Archive for the ‘Walk of the Month’ Category

Walk of the Month: Burnham Overy Staithe to Stiffkey, Norfolk

Thursday, January 1st, 2015
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Happy New Year everyone! Welcome to 2015. Sore head? (Me too) But don’t fret, as I have the perfect remedy for the perennial New Year’s Day hangover: a ten mile walk along Norfolk’s beautiful northern seaboard.

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Think buckets of bracing, North Sea air. Stunning natural backdrops. Deserted beaches where Fido can run amuck; not to mention an assortment of coastal villages where a friendly Norfolk welcome is never far away. On a hangover, a ten miler may sound a daunting prospect, but wrap up warm, have a big breakfast, and this stunning stroll will sort you right out – trust me.

The Walk

Just shy of 10 miles (9.8 to be precise) this walk is suitable for experienced walkers or those up for a challenge. Despite the reasonably long distance, the terrain is easy, with few hills and reassuring surfaces underfoot. If you have a dog, take it, as the wide expanses of sand are perfect for hyper pooches.

The Route

Walk of the Month - Norfolk B

Via Flickr

As you’re following the Norfolk Coast path, this route is ideal for those with a poor sense of direction as it’s almost impossible to get lost. Start the walk in Burnham Overy Staithe – a hamlet separated from the North Sea by 2km of sand and marshes – and head for the flood wall. Follow this path, heading in the direction of the sand dunes.

Keep your eyes peeled for adders, toads and butterflies as you enter the dunes. This part of Norfolk is teeming with life, on land, air and sea. Spend a moment atop the dunes, taking in the fantastic views of the sea beyond and the marshes behind. On a clear day, you can see the Lincolnshire coastline.

Look for the Norfolk Coast Path signpost and follow the arrive which directs you down onto the sand. At this time of year it’s likely you’ll have the beach all to yourself – unless of course this blog goes viral…

Dogs are welcome here, so if you have your pooch with you, set them free so they can burn off some energy. The beach seems endless in all directions.

Continue east until you reach Holkham Meals and Holkham Gap. Here, you could go off-piste to explore the nearby Holkham Hall, a palatial 18th-century country house. If not, continue en-route.

Take the board walk towards Holkham Gap before joining the path which skirts between the woodlands and the dunes. Soon, the path enters a pleasant woodland, where you’ll find a number of picnic benches that mark a good place to stop for lunch.

Soon, you’ll come to the delightful village of Wells-next-the-Sea, famous for its historic buildings and amusements. Spend some time exploring this village before resuming the walk.

Take the sea wall out of Wells and continue east. Terrain can become muddy here, so watch your step. Continue on this path, passing numerous salt marshes, until you arrive at the delightful village of Stiffkey.

Download the comprehensive map and route for this walk here.

Rent a cottage in Norfolk with Sykes Cottages

Fancy a getaway to Norfolk in the New Year? Then take a look at our wonderful selection of Norfolk holiday rentals! We have a great range of cottages to rent in Norfolk, from the pretty Broads to the dramatic coast. Click the link above to find your perfect Norfolk holiday home today.

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Jonathan Tuplin

By Jonathan Tuplin

Jonathan is a lover of books, music and good food. Originally from Yorkshire, there's nothing he likes more than a cycle in the country. One of his favourite spots in the UK is Tenby, where he spent many a happy holiday as a child.

Walk of the Month: Caerlaverock Castle & Nature Reserve, Scotland

Saturday, November 29th, 2014
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There’s no question about it: Scotland is a utopia for walkers. Come rain or shine, sleet or snow, intrepid folk take to the country’s illustrious countryside to bask in its irresistible scenery. For November’s walk of the month, we’re crossing the border and taking a stroll around one of Scotland’s most romantic castles: Caerlaverock.

Caerlaverock Castle – Via Flickr

Caerlaverock Castle – Via Flickr

Built in the 13th century, Caerlaverock has withstood centuries of hardship and turbulence. Demolished on a number of occasions by English and Scottish forces, the castle prevailed, and its preservation is quite extraordinary. This imposing keep overlooks the Caerlaverock National Nature Reserve, where this month’s walk begins.

The Walk

Those tackling this 3km walk in the winter months should beware variable weather conditions as well as often extremely muddy terrain. Ascents however, aren’t strenuous, and overall the walk should take no more than one hour to complete.

The Route

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Park on the B725 (designated parking is available for a limited number of vehicles) before crossing the wooden walkway signposted Caerlaverock National Nature Reserve. This short path leads to the mudflats synonymous with the reserve, where Norwegian barnacle geese can often be seen grazing in the winter months.

Take the path running between the mudflats and Castle Wood. Soon the path will branch left, passing through Castle Wood itself. Eventually you’ll come to footbridge; cross this, taking care on particularly muddy sections on the opposite side. Soon you will come to a track which passes several houses; stay on course and you will come to one of the northern towers of Caerlaverock, thought to be one of earliest stone-built fortifications in Scotland. Sadly, only its foundations remain.

