A Journey Along the Wildlife Walk in Celebration of Richard Jefferies

Route on Strava

The Richard Jefferies Museum by Coate Water in Swindon has initiated the Wildlife Walk in celebration of Jefferies’s life. This walk spans a whopping 175 miles, connecting various places that were significant in Jefferies’s life.


Three weeks ago, I took on the challenge of walking the length of the ridgeway, a grueling 99 miles over 6 days, which coincides with some of the Wildlife walk. It was a test of endurance and determination, but I’m proud and glad to have accomplished it.
Today, I connected that path, by walking from the Richard Jefferies Museum to the Ridgeway. Despite it being one of the hottest days of the year, and having already run a Parkrun earlier this morning, the main challenge was indeed the heat. You can check out the stats of my walk on Strava.

My friend Craig, who’s well-versed with the route, was my guide for the day.

A significant portion of our walk coincided with the National Cycle Route 45, leading us to the Three Trees Farm Shop. There, we took a much-needed break (mostly looking at all the goodies in the shop) and refreshed ourselves with cold drinks.

Our journey was mostly smooth, except for a stretch of long grass that we inadvertently ventured into. But that’s the beauty of such walks, isn’t it? The unexpected turns and the surprises they bring! And the rash on my legs has almost gone by now 😀

We were also treated to sightings of squirrels, red kites, rabbits, and deer along the way.

Craig, ever the enthusiast, suggested we circle around Liddington Castle, which I was relunctant to because my legs were getting tired and it was so watm, but I’m actually glad we did (I just moaned a lot). The views from the trig point, overlooking Swindon, were absolutely breathtaking.

Our return journey, though still under the scorching sun, felt a tad easier. Most of it was downhill, and we eventually made our way back to Coate. To mark the end of our 11-mile walk in the heat, we decided to treat ourselves to a drink at the Sun Inn.

Now, here’s where I urge all of you to get involved. The Wildlife Walk is not just a physical journey; it’s an experience, a tribute to Richard Jefferies. I encourage everyone to explore the route, walk as much (or as little) as you can, and share your experiences with the museum. And if you’re around on the 6th of November, do join in the celebrations of Richard Jefferies’s birthday and life.

The Richard Jefferies Museum is a treasure trove of events and exhibitions. If you can, drop by for the “Music and Cream Tea” afternoons held on Sundays( you might see me there volunteering). In fact, there’s one tomorrow, and given the sunny forecast, I hope to see many of you there!

Another recommendation from me is to buy and read this wonderful book Wildlife, to learn more about Richard Jeffries.

Lastly, if you’re in a position to, consider donating to support the museum. Every bit helps in preserving the legacy of Richard Jefferies.

As for me, I aim to walk the entirety of the 175 miles, though I will not be able to complete it by the 6th of November. My next segment? Joining the Ridgeway to Tolworth, Surbiton. Life is proving busy and a bit difficult at the moment, so I’m not sure yet when this will be, but I’ll keep you updated in this blog.

Until next time, happy walking!

Ridgeway Diaries: Day 5 – Watlington to Wendover

I woke up feeling tired today, having been disturbed by the sounds of snoring from neighbouring tents throughout the night. The bed wasn’t the comfiest, but the warm shower was bliss. I had a flapjack and banana for breakfast. Despite my fatigue, I was looking forward to the day ahead, especially as Richard would be joining me from Lewknor.

I left the campsite by 07:20 and walked to the Ridgeway, just a 5-minute walk away. I met Richard in Lewknor at 08:30, and we continued on the trail together.

I broke accidentally my zip on the side pocket of my bag. Inconvenient but it could have been worse.

We passed the turn-off for Kingston Blount at 09:30 and the turn-off for Chinnor at 10:15. Richard left me at about 10:30 by a gate in a field after the woods.

