The three best walking destinations in the UK
This week, avid hikers are heading to South Wales for the Gower Walking Festival (gowerwalkingfestival.uk), which runs until Sunday, September 19. The festival, postponed since June and reduced this year due to the pandemic, aims to celebrate the landscape and heritage of the peninsula with events that vary in terrain, distance and setting, Liz Edwards explains in The Sunday Times. Of course, walkers can come and go here all year round, but the festival brings together visitors and locals, and attracts new walkers. Even locals don’t know all the trails, which is what makes the guided walks so interesting. The main Sunday event is a free, family-friendly ride in the Bracelet Bay Pool. “At low tide, we found gnarled limestone rocks with limpets, shiny piles of wrack, carrageenan algae and seaweed, and countless ponds,” says Edwards, on a previous visit. first. “It was empty… and with each new pool we felt like explorers.
Hooray for the loggers
Thetford Forest, Britain’s largest lowland forest, straddling the Suffolk-Norfolk border, hasn’t been a forest for very long, says Nick Hallissey in Country Walking magazine. This ancient region, called the Brecks, was originally a sandy moor, and in Neolithic times it was heavily mined for flint mining. In the Middle Ages, the land was broken up (“Brecks” means “rutted land”) into tithe plots for cultivation, resulting in damaged soils, unmanaged irrigation and barren forests. The sand blew and the landscape ended up looking like a desert of sand. During World War I, Britain developed a thirst for wood and the area was identified as a prime plantation area. The new forest was maintained by the Women’s Land Army during World War II, who, as “loggers”, took care of all aspects of its management. Today, the Thetford forest, “mature and proud”, is full of trails. It is a place “where wildlife can thrive, children can play and walkers can walk”.
Appalachian Trail in Ireland
The Appalachian Trail didn’t stop at its thousands of miles across the eastern United States, says Sarah Baxter for Wanderlust magazine. The International Appalachian Trail (IAS) has extended beyond borders, connecting what was once a single mountain range “rippling through the supercontinent of Pangea 175 million years ago.” The Ulster Chapter of the IAT (walkni.com/iat) stretches 485 km along the north of the island of Ireland and has just been upgraded with new signage and trail art. It’s a diverse route, starting on the Atlantic coast at Slieve League’s “sea-slammed” peak. It then heads to the Blue Stack Mountains, “beyond the peaceful forest of Lough Eske and Killeter, via the Sperrins (the Glenelly Valley is a highlight), along the rocks and bays of the Causeway Coast. and through the valleys of Antrim, ending with the Irish Sea at Larne ”.