To enter the castle you must pay an admission fee, but if you’d rather not, continue along the track. Several hundred yards on, you’ll be greeted with superb views of Caerlaverock’s imposing, ruined keep. The castle is triangular in shape and lies at the centre of a wide moat, making it a daunting prospect for the approaching invader.

Continue along this track, taking in the wide vistas rolling out before you, and eventually you will come upon Caerlaverock’s visitor centre. Here, you can pay to enter the castle grounds for a closer look, or continue along the path and out the main gate. Before you leave, why not stop for a warming brew in the on-site café, or take a moment to investigate the castle’s replica trebuchet, once used to devastating effect.

Download the comprehensive route and map for this walk here.

Rent a cottage in Dumfries & Galloway with Sykes Cottages

During the autumn and winter months, Scotland’s dramatic, primordial beauty is amplified. If you’re in need of an invigorating winter break, or have been on the hunt for that perfect romantic weekend break destination, take a look at our holiday cottages to rent in Dumfries and Galloway. From its dramatic seaboard to its rugged hills, this corner of Scotland is the perfect place for a beautiful cottage break – click the link to find out more.

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Jonathan Tuplin

By Jonathan Tuplin

Jonathan is a lover of books, music and good food. Originally from Yorkshire, there's nothing he likes more than a cycle in the country. One of his favourite spots in the UK is Tenby, where he spent many a happy holiday as a child.

Walk of the Month: Doonbeg Loop, Co. Clare

Monday, October 13th, 2014
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The village of Doonbeg in West County Clare lies on Ireland’s Atlantic Seaboard, just metres from the steely waters of the ocean. Dramatic though this sounds, the village is one of Ireland’s most peaceful spots, perfect for a romantic retreat or – as we’re about to demonstrate – an invigorating walking break.

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Beautiful bogs beckon on the Doonbeg Loop, an 8km circuit traversing the emerald wetlands that flank the village. The loop is a great way to get to grips with the local area, and showcases the village’s key landmarks including Doonbeg Bridge and Castle. You’ll need the route map on hand before starting the walk so you know where to begin, which you can download here.

The Walk

Though moderately long, this 8km walk features easy terrain with minimum ascents. Trekking shoes or hiking boots are advisable as bog roadways can be slippery. Raingear is also advised – after all, this is the Emerald Isle!

The Route

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Beginning at Doonbeg’s unusual church of ascension, walk west, passing the pastel coloured houses typical of West Ireland. On this street are two pubs; store these in your memory for liquid refreshment on your return to the village.

At the junction with a minor roadway, turn left. On the map, the way is highlighted by a green line, so pay close attention to this when approaching junctions to ensure you’re still on track. Follow this minor road for 1km until you’re deep in the emerald grasslands which envelop the village. Here you will come to a T-junction where you should turn left and then immediately right.

Follow the bog road for over 1km until you come to a sharp bend. After another three quarters of a kilometre, you’ll reach another T-junction, where you should turn left. Continue along this road, crossing Doonbeg River on your way back to the village.

Turn left into the village and continue on this street until you reach Doonbeg Bridge, a picturesque stone bridge at the mouth of Doonbeg Lough. From here, you can see Doonbeg Castle, a 16th century structure with a bloody history. The village is said to have ‘grown up’ around this imposing castle, though not much remains today. Continue on this street until you’re back at the church; oh and don’t forget those pubs, where a roaring fire and a pint of Irish stout are sure to warm your extremities.

Download the comprehensive map and route for this walk here.

Rent a cottage in Doonbeg for a walking holiday

If you’re interested in an Irish walking break, take a look at our self-catering cottages to rent in and around Doonbeg. This picturesque village on Ireland’s dramatic west coast offers the best of coast and country, so why not take a peek at our Doonbeg cottages today.

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Jonathan Tuplin

By Jonathan Tuplin

Jonathan is a lover of books, music and good food. Originally from Yorkshire, there's nothing he likes more than a cycle in the country. One of his favourite spots in the UK is Tenby, where he spent many a happy holiday as a child.

Walk of the Month: Sizergh Estate, Cumbria

Saturday, September 13th, 2014
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Ancient history and charming countryside provide a wonderful backdrop for a walk in the grounds of Sizergh Castle. Since the 17th century, this imposing house has kept an eye over the Lake District’s neighbouring fens, and its adjoining country estate is the ideal stomping ground for an invigorating hike.

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

During September, the hues of autumn transform Sizergh and its grounds into a peaceful wonderland of amber, orange and gold, so be sure to pack the SLR before heading out on the trail. Because it’s a National Trust property, there’s a fee to enter the castle and its grounds, but it’s a small price to pay to experience an autumnal walk in this quiet corner of the Lake District.

The Walk

With a mix of tarmacked roads, footpaths and compressed tracks, this 2.5 walk should be accessible to all, however, care should be taken in wet conditions as surfaces can be slippery.

The Route

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Start your walk in the castle’s car park and follow the path into the adjacent fields. Keeping the wall on your left, continue straight across the paddock, taking care if the terrain is wet. At the end of the field, go through the gate and immediately through another.