I reached Longwood Farm at 11:45. I arrived at Princes Risborough and the turn for the A4010 road around 12:10. I stopped at The Bell for refreshments around 12:45, but they weren’t serving lunch. I had a juice and salted peanuts, then left at 13:15. I popped into the Co-op for a sandwich and walked back to the Ridgeway by 13:45.

I took a wrong turn at Whiteleaf and got caught up in the woods. I reached Cadsden and The Plough at 14:40 and Chequers at 16:00. There, I had a chat with Kyle, a backpacker from Florida (living in Pennsylvania), who was doing the same route as me. I reached the monument and trig point at the corner of Coombe Hill at 16:45.

I arrived at The Red Lion in Wendover at 17:30, feeling very sore. My room was great, and I had a roast dinner and a pint of Neck Oil. I chatted with locals Pauline, Paul, and Bob. My feet are aching, and I’m worried they won’t be better tomorrow. I hope a night’s sleep helps.

Ridgeway Ramblings: Day 2 from Ogbourne St George to Letcombe Regis

Starting the Day Right

My day began with a hearty breakfast at the Inn with the Well in Ogbourne St George. I highly recommend staying here if you’re walking the Ridgeway. They even kindly provided me with a packed lunch for the day ahead.

A Minor Setback

I set off towards Letcombe Regis, about 20 miles away, but realised 10 minutes in, that I still had the room key in my pocket! I had to walk back to the Inn and start again. I felt so daft, but I had been feeling shaky and anxious earlier in the morning, so perhaps my brain wasn’t too focused.

Back on Track

I returned to the spot on the Ridgeway where I’d stopped the previous day, which created a loop/hook on my Strava map and added to my mileage…

The walk started well, and I maintained a good pace. I listened to music and enjoyed the amazing sights, meeting many dog walkers and cyclists along the way.

I saw an abundance of wildlife, including buzzards, red kites, rabbits, butterflies, beetles, swallows, and larks. The views were stunning, especially those overlooking Swindon.

Lunch Break

After Fox Hill, about halfway through the day, I stopped for a picnic break and enjoyed the packed lunch from the Inn. I changed my socks, though I must admit that compression socks don’t look great with shorts and hiking boots.

I found some water to refill my bottles and continued past Wayland’s Smithy.

I had this cake in my packed lunch and no idea what it is. Looks like a brownie but doesn’t taste like it. More like maple syrup. It was nice. I just don’t know what it is.

Overcoming Challenges

Just before Uffington, I struggled with the heat and felt nauseous. I started shaking uncontrollably, a sign of an anxiety attack. After a few minutes and some calming music, I felt better and carried on.

Support Along the Way

I reached Uffington White Horse Hill around 14:30, where Craig was waiting for me. He brought me stronger suncream, a nail file, Vaseline, a sun hat, and freezing water – all of which were much needed. We enjoyed an ice cream, and I continued up Uffington Castle. Craig parked at the end of my route and walked back towards me. We met up at Sparsholt Firs, and his company helped me keep a good pace when I was struggling past 28km.

A Warm Welcome

Craig drove me to my B&B for the night, Quince Cottage, where the lovely Louise and Andrew welcomed me with a cup of tea. After a warm bath for my feet, I headed to the Greyhound pub in the village for a meal with Sophie. We had a good chat and a walk around the village before I returned to my room.

Looking Ahead

The weather forecast for tomorrow looks grim, with rain and wind expected. Tomorrow’s walk should be around 16 miles, shorter than today but longer than yesterday. I’ll have to brace myself for the elements.

Fighting the through-hike blues: a solo hike on the Ystradfellte four waterfalls trail

The route

Just over a week has passed since my return from the Hadrian’s Wall Path walk, and I’ve been grappling with a weird sense of lethargy, perhaps a bit of post-hike blues. The thrill of the through-hike adventure had probably spiked my dopamine levels, and its abrupt end (+ a busy work week) left a void. To fill this, last night, I turned to the OS map, packed my bag, and decided to embark on another (smaller) journey – this time to Wales.

