"Everywhere is walking distance if you have the time" (Steven Wright)
Some people like to go for short strolls with family or friends with a pub lunch a highlight. Others walk with a walking group or go on long distance hiking challenges. Going for a walk can be a social or solitary occasion. Apart from the obvious benefits of regular walking to our mental and physical health, learning about our surroundings, the history, geography, flora and fauna make each walk a valuable learning experience. Most importantly though, each walk should be about enjoyment of life, a celebration of our beautiful countryside, lovely villages and historic towns. But even a shabby place or sprawling suburb can reveal an unexpected gem if you walk with your eyes open.
I have created this website so I can share my walks and photos and especially to keep my memories alive. It would be wonderful if I could inspire the reader to try some of these walks. Your experiences and adventures will be unique. Don't worry about the long distance walking bit - anyone can walk long distances - simply split the walks into sections tailored to your fitness and time available. And one more thing: you don't need a car to do these walks. I've added the transport options I used for each walk (from Reading).
The walk descriptions do not give precise directions and distances. They are not meant to be an accurate guide but will hopefully whet your appetite to explore and enjoy what's outside our doorsteps. I cannot guarantee that you will enjoy every step and that everything will go to plan. But from each walk you will take home your own memories. If the surroundings are not enough to keep you enthralled then a walk can be perfect for reflecting - whether that is on how to get through a difficult situation in your own life or on how to solve the world's most pressing problems. I find that even after a blustery and cold winter's day, having had to negotiate ankle-deep mud, I will arrive home invigorated, and how wonderful that cup of tea and left-over slice of Christmas cake tastes!
If you want to create your own walking adventures it helps to have access to the internet so you can research your travel options. Be aware that public transport can be severely restricted on Sundays. Basic map reading skills are also quite essential if you want to venture away from the more popular trails. I personally wouldn't venture too far into remote areas without the excellent Explorer maps published by the Ordnance Survey. I also like to take along a trail guide book, if available. GPS devices are becoming very popular but if I were to use one I would still take along a map in case there's no satellite signal or the battery's gone flat.
I've added a few photos to each walk description and you'll find more pictures in the gallery. Some are good, some are bad - but they have all been taken on my simple digital camera (on an auto-setting) and have not been edited. Do not let some dull pictures put you off walking in a particular area - I've walked on some very gloomy winter days!
Whilst the covid-19 crisis has not gone away, and with the real threat of a second wave this autumn hanging over us, I decided now is the time to go walking further afield; not somewhere exotic but to the neighbouring county of Wiltshire. I walked from Swindon to Salisbury via Avebury and Stonehenge, based on the Great Stones Way LDP.
Lockdown eased but travel still restricted. Click here to see where lockdown has taken me.
No sooner have the footpaths dried out and rivers and canals retreated to their natural channels, inviting us into the countryside, than we are faced with a pandemic that's locking us into our homes. Many of us are lucky enough to have nice countryside or parkland on our doorstep so we can continue walking and enjoy the spring sunshine for exercise. Let's hope that in a few weeks or months we'll be able to get out exploring further afield again!