Once on Sizergh Fell, wander up the hill, marvelling at the wildflowers that bloom during the summer months. Keep your eye out for woodpeckers too, which can often be seen hovering above the colourful plumes, preying on ants and other insects.

Continue climbing uphill towards the wood. During the autumn and winter months, a few nesting bird species are attracted to these trees by seasonal berries, including fieldfare and redwings. Once you’ve neared the top, stop and admire the views of Morecambe Bay ahead of you, and the distant Pennines behind.

Walk past the trees, keeping them on your right hand side, before beginning your descent towards the beautiful Lake District fells. Eventually, you’ll come to a gate. Go through this and enter the wood ahead of you, before making an immediate right turn and following the wall on your right hand side. Continue downhill until you come to a gate which leads to a tarmac road.

Turn right and follow the road for around half a kilometre. After passing Lane End Farm, you’ll come to a large wooden gate. Pass this, and continue along Ashbank Lane. You will pass three gates along the lane, as well as an ancient deer park, which still contains several of these elusive mammals. Soon, you will arrive back at Sizergh Castle, where a warm brew in the castle’s café awaits.

Download the comprehensive route and map for this walk here.

Rent a cottage in Cumbria with Sykes Cottages

If a peaceful stroll in the grounds of Sizergh Castle sounds dreamy, why not rent one of our wonderful Cumbrian cottages and enjoy an invigorating holiday in the Lake District this autumn? This is the perfect season to visit the region, thanks to lower tourist numbers and the presence of autumn’s charming colours, so browse our Lake District holiday rentals today.

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Jonathan Tuplin

By Jonathan Tuplin

Jonathan is a lover of books, music and good food. Originally from Yorkshire, there's nothing he likes more than a cycle in the country. One of his favourite spots in the UK is Tenby, where he spent many a happy holiday as a child.

Walk of the Month: Falls of Truim & Truim Woods, Cairngorms

Monday, August 25th, 2014
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As the UK’s largest national park, the Cairngorms feature an abundance of natural attractions which provide the perfect backdrop for a bracing walk. But with over 4,000 square kilometres of protected parkland to explore, where do you begin?

Falls of Truim- Via Flickr

Falls of Truim- Via Flickr

The Falls of Truim may sound like a fictitious feature of Middle Earth, but actually, it is one of Scotland’s prettiest waterfalls. Enveloped in rich woodlands, the falls and their surroundings offer a sampling of most of the Cairngorms famous attributes- mountainous views, deep forests and black, trout-laden waters- making it ideal for those that have never visited the park.

The Walk

Waymarked paths make this 5.5 mile route straightforward; however, care should be taken on uneven trails and on the slate beside the falls as these can be slippery underfoot.

The Route

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

The proximity of the A9 road makes this route accessible, and there is a car park near the falls. Park here, before backpedalling across the A9, taking the turning on your left marked Crubenbeg. Follow this path until you reach a kissing gate. Pass this, before turning right and following the path through the trees toward the Falls of Truim. For the curious, a short path leads to the edge of the water, but don’t worry if you miss this as better views of the water are available later in the walk.

Continue along the trail which follows the course of the river and eventually you will come to a bridge, which you should cross. On the opposing bank, a path follows the crags above the falls, where a pine coppice provides a good opportunity for photographs. Remain on the path as it bends away from the water, crossing the heather pocked fields until the trail becomes an indistinct grassy path.

Indulge in the views offered atop Crubenbeg Steading before following the track uphill, keeping the fence to your left. After crossing the next field, you’ll come to a metal gate with a green right of way marker. Turn right here and follow the dry stone wall which will bring you to the edge of Glen Truim Woods.

Ignoring a Glen Truim Woods marker, continue along the track until you reach the next signed junction. Here, turn left in the direction of the Truim Woods Viewpoint, where a well-placed bench offers an opportune moment to relax and take in views of the Cairngorms mountains. When you’re done, descend the crag along the same path until you arrive back at the junction.

Turn left and follow the track until you reach a road, where you should make a right. Continue along the road until you reach a signed forestry track, which will eventually bring you back to the falls. Here, ascend the path you’ve previously tread to get back to the car park.

Download the comprehensive route and map for this walk here.

Rent a cottage in the Cairngorms with Sykes Cottages

With the prospect of an Indian summer looking increasingly dubious, we think it’s time to stow away the speedos and get togged up in your autumn clobber to make the most of the UK’s bracing countryside, and where better to do so than Scotland. If you’re on the same wavelength, take a look at our cottages to rent in the Cairngorms, or, if you’re still pinning hope on a late spurt of warm weather, ignore me completely and have a look at our autumn sale, where hundreds of our coast and country cottages are up for grabs at low prices.

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Jonathan Tuplin

By Jonathan Tuplin

Jonathan is a lover of books, music and good food. Originally from Yorkshire, there's nothing he likes more than a cycle in the country. One of his favourite spots in the UK is Tenby, where he spent many a happy holiday as a child.