OS map for Ystradfellte area

After leaving the main road, the drive towards Ystradfellte was nothing short of surreal. The last two miles were through a landscape filled with low ferns and roaming sheep; it felt eerie. It was a scene straight out of a painting. It was starting to rain.

With a much smaller and lighter backpack than last week, I decided to hit the trail immediately, hoping for the clouds to part soon. My pack held the essentials – 1.5L of water, first aid kit, some food, spare socks, sun cream ( over-optimistic anticipation of the sun), and my battery pack. Equipped only with my fleece and cap for weather protection (I forgot my rain jacket), I stepped onto the trail.

The trail to the waterfalls was a stark reminder of the impermanence of nature. The once healthy trees that lined the path looked damaged and diseased, a stark contrast from my visit almost two years ago. Their plight was painfully evident when compared to the picture that is on the main header of my site.

But the journey must go on, and it led me to the first waterfall, Sgwd Clun-Gwyn, just after 10 o’clock. A serene stroll through a valley and a charming forest lead to this stunning waterfall, where the River Mellte gushes towards a drop and disappears below the cliff edge.

The drizzle persisted, making the stones leading to the waterfall viewing spot slippery. But, it was warm, and the drizzle was strangely refreshing.

Next came Sgwd Isaf Clun-Gwyn, a charming waterfall, secluded amongst woodland. The journey to it involved descending several flights of steep, muddy stairs, leading to a river nestled on a bed of black rock.

Following a muddy trail over the river from Sgwd Isaf Clun-Gwyn, I reached the highest waterfall, Sgwd y Pannwr. The sounds of rushing water could be heard before the fall even became visible. It flows down elegantly, step by step into the riverbed, a sight that leaves you in awe of its beauty. I love being by water and this felt just right.

I then went onto Sgwd yr Eira, the final and the largest waterfall on the trail. The descent to this waterfall was steep but with steps so not as strenuous. It rewarded me with a stunning view of the waterfall rushing down, a bit like a white veil. You can walk behind the curtain of cascading water! It felt very special.I didn’t get to experience this last time I visited so this was great!

After the short climb from the top of the fourth waterfall, I returned to the car park. In total the walk was just under 3 hours, covering 8.5km. The grey weather persisted, with fog and mist still hanging over the valley. But it was warm, and the drizzle was not an issue.

Deciding to make the most of my visit, I then went down to the cave, from the car park. The shift in temperature was noticeable as I descended the steps, the cold air bringing back childhood memories of visiting caves. Although it was getting busy and the car parks were full for the waterfalls walk, I had the cave to myself, engulfed in silence. It’s likely a place more suited for experienced visitors and maybe I wasn’t allowed to be there.

As I drove away from the valley, the weather decided to surprise me. Just a mile from the car park, I was greeted with beautiful skies and lovely sunny weather.

My next stop was Penderyn, where I picked up a present for a friend’s birthday. For anyone who enjoys a good whisky, I highly recommend stopping here. The lady in the shop was very helpful, and they offer visits every open hour, seven days a week.

On my way home, I stopped at Merthyr Tudful to charge my car and grab lunch.

This trip was a much-needed respite, but the next few weeks are going to be busy. My next hike might not be until late July, but I’ll post again soon about my plans for my next through-hike. Until then, keep exploring the outdoors!

Hadrian’s Wall Day 6 – Newburn to Wallsend, the Final Stretch

Map of today’s walk

As I began the last leg of my journey into Newcastle-upon-Tyne, I initially found that it wasn’t as industrial as some reviews had suggested. Yes, there were buildings and roads—it is a city after all. But the route, shared with the Route 72 cycle road, often meandered through surprisingly green spaces (see photos), making it much greener than the Thames-side walk from the Thames barrier, which I had completed about 18 months ago.

