Top positive review
11 people found this helpful
Good starting point for anyone thinking of walking
on 6 February 2013
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
- Crook O'Lune
- St Bees Head
- Derwent Water
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. . .
- Cycling trail
- Train journey
- Boat trip
- Accessible route (for wheelchairs)
- 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!