Monday, 11 December 2017

Our 5 favourite Christmas walks to try over the festive period

The Christmas holidays are nearly upon us, giving friends and families the perfect opportunity to spend quality time together while enjoying the great outdoors. Wrap yourself up with the new hats, scarves and gloves you received for Christmas, and head outside for a refreshing walk. Afterwards, you can head home or find a cosy pub or cafĂ© with a crackling log fire and enjoy  a warming hot chocolate or two!

Whether you choose to walk along a seaside promenade, take a ramble through the countryside or stroll through woodland, the fresh air will blow away any lingering cobwebs you may have from over-indulging over Christmas, plus its great training for those of you taking on the Just Walk challenge next year.

We’ve put together this handy guide to 5 of our favourite festive rambling routes around England covering walks in Sussex, Surrey, London, Yorkshire and Devon.

We’ve deliberately picked walking routes that come in at less than 10km, making them more suitable for younger families, varied fitness levels and ages alike, take a look and see…

1. Seven Sisters & Birling Gap, Sussex 

Starting point: Tiger Inn, Birling Gap
Distance: 9km (5.5 miles)
Time to complete: 2 hours (average)

A classic winter’s walk that takes on one of the UK’s most photographed stretches of coastline, the chalk cliffs of The Seven Sisters. Start at the Tiger Inn and follow the South Downs Way along the coast from Birling Gap to Belle Tout Lighthouse (which has featured in numerous films and TV programmes) to make the most of The Seven Sisters before circling back inland to the pub.

Top Tip: It’s easier to walk this loop to the coast and back anticlockwise so the prevailing wind is at your back.

For further information of this Sussex walk, please click here.

2. Temple of the Winds Walk, Surrey

Starting point: Black Down National Trust Car Park
Distance: 3.2km (2 miles)
Time to complete: 1 hour 30 minutes (average)

Follow in Alfred Lord Tennyson’s footsteps and take a walk through Black Down’s beautiful woodland and heathland. The highlight of this walk is finding the ‘Temple of Winds’, named after a Bronze Age circular bank and it is here you find the best views of the South Downs National Park. Sit on the charming curved stone seat in this little-known spot and admire the views of the West Weald.

Discover more about this Surrey walk here.

3. Nostell Priory, West Yorkshire

Starting point: Stable Courtyard
Distance: 2.2km (1.4 miles)
Time to complete: 45 minutes (average)

Enjoy the peace and tranquillity as you stroll round lakeside paths and discover the enchanting Menagerie Garden. Originally created as a home for exotic species such as monkeys, colourful birds and even lions, Nostell’s Menagerie House and Garden is now the scene for a stunning lakeside walk.

There’s still plenty to see, from the Swiss bridge arching over the lake to the gothic archway that welcomes you as enter the Menagerie Garden and which is now home to roosting bats.

Find out more about this Yorkshire walking route right here.

4. Richmond Park, London

Starting point: Richmond Park
Distance: 5.5km to (3.5 miles)
Time to complete: 1.5 – 2 hours (average)

A place of outstanding natural beauty, stepping into Richmond Park will make you feel like you are a million miles away from London. One of London’s largest enclosed green spaces, it is even more beautiful in winter with its frosted white forestland, icicle covered trees and expansive lakes, sometimes iced over in places. If you are lucky you may even catch sight of the beautiful fallow deer or even bats that inhabit the park.

Discover the Isabella Plantation woodland gardens with its extensive range of rare and unusual plants, refuel at Pembrooke Lodge tea rooms with a warming cup of tea and enjoy distant views of St Paul’s Cathedral from King Henry’s Mound.

Discover more about this London walk here

5. Killerton Garden Walk, Devon

Starting point: Stable block
Distance: 1.6km to (1 mile)
Time to complete: 1 hour (average)

Take a stroll around the chapel and the delightful house gardens where you can admire winter and early spring flowers including wintersweet, the hellebores and the amazing coloured stems of cornus.

During this one-mile walk, wander through the garden’s lofty heights where you can enjoy sweeping views across the parkland to Dartmoor as well discovering hidden areas such as the Bears Hut and Rock garden.

Learn more about this unique Devon walk here

We’d love to hear from you and find out what your favourite walk is and where it is. Please feel free to comment on our blog… we may also share these on our social media platforms too (thank you in advance).

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

5 reasons to take on the Just Walk challenge…

We would love you to come and join us for a day of walking across the South Downs on Saturday 12th May and make every step count. It doesn’t matter what reason you have for signing up to the ‘Just Walk’ challenge, from a seasoned pro to a walking newbie, we will be right alongside you offering help, advice and support.

Here are our top 5 reasons to take on the ‘Just Walk’ challenge…

1. For charity
If you have a cause close to your heart, then a ‘Just Walk’ challenge is a great way to raise funds and really make a difference. Due to the unique nature of our challenge, once you have paid your event fee, any money raised after that goes directly to your chosen charity.

2. Personal challenge
It’s time to take you outside your comfort zone and push yourself to your limit to see what you are really made of both physically and mentally. There is a route for everyone – providing the perfect opportunity to realise your potential.

3. Fitness 
Whatever your fitness level, walking is a great way to stay healthy and the benefits are endless. Not only will you see your fitness levels increase but it will also brighten your mood and boost your self-esteem. You could also join a walking group as part of your training which will be a great social factor too.

Top Tip: Wear a Fitbit or pedometer as part of your training programme so you can track the number of steps per walk and see how you progress over the coming weeks and months.

4. Family time 
Sometimes life is very busy and can impact on quality family time together. Taking up a walking challenge as a family is a great way to enjoy spending quality time together that will make memories to last a lifetime. Bonding over a unique and positive experience has also been shown to be very beneficial to your child’s mental and social development.

5. Team building
Whether you are a group of friends, family or work colleagues, this challenge is a great way to build strong bonds and work together as a team. Supporting one another through the training, motivating each other on the day and achieving your goal as a group is a wonderful feeling of comradery.

Sound good? Interested? Ready and willing to participate?
Then what are you waiting for… sign up for the ‘Just Walk’ challenge today!