The closer I got to Newcastle-upon-Tyne, the more it felt like a festival of bridges! Along the way, I found numerous information boards about William Armstrong, the man who built Newcastle-upon-Tyne’s Swing Bridge and the hydraulic mechanism that operates London’s Tower Bridge. He seems to be to Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Northumberland what Brunel is to Swindon. His presence in the city’s history added a welcome touch of industrial history to my journey.

I dropped my bag at the hotel, keeping only my essentials and packed lunch. Regrettably, I forgot to top up my suncream. I took a break by the Tyne, enjoying my lunch before continuing my leisurely stroll past the Millennium Bridge. People were scattered about, relaxing in the urban gardens.

After passing the Bike Hut, the surroundings briefly became very industrial, reminiscent of the wharves in London. However, the path once again fell back into tranquillity at St Peter’s Marina, meandering along a wooded area by the Tyne. But, even though it was more pleasant by the woods and I was without my bag, it felt like the last three miles had stretched into five.
The area around St. Anthony has signs warning against going near the river due to contamination from a former tar works site. The final stretch, unfortunately, was marred by the sight of rubbish, presumably from fly-tipping, which was a letdown.

Just before 2pm, I arrived at Segedunum, my final destination. Here, I treated myself to a t-shirt and a badge. Since I had left my Hadrian’s Wall stamp passport at the hotel, the staff kindly provided me with a stamped piece of paper.

I did it! In total, I covered 155 km or 96 miles – somehow quite a bit more than the official trail distance of 84 miles.

From Segedunum, I journeyed via Metro to Tynemouth, a lovely seaside town bustling with life on this sunny Thursday afternoon. I enjoyed walking around, exploring two different beaches, the castle, and indulging in a well-deserved ice cream. I even dipped my toes in the North Sea, a perfect end to my Hadrian’s Wall walk.

Returning to Newcastle-upon-Tyne, I treated myself to some new shorts and socks for my journey home. When I checked-in at the hotel, the hotel staff generously offered a bottle of prosecco, which I declined, fearing it would go to waste. Refreshed, I ventured out for an evening meal in beautiful Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

As this walk is completely and this particular blog series draws to a close, I am already contemplating whether to plan another through-hike in August or something entirely different. Meanwhile, I’ll leave you with Billy Joel’s wise words:

“Slow down you crazy child. Take the phone off the hook and disappear for a while. It’s alright, you can afford to lose a day or two.”

Here’s to seeing the sights and cherishing the journey. Big love! 💚

Hadrian’s Wall Day 2 – Carlisle to Coombe Crag Farm: Onwards

(and up-and-downwards a lot too)

I haven’t got much battery and nowhere to charge up, so I’ll try and write these notes up quickly,today.

Today’s route. Starting to be more challenging, terrain-wise. Tomorrow is meant to be much more challenging!

I left Carlisle early. Starting from the Banks Centre at 06:40am.

I kicked off the day feeling surprisingly good as I walked from Carlisle towards Rickerby Park and crossed the Memorial bridge. I had made some adjustments to my bag’s shoulder straps as I left the B&B, which seemed to have helped. Throughout the day, I made sure to hydrate regularly to fend off dehydration.

Despite a dry forecast, there was a pleasant drizzle, making the journey quite refreshing. I talked to another walker before Low Crosby, it was just nice to talk with a fellow human. There hadn’t been many people on my way to that point.

I took a break at a bus stop near the Stag Inn to attend to my hand burn (from cooking breakfast on Thursday morning) which had cracked in the shower and was looking infected. I will spare you a gross photo of the said hand. I snacked on a pear from my B&B (they gave me so much fruit!) before hitting the road again. The overcast weather was great for making progress in terms of time and distance.

Along the Sandy Lane track after Crosby on Eden, I was surrounded by wildlife, I even saw a rabbit, the pheasants further on. I stopped to put on my fleece layer just before crossing the Bleatarn field/quarry due to the winds peaking. It was here that I had my first nature wee of the walk, the downside of hydrating well, I suppose!

