Winning tip: Lancashire’s Tolkien Trail
Start the Tolkien Trail on the hamlet of Hurst Green, home to 3 pubs and no outlets, and head north in direction of the 500-year-old Stonyhurst College, which schooled Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Gerard Manley Hopkins and at which JRR Tolkien stayed quite a few instances all through his life. The space across the school is alleged to have impressed the Shire, the land of the Hobbits. The five-mile round route options the so-called Cromwell’s Bridge, which the New Model Army crossed to fulfill the Royalists at Preston in 1648. Magnificent views of Pendle Hill, famed for its witches, and Clitheroe Castle additionally star on this magical stroll.
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War poet walks, Gloucestershire
St Mary’s Church, Dymock. Photograph: Alamy
Six poets, together with Robert Frost, Edward Thomas and Wilfred Gibson gathered across the Gloucestershire village of Dymock simply earlier than the outbreak of the primary world warfare. They walked, talked and wrote, impressed by the rolling verdant countryside. One of them, Edward Thomas, solely began writing poetry in December 1914 and had written almost 150 poems earlier than he died on the Western Front in April 1917. In 1990, a descendent of his opened two eight-mile Poets Paths, which begin on the village and cross by the poets’ cottages. Reflecting on previous instances, we ambled by black and white cottages and apple orchards soothed by birdsong.
Estuary amble, Firth of Forth
Blackness Castle. Photograph: Getty Images
The linear stroll from Blackness to North Queensferry permits you to go to websites from very completely different durations of Scottish historical past: Blackness Castle is a spectacular 15th-century fortification on the Forth estuary; Hopetoun House is a shocking 17th-century stately home and the Forth bridges spotlight superb engineering from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. We took the prepare from Edinburgh to Linlithgow then the bus to Blackness Castle. From there, we adopted footpaths for about seven miles to Queensferry earlier than strolling throughout the Forth Road Bridge and taking the prepare from North Queensferry again to Edinburgh.
Tin path, Cornwall
Kenidjack Valley close to St Just, Cornwall. Photograph: Alamy
From St Just Square to Pendeen Watch, that is usually referred to as the Tin Coast stroll. Cutting down into Kenidjack Valley, as painted quite a few instances by Kurt Jackson, the stroll ascends to the coast path from the valley backside and takes in all of the drama, tragedy and historical past of Botallack, Levant and Geevor mines, extra lovely granite cliffside crags and zawns (slim inlets) and blank-eyed engine homes than you possibly can shake a stick at, earlier than ending on the lighthouse at Pendeen Watch, the place the rugged western coast swings north in direction of St Ives. Astonishing.
Industrial heritage, Swansea
A bridge over the Tawe river in Swansea. Photograph: Getty Images
From the 1770s by to the mid-19th century, my home city of Swansea was one of many world’s main producers of smelted copper. There are evocative reminders of the town’s previous on a mild, four-mile return stroll alongside the leafy banks of the River Tawe to White Rock, website of one among many smelting works. Cross over the Sail Bridge reverse Sainsbury’s and stroll alongside the facet of the Tawe on cycle route 43. You will cross ruined wharves, deserted kilns, and stays of the unique dock. Work is below technique to defend the world as a website of particular scientific curiosity and develop it into an industrial heritage park.
Mills boon, Derbyshire
Derbyshire hamlet of Litton Mill. Photograph: Alamy
The steep valley of the River Wye, close to Tideswell in Derbyshire, is an attractive wooded panorama however, within the late 18th century, it was one of many birthplaces of the economic revolution. This five-mile stroll, from the Monsal Head automobile park, passes by disused railway tunnels and over bridges with dramatic views, and visits Litton Mill, as soon as infamous for poor working circumstances, together with youngster labour. The mill nestles in Millers Dale, and has now been transformed into flats, however it nonetheless has an odd ambiance, at odds with its environment, and it offers an enchanting perception into the ebb and movement of technological change.
Pilgrims’ progress, Kent
Devils Kneading Trough, close to Wye, trying south in direction of Dungeness. Photograph: Adam McCulloch
The Devils Kneading Trough and Wye Crown sit on the North Downs chalk escarpment above enticing Wye village, just some miles from Ashford and an hour’s prepare trip from London. The North Downs Way nationwide path opened in 1978 and follows intently the route between Winchester and Canterbury Cathedral the place pilgrims travelled in historical instances to hope on the shrine of Thomas Becket after his brutal homicide by the hands of 4 of King Henry II’s knights. A bit of additional on, the Devils Kneading Trough nationwide nature reserve plunges a deep and dramatic scar within the panorama created by the final ice age. A wonderful four-mile round stroll with views to Dungeness and even Rye.
A chunk of Portugal, New Forest
The Portuguese Fireplace within the New Forest close to Lyndhurst. Photograph: Alamy
The peaceable three-mile beech-lined stroll from Millyford Bridge automobile park close to Lyndhurst hides an sudden secret. After crossing tumbling streams and maybe recognizing deer and New Forest ponies, you’ll abruptly come upon the Portuguese Fireplace. This moving and strange monument is all that is still of the location of a camp occupied by a Portuguese military unit through the first world warfare that, with Canadian troops, helped produce timber for the warfare effort after the locals had gone off to struggle. The Forestry Commission have retained this hearth from the cookhouse as a memorial to the lads who lived and labored right here.
Lock Keepers Cottage, Lock 92. Photograph: Alamy
Two thousand years in three miles – a stroll alongside the Rochdale Canal affords a unprecedented snapshot of the town’s historical past. It principally follows the towpath within the open however there’s a lengthy tunnel close to Piccadilly station and also you stroll alongside vibrant Canal Street. Plenty of alternatives en-route to depart to discover the encircling streets or search refreshment. Starting at lock 92 Castlefield, just under the Roman fort, you’ll see the Beetham Tower, a Victorian grade II-listed former energy station and fashionable condo blocks. After lock 82, walkers come throughout the magnificent Royal and Murrays’ cotton mills and, on the opposite facet, the New Islington regeneration space, together with a brand new stretch of canal and the placing Chips constructing.
Felixstowe forts, Suffolk coast
Bawdsey Manor. Photograph: Alamy
Landguard Fort was the location of the final opposed seaborne invasion of England. In 1667, a Dutch pressure was repulsed right here by the Royal Marines of their first land battle. This six-mile stroll from the fort to Bawdsey Manor takes in sea views, fashionable docks, historical past and loads of pitstops for tea. Pass alongside the Felixstowe promenade, maybe stopping for cake and a beverage at The Alex. Ideally time it as a way to stroll alongside the seaside close to low tide (highway different accessible) previous the picturesque seaside huts. You will cross 4 imposing Martello Towers, constructed between 1805 and 1812, to withstand a possible invasion by Napoleon. Either cease at Felixstowe Ferry for additional espresso and cake, or take the foot ferry throughout the River Deben and end at Bawdsey Manor, the place within the 1930s Robert Watson-Watt carried out the analysis that led to the creation of the UK’s very important radar defence through the Battle of Britain.
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