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4.3 out of 5 stars
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Being into walking/hiking and climbing (I must admit that I haven't done as much as I'd like to lately. Why do we have to work?) my brother bought me this book for my birthday. 44 not out! Yippeee :)

The Countryfile Great British Walks book is a good little book for anyone who is a) Thinking of starting to go on walks or b) Experienced walkers who are planning to go on a walk as a reconnaissance tool to give you a good idea of the route, any potential problems, things to see along the way.

It's well set out, giving clear and concise information to get you started. The book gives a little history of how we got access to the countryside and land which was once off limits to us mere plebs! But. . .obviously there are areas of land/private property that you cannot ramble through which this book does cover a little and provides a web address for so you can read up on open access land. Very useful. I have myself 'wandered' accidentally onto private land and I think I broke some type of record for sprinting from one side of a field to another and vaulting over a 5ft fence, leaving my new bull friend for dust! I think I'd have beaten Usain Bolt that day! Funny now but terrifying at the time. You're also reminded that proper walking boots and clothes along with food/liquids are a necessity in order to safely complete any walking route. It goes without saying I think.

The book is set out in regions -

South West, South East, East, Heart of England, Wales, North West (which is my area), North East, Scotland and Northern Island.

Each regional chapter contains several walking routes. For example the North West lists the following walks. . .

- Hilbre Island
- The Gritstone Trail
- Forest of Bowland
- Rossendale
- Crook O'Lune
- Coniston
- Eskdale
- St Bees Head
- Buttermere
- Derwent Water
- Ullswater
- Martindale

So, as you can see, there's quite a few walks listed and the same goes for each area.

Each walk is presented across a double page spread. On the left page is the actual walking directions from the start point, to the finish. You are informed of the distance and if the walk is considered easy, moderate or challenging. During the directions description you are given interesting things like wildlife, natural features, castles/monuments and such to look out for, which is handy. Also you can always double check these walks out with information off the internet, there's loads out there.

Now to the right page and you are given the Ordinance Survey map of that walk with your walking route marked down as a red line. There is a 'key' at the top of the maps for which the legend is given on the page opposite the book contents at the front. The legend/key informs you of these things you may find along your route. . .

- Nature
- History
- Cycling trail
- Train journey
- Boat trip
- Accessible route (for wheelchairs)
- Food
- Arts and Culture
- Horse riding
- Country drive
- Walking route
- Camera (photo opportunity)

The OS map presented here is 'okay' and useable but. . .most are a 1:50 scale map. I personally (and I think many walkers) would advise you to use a 1:25 OS map (a compass with magnifier will come in handy too) as this will have more detail to help you navigate better still plus for me anyway, there's not much mention of elevation in these route descriptions here although you will be walking up some lung busting hills at times. It's just good to know in my opinion rather than it be thrust upon you and you're suddenly wishing an oxygen tank would fall out of the sky! I do sometimes. This is where your map reading skills come in handy. Learn to read the lines and symbols and you'll know what to expect every mile!

Also on this right side page (of the double spread) is some useful information regarding the area such as a short description of the terrain, how to get there by car/public transport, local tourist board contact numbers/web sites and the OS map details.

All in all a great little book full of walks to get your ramblers juices flowing.
Check out your local walking groups, ramblers association. You will have one.

Happy walking and be safe!
33 comments| 11 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 13 April 2010
I picked this up recently, tried a couple of the walks and really enjoyed them! Very easy to use, there are lots of interesting facts about the areas and plenty of walks to choose from. Looking forward to using it over the summer!
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on 16 June 2014
My partner and I were excited to take the hike from Blackberry Woods around the South Downs, but from the word Go, the directions in this book were so poorly written, inaccurate, and outdated, that instead of 4 hours and 10 miles, it was 6 hours and 16 miles from all the backtracking and re-routing. Save yourself the headache and buy something else.
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on 7 April 2016
Maps are good, clear and easy to read. Quantity of text is adequate. Spread of walk selections is adequate. Could be improved substantially for visitors from overseas by having a key map at the front showing the locations of all the walks for planning purposes, since if you are not familiar with UK geography it is laborious to work out where the walks are. If you are only visiting a limited number of counties in UK you may not find enough walks in your area so you would probably be better off with a region specific guide. But if you are covering a large area and just want to do a walk or two here and there, the book fills the bill nicely.
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on 1 July 2011
Nice collection of UK wide walks but let down by OS 1:50 maps which aren't really great for walkers. 1:25 would have been much more useful.
0Comment| 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 2 May 2014
My friend mentioned that she wanted to get a walking book as the family (2 adults/3 children under 13) wanted to walk together. This was a Christmas present and they are very happy with it. They have used it a couple of times already and are planning a short holiday around one of the walks. it is very clear to follow and informative.
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on 27 June 2010
This is a very well researched book, giving detailed information about various walks throughout the British Isles.
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on 18 January 2016
Brought for grandparents for a Christmas present from my daughter. They are looking forward to trying out some of the walks
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on 15 December 2015
Brought as a present for someone who enjoys walking, maps look clear and instructions good
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on 29 June 2015
Bought as a gift, but chapters looked ok - North west, Midlands etc. will be well received
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