But though the Engadine Valley may not have the astonishingly high peaks of the Valais or the sparkling glacial lakes of the Bernese Oberland, there is nevertheless something very special - and unique - about this timeless corner of Switzerland.
Perhaps it's the centuries-old stone dwellings, whose intricately painted fa├žades are so different from the chocolate-box wooden chalets you find elsewhere in the country. Or the fact that you can still hear whisperings of ancient Romansch in the valley's idyllic, time-forgotten villages. One thing is certain - this is an area made for walkers, with many splendid paths linking the flower-strewn upper slopes with the verdant valley floor.

Starting in the fairy-tale village of Guarda, Inntravel's self-guided walking holiday in the Engadine allows you to fully explore the area's untouched and untamed Alpine landscapes. Follow the rushing River Inn, enjoy a panoramic circuit around pretty Lake Sils and walk in Switzerland's only National Park, where red deer, chamoix and ibex roam. To finish the holiday in style, why not add a few nights in the Goms Valley? Reached by the world-famous Glacier Express train, the Hotel Castle in Blitzingen offers superb cuisine, fantastic service and easy access to more ‘wow' walking.

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

Villages of the Engadine
- Hotel-to-hotel, self-guided walking holiday
- From £1245pp, inc 7 nights' half board accommodation, 2 picnics, detailed route notes & maps
- Flights extra (direct from several UK regional airports)
- Extend your stay and travel on the world-famous Glacier Express
- Available 21 June-30 September 2018

Winter walking in the Alpujarra and Sierra Nevada
February is a wonderful time to walk in this part of southern Spain. The mountain peaks glisten with snow and skies are the purest blue. Lower down there are almond orchards in full bloom, whilst the tang of wood smoke reaches you from village firesides. It's warm during the day and crisp at night and it doesn't get dark until 7 o'clock.

Casa Ana are offering a week-long holiday including three days walking above the Poqueira and Trevelez gorges with views of the Sierra Nevada range and a cliff-top walk in the unspoilt Maro-Cerro Gordo Natural Park, with panoramic views of the Mediterranean and lunch on the beach.  As a complete contrast there's a day snow-shoeing in the mountains. And last but not least, a walk in the Contraviesa range with endless vistas of almond orchards in full bloom.

In the evenings you can relax with a glass of mulled wine by the log-burning stove whilst gourmet dinners are prepared at your lodging, Casa Ana. On one evening you'll have a chance to sample some delicious regional wines with wine writer Tom Goetz.

Casa Ana have an early bird offer for Walkingworld members: 100 euros off per person if you book before 31st July.  Just four places available at this price. Contact Anne at or 0034 678 298 497 quoting ‘Walkingworld'.

Winter walking holiday
- 16-23 February 2019
- 1175 euros sharing, 1375 euros single.
-Includes 7 nights' bed and breakfast, 5 picnic lunches, 6 dinners, wine-tasting, snow-shoeing equipment, local transport and guides.
- Flights, airport transfers, one lunch not included.

Walk Slovenia - last chance to book for 2018
With only a few rooms left in the 2018 season, now is your chance to book a walking holiday of a lifetime. Enjoy peace, tranquillity, good company and plenty of hiking opportunities, with an all-inclusive guided walking holiday at Pri Lenart Hotel - an historic building, with plenty of modern luxuries.

Home to some of the most beautiful walking routes in Europe, Slovenia covers a variety of terrains, including woodland, high hills, meadows and mountain ascents, offering incredible scenery along the way.

The 2018 season runs until 13th October, with some fantastic low prices available for breaks in July, August and October. Prices start from £895 and cover everything from accommodation and guided walks, to food and drink.

For a luxury walking holiday, look no further than Pri Lenart Hotel - a walkers paradise! To find out more visit the Walk Slovenia website or call +386 41 650 321.

Chance to win a trek round Mont Blanc

The Tour du Mont Blanc regularly features in the world's top ten 'must do' treks. Mont Blanc Treks are experts in providing both guided and self-guided walking holidays for this route, and they are keen to understand why people undertake the challenge, how they approach it and what they get out of it. They are looking for someone to share the experience with them.

The company is launching a competition to give away a Guided Trek of Tour du Mont Blanc - easterly circuit, from Courmayeur to Chamonix, worth £1485, setting off on the 6th August 2018.  The winner will be announced on the 6th July. The free trek will include 7 nights, 6 days trekking, with baggage transfer included and an expert local guide.

To enter the competition or simply find out more about trekking in this stunning region of the Alps, visit the website

The North Pennines Walking Festival (30 June-14 July) celebrates the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and UNESCO Global Geopark, with walks covering a variety of subjects including local history, nature and geology and at a variety of ability levels. On the last day of the Festival (14 July), the Pennine Way settlement of Middleton in Teesdale celebrates its launch as a 'Walkers are Welcome' town with a walk up Snaisgill.

Staffordshire celebrates a forgotten figure of history this year as it marks 1100 years since the death of the most influential and powerful woman in Anglo-Saxon England. The eldest daughter of Alfred the Great, Aethelflaed ruled the Kingdom of Mercia for seven years before she took her last breath in Tamworth, the ancient capital of Mercia, on June 12, 918. The focus of the celebrations is Tamworth Castle Grounds, historically situated within the Saxon burh, the settlement that was re-fortified by Aethelflaed in 913 and where she spent much of her later life.

This month marks the opening of a new exhibition at the Palace Green library in Durham. Bodies of Evidence: How Science Unearthed Durham's Dark Secret traces the story of the Scottish soldiers captured after the battle of Dunbar and taken to Durham. The exhibition shows how the latest scientific techniques have revealed the soldiers' tales – how they lived, why they died, and what became of those who survived – in an unusual amount of detail. It runs until 7th October.