I stopped at the Snack Shed for an unusually early lunch at 10:20 am. Enjoyed a cup of tea and chili con carne (frozen meal), an unusual but welcome choice. Also the first non-vegetarian Neal for me this trip. I chatted with a lovely American couple from Virginia after setting off again. The sun finally peeked out, warming my skin, prompting me to reapply sunscreen.

I treated myself to a delicious raspberry scone with a cuppa tea at the Walton tea room. There I talked with another lovely couple. This time from Bristol. Comparing notes, it seemed we had a very similar set of stops planned.  Then as I left Walton, I witnessed a rather interesting event – Gelt Gladiator, where people were sliding down a hill and running around.
I spotted more walkers, and the sight of the majestic Skiddaw (I think?) from the Lake District in the distance was a welcome surprise.

I crossed one tough hill, between turret 54a and Haytongate, if you do so as well, you will be  rewarded with a refreshments hut. There is also a portaloo just 150yd down the hill. I chose to follow the route via the Lanercost Priory, worth the detour thanks to my English Heritage membership. Interestingly, it seems it was built from stones robbed from Hadrian’s Wall. At the priory’s tea room, I enjoyed a peppermint tea and a lemon drizzle.

As I walked towards the village of Banks with the wall and the vallum on my left, it felt just right. To my right, the beautiful English hills were a reminder of the beauty of the English countryside. This in itself, made me feel better. This is why I was here.

I started to see some interesting turrets and ruins of the Wall.

For about 30 to 40 minutes, I had a really teary itchy eye, from an insect probably.

Then I met one other backpacker who was going to camp at Lanercost. We had a brief chat. I guess my eye settled.
Also shortly after, I met a guy touring the UK with his van going gardening jobs, if you meet him, give him work!

The final stretch of the day was slower but felt less exhausting than yesterday, perhaps as I was started to feel purpose. I checked in at the Coombe Crag campsite, a basic site but I knew that in advance. I had to deal with lots of little flies around my tent – the downside of a dairy farm, I suppose.

I ‘treated’ myself to a pasta pot for dinner, which was an interesting first-time experience.

Tomorrow, I’m straight back on the wall, so it’s time to rest up for a bit. I’m feeling much better than yesterday. Body battered, but the mind is back on track.

Over and out.

The Beacons Way: A Weekend Adventure

This two-days backpacking trip was a challenging and memorable journey through the Beacons Way, with Sophie, packed with stunning landscapes, unforeseen obstacles, and acts of serendipitous kindness.

Day 1: An Unexpected Journey – Abergavenny to Llanthony Priory

Morning: Setting Off

Our little adventure started as we stepped off the train in Abergavenny mid-morning and embarked on the trail towards Ysgyryd Fawr. The way to the starting point of the walk took double my original time estimate – I’m not as fit as I used to be. On the climb to Ysgyryd Fawr, my legs started to ache, more so than usual, with cramps in my calves, which was surprising. Probably due to the weight of the backpack which I’m not used to. This tested my endurance but it also offered us a chance to meet many friendly faces along the way.

Afternoon: Detours and Discoveries

Navigating the descent from Ysgyryd Fawr, we took a detour amidst fields of sheep as the signage wasn’t great. My GPSMAP 67i came handy to get us back on track. We stopped for lunch by a stream, under a tree, where and inadvertently left a water bottle behind (not my best move on what appears to be the hottest day of the year so far). After that much-needed lunch break, we turned our steps towards the Skirrid Inn, where we got some refreshing drinks.
The Skirrid Inn is the oldest Inn in Wales and inside, you can see signs for the well and a noose hanging from the stairs. Apparently hundreds of people died there in the civil war.
We left the pub, refreshed for the impending climb to Hatterall Hill where we joined Offa’s Dyke.

