I have subscribed to Country Walking Magazine for a couple of years now and it is a fabulous publication. It is full of useful information on every subject that could possibly be of interest to a walker, ranging from the most effective walking gear to the latest outdoor apps for mobile devices and even the best way to pick blackberries from bushes in the early Autumn.
In every issue there are routes that either the editorial staff or one of the magazine contributors have actually walked. Each walking route comes with detailed directions and an Ordnance Survey style map.
The routes vary in length and difficulty and are located across the length and breadth of the country. There are also some features on overseas locations.
Over time, Greg (my husband) and I have attempted a few of them from the magazine.
Here are some of my favourites, with links to the more detailed blog posts I wrote abut them. We have followed some of the routes completely from start to finish and with others, we have done sections of the walk. Routes can be adapted to any level of fitness. Sometimes there are an extra hill or two to add further challenge to the walk. These can easily be left out as needed.
During 2016 I have been doing a #walk1000miles in a year challenge. This is boots-on walking. You can read about my progress in this post. I am currently on 937 miles.
Bosworth Train Line Walk, Leicestershire – Route 10, July 2015
We parked at Shenton train station, near to the Market Bosworth Battlefield Heritage centre, which was the start of the walk. Our final destination was the train station at Shackerstone where we joined the old steam train, which took us back to Shenton.
On the walk, we passed through woodland, some farmland and the Market Bosworth Country Park (where we had our lunch). The paths were well marked. Part of the route was the Leicestershire Round, which is clearly marked with yellow waymarkers.
Bosworth Battlefield Memorial
Amanda walking in the Summer Fields
Map from Country Walking of Bosworth Line Route
It was a hot, sunny day and we were very glad to get to the train station at Shakerstone. There is a beautiful old, Victorian tea-room at the station and our only regret is that we did not stop for tea there, as the facilities back at Shenton are a bit limited. It was a walk of 7 miles miles and was a really lovely day out.
We followed this route completely. Go Here for the more detailed blog post
Martlin Hill, Colton, near Rugeley, Staffordshire – Route 12, December 2015
We did this walk on a wet November day and it was very muddy. We passed through several farm fields, where there was deep mud in the gateways and some of the fields were like a quagmire. The farmland has cows on it, so it was difficult to tell what was mud and what was cow dung.
Pond by Parchfield Farm ©Gregory Goldston
Muddy Stile ©Gregory Goldston
This is a very pretty route and you could have some great views of the Staffordshire countryside from the tops of the hills.
It would be a lovely route for a summer day when the paths and fields are dry. It is a route of 5 and 3/4 miles. We followed this route completely.
Here is the longer blog post about this walk
Snowdrop Valley, Wheddon Cross, Exmoor – Route 2, February 2016
The snowdrops are in bloom for a short period in February, so there is always a risk of bad weather with this walk. We went on a day where it was snowing at the top of the hill and beautifully sunny down in the valley.
There had been a lot of rain in the previous weeks, making the paths very muddy and slippery, so we made the decision to take the bus down to the valley and back up.
We just walked along Snowdrop Valley and went to Dunkery Beacon (the highest point on Exmoor) – which is part of the same route – on another occasion when we could actually see the Beacon and it was safe to walk up to it.
View form Dunkery Beacon, Exmoor
Snowdrop Valley itself is less than a mile all the way around, however it took us over 3 hours to walk around twice around the Valley. This is because Greg, who is a keen photographer, was in his element and we stopped at virtually every clump of flowers. The whole valley is carpeted in snowdrops and it is beautiful.
Greg got some stunning photos from the day.
Carpet of Snowdrops at Snowdrop Valley, Wheddon Cross, Exmoor, © 2016 Gregory Goldston
Snow Drop Valley, Wheddon Cross, Exmoor
Here is the more detailed blog post of this walk.
Bradgate Park, Leicestershire Route 11, Spring 2016
This is a circular route of 3 and 3/4 miles, which we followed completely the first time we went here. It is a terrific walk with some fabulous views from the top. Bradgate Park was the childhood home of Lady Jane Gray before she became queen for a brief nine days in 1553.
There is a flat promenade and tea shop at the bottom, which is very popular at weekends. At the top there the famous Old John Tower, tower, which was an 18th century folly.
Amanda at the top of Bradgate Park, Leicestershire
On a clear day, you can see for miles. Greg got some more fabulous photos.
We have been there twice now and the second time we did the walk the other way around. We parked in Swithland Wood car park, which is already have way up the hill, so it made the walk to the top much easier than the climb from the promenade on the other side.
Bradgate Park with Memorial ©2016 Gregory Goldston
Perhaps we were also a bit fitter when we went the second time!
The Wrekin- Shropshire Route 9 , March 2015
We mostly followed the Country Walking Magazine route, apart from the little hill at the start, however the route was designed in such a way that the hill could easily be left off, without spoiling the route.
The route takes you around the Wrekin to the far side, where there is a steep climb to the top. It is well worth every step as the views from the top are spectacular and it is said that you can see 17 counties from the top on a clear day.
We have done this route twice now, once on a cold a misty day in February and once on a brilliant summer day in July.
View from the top of the South Side of The Wrekin, Shropshire
Amanda at the top of The Wrekin
The route is 4.5 miles with a total ascent of 300 metres/ 900 feet.
Ice Cream at the Halfway House on the way down was very welcome! (Summer only)
Here is the full blog post about this walk.
Dovedale and Thorpe Cloud – Route 27, July 2015
We have walked along the Dovedale Valley in Derbyshire on numerous occasions, but I had never walked up to Thorpe Cloud until I saw it featured in Country Walking Magazine.
For me, it was hard going, especially the steep climb at the end. Despite all the miles I have walked, going uphill is still challenging.
I was glad to get to the top and enjoy a mug of hot tea, whilst contemplating the spectacular views. It was worth the effort.
Looking back up to the Top Of Thorpe Cloud ©2016 Amanda Goldston
Looking Down on Dovedale Valley, Derbyshire , ©2016 Amanda Goldston
I walked along to Milldale village and enjoyed another cup of tea and slice of cake by the river. I did contemplate the part of the walk that would take me back up to the top of the valley behind Milldale and along the paths on the top of the cliffs.
I did not think my legs were up to it after the onslaught from Thorpe Cloud, so I left off that part of the route and walked back along the valley. One thing I love about Dovedale is the ice-cream van in the car park that serves huge hand-made ice-creams. This always gives me great motivation on the return journey!
This route is 6.5 miles.
Here is the blog post from my walk.
I really look forward to Country Walking Magazine landing on my doormat each month and eagerly turn to the routes section at the back to see what exciting adventures are in store for me this month!
To get your own copy via subscription – paper copy or digital or both – please go to Country Walking Magazine