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May 2021

Britain's temperate rainforests
Rainforest is not a word one immediately associates with Britain. While our country is certainly not tropical, we know from the last month alone that it is definitely wet enough to sustain very damp woodland, the sort of place where plants are able to grow on other plants. These 'temperate rainforests' can be recognised through the abundance of lichens, mosses and ferns covering the branches and trunks of trees. They are like tropical rainforests in miniature. Many of us will have passed through such places, perhaps not really taking in how special they are.

Scotland's 'rainforest' is made up of native woodlands, predominantly along the west coast, where it is much milder and wetter than the east. Similar conditions can be found in many parts of Wales and in parts of England, notably in the south west and around the Lake District and the Pennines.

Everywhere this unusual and globally important natural environment could very easily be lost. Both Scotland and Wales have fairly well established projects to identify, study and protect their temperate rainforest sites. Now nature author Guy Shrubsole has set up a blog, Lost Rainforests of England, with the aim to record as many sites in England as possible. You can see the woodlands already recorded on a map and submit your own if you think you know of a suitable candidate. There is plenty of guidance on the site on what to look for and recording a site is as simple as sending him a location and some photographs.

Keeping us updated

Please remember that there is a feature on the Walkingworld app that allows you to send us reports of changes on the walks, including a photograph if you think that would be helpful. The most common change by far is from a stile to a gate, something that is very welcome, especially as stiles have a tendency to collapse after a few years. You'll find the change reporting link under each waymark instruction. You do need to have mobile data on at the time of the submission - if you don't have data while on the walk it can be done once you are back home, although this does mean we don't get the location data to confirm where you were.

For all those who have been submitting reports, and more general comments on the walks, thank you! Your efforts mean a lot to those who come after you.

Portugal, off the beaten track
Have you ever heard of the Lima Valley, one of Portugal's greenest corners, where historic mansions nestle alongside vineyards, meadows and orchards of chestnut and olive trees? Or the ArrĂ¡bida Natural Park – just a stone's throw from Lisbon, but virtually unknown to tourists, despite its spectacular scenery and highly acclaimed cuisine?

These are just two of the little-known landscapes you can explore on a self-guided walking break with Inntravel, who are resuming holidays to green-list destination Portugal from Tuesday 1 June. Inntravel's itineraries range from gentle walks to more challenging hikes, with all holidays giving you the chance to experience a region 'up close' – to appreciate its views, absorb its culture and savour its delicious local fare. All trips include detailed route notes, stays at welcoming accommodation of character, and - where more than one hotel is involved - luggage transfers.

In addition to mainland Portugal, Inntravel offer two holidays on Madeira: a hotel-to-hotel walk along the levadas of the east, and a single-centre exploration of the island's quieter, western side. Both feature fabulous flora and dramatic, mountain scenery.

Visit Inntravel's website to view their full collection of Portuguese breaks, or contact their expert team to discuss your travel plans directly – they can be reached either online or by telephone on 01653 617001.

Book with confidence
Flexible amendment policy
Bonded with ATOL & ABTA for your complete financial protection
Covid-inclusive travel insurance (UK residents only)
Timely, no-quibble refunds if Inntravel cannot operate your holiday

Everest in the 20s
2021 marks the centenary of the first British expedition to Everest. To commemorate the occasion The Alpine Club is hosting what looks to be a fascinating exhibition ‘Everest: By Those Who Were There’ at its premises of 55 Charlotte Road, Shoreditch, EC2A 3QF. The exhibition uses the words of expedition members from 1921, 1922 and 1924 - the last including the fated Mallory and Irvine attempt on the summit. Irvine's ice axe, retrieved a few years later, is one of the exhibits. As well as diary entries and hand-written notes, visitors can explore the art works and photography produced on the expeditions, as well as clothing and equipment used on the mountain.

The exhibition opens to the public on the 21st June and can be visited on Tuesdays and Wednesday between the hours of 12:00 and 17:30 until October 17 (closed during August). Viewings can be made at other times and days by prior arrangement. The club recommends that whenever you plan to attend, you contact in advance.