Evening: Peaks and Valleys

The ascent was gruelling, yet the sight of numerous paragliders (there must have been hundreds of them!) and the spectacular panorama from the ridge atop Hatterall Hill, with England on our right and Wale on our left) and meeting some wild horses too, made every step worthwhile. As the day wore on, our progress slowed and we realised we won’t hit our time target of around 18:00 for the campsite. We missed a turn, straying from Offa’s Path instead of turning onto the Beacons Way (I blame the signage) and extending our journey by a few miles before finally retracing our steps and finding our way back to the Beacons Way, via a less-travelled path with a massive elevation drop, crossing several small streams.
The way down to Llanthony was tough on our legs but we were rewarded by beautiful sights of the Priory as we approached the village.
As we made our way towards Llanthony, we turned a corner into a captivating woodland that seemed lifted straight out of a fairy tale. Then for the first time in hours, we encountered another soul—a dog walker out for an evening stroll, a comforting reminder that we were drawing closer to civilisation.

Night: Camping (under the Stars?)

By 20:30, we finally reached the priory and found our way to the busier-than-expected campsite. It was a bank holiday weekend, and the available spots were few or not visible, within the long, unkempt grass of the field. The absence of an on-site loo facility was an unexpected challenge (I knew there would be no showers but not no toilet!), and we had to rely on a block of toilets located a couple of minutes’ walk away in the car park. We managed to pitch our tents quite quickly and fill our water bottles from the available water tap.

By the time we reached the bar at 21:10, we were met with disappointment—food service had ended at 20:30. Resorting to what was available, Sophie purchased us a slice of bara brith at the slightly exorbitant cost of £4.50 for a cling-wrapped piece of bara brith, as well as two Welsh cakes.

Back at our tents, I used the opportunity to try out my new solo stove, unpacking the Wayfarer meal pouches I’d brought along. The first attempt resulted in a slightly charred meal (sorry, Sophie), but I managed to perfect my technique by the second round, with a bit of stirring. As the evening chill set in, the warm meal brought us much-needed comfort.

Next came the challenging task of cleaning the burnt pan, a situation made trickier by my oversight in packing a sponge and washing up liquid. With a touch of ingenuity(?) and a lot of laughter, we used found items including toothpaste found on the floor, leaves, and grass to scrub the pan…

Despite the day’s struggles—from navigation issues and physical exertion to the unexpected dinner dilemma—we ended the evening on a high note. We enjoyed instant hot chocolate made with boiling water and shared the slice of bara brith, a warming treat.
The campsite was quiet by 23:00 – and although we could hear singing from the other campsite, further away in the village, I was too tired to care.
As it was a clear night, and we were in one of eighteen International Dark Sky Reserves, I was hoping to stargaze, but my fatigue won. I snuggled in my sleeping bag, open my hand warmer pack to bring me a bit of comfort and I fell sleep under the unseen stars.

Day 2: Overcoming Challenges – Llanthony Priory to Abergavenny

Morning: A Change of Plans

I woke up to sore muscles but felt ready to go. We knew our planned three-mountain hike to Crickhowell would be pretty much impossible, after the suffering from the previous day. So we revised our plans over breakfast (tea and yummy flapjacks made by Sophie) choosing a flexible approach with various options and prioritising a slow, enjoyable trek over arduous mountain climbs.

Afternoon: Unexpected Kindness on the Trail

Our journey led us through beautiful woodlands, thought Llanthony Woods along the forest track. We made good progress. We met two gents on horsebacks who advised us not to take the low road by the farm as the ford was quite high (we could see the mud marks on the horses’ legs) so we enjoyed a dry hike. Eventually the track lead us at the Queen’s Head in Cwmyoy. The landlady allowed us to purchase refreshments despite the pub being closed and advised on the quickest route back to Abergavenny. However, wanting to avoid a long walk along the roadside in the hot weather, we decided to tread through the woods back towards the Skirrid Inn.

