Newsletter > Newsletter archive > September 2020

September 2020

Changes in our forests
There's a quiet revolution going on in our commercial forests and a very welcome one. Historically conifer plantations planted throughout the 20th century have been places of relentless mono-culture, with little to offer in the way of biodiversity and habitat. They have also done little to slow the run off of water - making life more difficult in communities downstream - and have been susceptible to collapse in high winds and other health threats.

We have learned that the conifer plantation above Walkingworld HQ in Cumbria is changing to a form of management called Continuous Cover Forestry (CCF). The regime has been widely and successfully used abroad for many decades. In France and Germany, for instance, it is referred to as 'close to nature forestry'. Until recently British forestry management companies have been slow to take it up but momentum is gaining.

Rather than having a cycle of clear felling and replanting with a single species every 20-30 years, CCF encourages the taking of smaller stands of trees on a regular basis. These are sold for timber in various markets, so the plantation still operates on a commercial basis. But regrowth can be a mixture of planted trees and natural generation. In our local plantation thousands of birch trees have already naturally seeded and grown. These will now be left to prosper along with the conifers.

The advantages of CCF are greater resilience to wind, a more positive contribution to the effects of climate change and a much more diverse habitat. As you take your forest walks around the UK we hope you will see much more of this approach, if you haven't done so already. On a recent break in mid-Wales for instance we were delighted to see notice boards describing exactly the same forestry management scheme and a burgeoning mixed woodland.

The Borders & beyond
This autumn, Slow Travel specialists, Inntravel, have turned their attention to the green and pleasant landscapes close to home, unveiling two new self-guided walking holidays in the UK.

Their six-night discovery of the North Norfolk coast is already full for 2020, though bookings are now open for 2021, and with mile upon mile of pristine sand, an unexpectedly rich history and nature reserves aplenty, this area is a joy to explore on foot. If you’re looking to get away sooner, places remain on Inntravel’s Scottish Borders walk - a fabulous new hotel-to-hotel itinerary amid the bucolic landscapes south of Edinburgh.

The scenery may be gentle but wherever you walk in the Borders you will find reminders of the region's fascinating past: fortified tower houses that hark back to the days of constant skirmishing between the English and Scots; and impressive houses such as Abbotsford, home to the prolific Sir Walter Scott who made his home in the Borders and wrote many of his greatest works here. Inntravel's route leads through the heart of the region, following the course of the famous River Tweed as its tumbles downstream, twisting through a neat patchwork of countryside and pausing in the traditional towns of Peebles and Innerleithen, before ending beneath the Eildon Hills in delightful Melrose.

The Borders and Norfolk are soon to be joined, we're told, by new walking breaks in Northumberland and the Thames Valley. Watch this space…

For more details on Inntravel’s self-guided holidays in the UK and Europe, visit or email their expert team at

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Things to do at half-term
In the Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, you can join the team at Shropshire Hills Discovery Centre for Autumn Apple Day with tours of the orchards, apple pressing and jelly making demonstrations and lots of fun activities for all the family. There's homemade cider or apple juice and deliciously prepared apple delights in the café. The event is free and on October 25.

We're coming into the ideal period for stargazing. In an event running as part of Exmoor Dark Skies Festival you can delve into the world of astronomy on a guided walk through Exmoor, an International Dark Sky Reserve and home to some of the darkest skies in the country, with a local astronomer. The evening is followed up by supper in a nearby pub to finish off the evening. From £18.00 adults, £10.00 children. October 16,17, 18, 20, 21, 22, 24. There are plenty of other stargazing events as part of the same festival.