Evening: The Final Leg

Arriving at the Skirrid Inn, we discovered there was no public transportation on a Sunday. Also, Sophie phoned all the taxi firms in Abergavenny and none had availability. With our options dwindling, we enjoyed a lovely hearty lunch and began planning a long walk back to Abergavenny, with the fewest climbs possible. Just when we thought we were in for another long haul, a kind couple (Josh and Eva) offered us a ride; we’ve been so lucky to me such kindness on our way!
I was sat next to Sandi, their dog on the way to Abergavenny: she was soooo cuddly!

Reflecting on the Journey

Our expedition ended with a happy feeling, despite physical exhaustion and unforeseen challenges. Waiting for our train home (delayed because our train got cancelled), we indulged in ice cream and reminisced about the journey.

It has also inspired us to do Offa’s Dyke!
For myself, it was really great training for my walk on Hadrian’s Wall in just under 2 weeks.
I’ve learned a lot, about managing food, and water, the impact of carrying more weight, cooking on my stove, camping and navigating. This has also deepened my appreciation for the kindness of strangers and the beauty of the Beacons Way.

I want to thank Sophie for her invaluable company, navigation (and tasty flapjacks!). This adventure would not have been the same without her.

Woodborough and All Cannings, Kennet and Avon canal Circular

I’m typing this well over a week after this walk. It’s been such a busy time of the year.

I set off on Saturday, 4 February 2023 for a hike based on an All Trail route, which I modified slightly. I parked at the delightful Whitehall garden centre and tea room, in Woodborough, and walk a circular route.

Here’s my map.

Much of the area reminded me of the route we took with Aimee and Richard on my Walk Across Wiltshire in June last year.

It was a little cold be a nice walk and I was just so relieved and happy to have gone out, after about 10 days cooped up at home, isolating because I managed to catch COVID for the first time in three years of avoiding it.

So I took it easy as I was still very tired from it.

Here are a few pictures from the hike.

I used my trusty trail running shoes as my hiking boots were falling apart after around 10 years of using them.

Next outing next month, because this coming weekend, I’ll be volunteering at the Festival of Tomorrow. But I might post about my plans for walking Hadrian’s Wall.

(I went to buy new boots in the afternoon!)

Happy New Year: Coate Water and the South Swindon green trail

This is probably going to be a fairly short blog post because it’s my first time walking in quite a few months and it’s a short, straight forward loop.

It’s based on the Coate Water and East Witchel Circular on AllTrails.

Here’s my version from today.

Check out my activity on Strava: https://strava.app.link/e8DtDC8Rqwb

I decided that in 2023 I will do as many miles as I can but I know that I can’t plan too far ahead without a chance of it being cancelled, because my mother has been taken ill in the last few weeks, and I may have to go France at some point during the year.

Having said that I’m now planning some walks twice a month, on weekends, trying to train through the winter so that I can hopefully do a longer walk later on in the late spring or summer.

I’m still not sure whether to do a portion of the South West coastal path (which is a dream but also very hard) or maybe I should leave it for another few years…
Another consideration is whether I should walk the Cotswold Way which is more local but very difficult to find accommodation along, and I don’t really think I’m not ready to do wild camping quite yet!
Finally I could do Hadrian’s Wall. I’ve looked up a company who can support and provide accommodation or I’ve looked up the logistics of doing it by myself, but it’s about the same cost so it’s something you’ll have to consider.

Today, the walk started with the heavens opening the second I parked. It’s was wet and windy on)off the whole way. On the way I managed to somehow lose my backpack rain cover before Broome Manor. It was a slow pace walk because of the dog stopping to sniff everything and mostly because my fitness levels have gone downhill since my last walk, but I’m not happy with it.

It’s a pity that the rumbling M4 noise was in the background pretty much the whole walk but otherwise the walk was great, despite the wind and rain. Missy got super muddy especially in the fields South of the M4 at Wroughton. They were saturated with water and I wished I’d got wellies at that point. My boots held ok, though and Missy got a bath as soon as we got home.

In summary, I’d do the walk again. It’s a really pleasant walk especially with the dog.

Some pictures of the walk: