Archive for the ‘Walk of the Month’ Category

Walk of the Month: Ashdown Forest

Monday, May 11th, 2015
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For our May Walk of the Month we’re going to be taking a trip down to the South East and revisiting some childhood memories with a wander through Ashdown Forest – the home of Winnie the Pooh and friends!

Once a royal hunting ground established not long after the Norman conquest, Ashdown is now one of the gems of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Made up more of open heathland than actual forest, Ashdown has become one of the country’s more ecologically valued areas, having status as both a Special Protection Area for Birds and also a Special Conservation Area for Heathland Habitats. It is this abundance of wildlife coupled with the stunning scenery, that make a hike through Ashdown well worth it!

The Walk

The walk is quite a long one clocking in at around ten miles so you’ll want to set aside a bit of time for it. Added to this is the fact that much of the route is woodland path so it might be unsuitable for prams if you’re planning on taking the little ones with you. Along the way you’ll be able to see plenty of names that you’ll recognise from the tales and take in many beautiful sights – remember to keep your eyes peeled for the wildlife that calls Ashdown Forest home!

The Route

Starting off at the village of Groombridge you’ll want to head west towards the B2188 and join the Sussex Border Path, follow this path for a couple of miles past the village of Balls Green.

After another mile or so, you’ll reach the village of Hartfield – where A.A. Milne and Christopher Robin lived – you’ll want to head just past the village and take the bridleway heading south.

A mile down this bridleway will take you to Pooh Sticks Bridge where Winnie first invented the sport in The House at Pooh Corner.

Just half a mile on from Pooh Sticks Bridge, you’ll find yourself at Five Hundred Acre Forest – or Hundred Acre as A.A. Milne renamed it in the books. Follow the northern edge of the forest and you’ll soon find yourself at Fisher’s Gate; from here you’ll want to follow the path for another half mile or so until you get to Friar’s Gate.

At Friar’s Gate, you should rejoin the road and head down towards the village of Littlebrook where you’ll be able to head along the High Weald Landscape Trail, which you’ll follow and find yourself in the village of Eridge. It’s then just a couple of miles up the Eridge road and you’ll find yourself back at the start point of Groombridge.

Rent a Sussex Cottage with Sykes

But you should remember that wandering around Ashdown Forest isn’t the only thing to do in Sussex, you could take a trip to the seaside or spend an afternoon exploring Brighton! To get all of that in, you’ll want to have somewhere to stay, which is where we come into it! Here at Sykes we’ve got a wide range of Sussex cottages available which can give you that real home-away-from-home feeling, so take a look and see what you think!

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Jamie Tomkins

By Jamie Tomkins

Jamie is a big fan of long weekend walks with the dog, especially when there is the chance to refuel with lunch in a country pub. Living in Lancaster for three years gave him the perfect opportunity to spend a lot of time in the Lake District.

Walk of the Month – Newborough Beach

Thursday, April 9th, 2015
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For April’s edition of Walk of the Month, we’re going to be taking a trip over to Anglesey and the stunning beach and forest at Newborough. I was lucky enough to be able to spend a week in a Sykes cottage on the island last month and we actually ended up doing this walk twice whilst we were there, so you can tell how much I enjoyed it!

The area around Newborough Beach and Llanddwyn is actually owned by the Forestry Commission so there’s a small £3 toll that you have to pay in order to drive your car down to the beach, but don’t worry it’s well worth it! Not only will you be able to find stunning views out over the Llyn Peninsula from the beach but you might also be able to catch a glimpse of one of the thriving colony of red squirrels that call the woods home!

The Walk

The route that the walk follows is actually very simple and easy to navigate, and with it only being around 4 miles long and fairly flat, it should be manageable for walkers of all ages and abilities. If you’re planning on taking the pooch with you then it’s worth remembering that there are restrictions that run throughout the summer months. From the 1st of May right the way through to the end of September, dogs are prohibited from the vast majority of the beach and also from Llanddwyn Island but they can be taken on the eastern end of the beach.

The Route

The route is a simple one. The starting point is in the car park right down by the beach – if you head through the toll booth at the top of the hill you just have to keep on the road and you’ll reach it eventually.

From the car park, there is a short passage leading through the dunes which will take you out on to Newborough Beach, once you’re on the sands you’ll want to take a right and head down towards Llanddwyn Island.

Eventually you’ll reach the end of the bay but you’ll see Ynys Llanddwyn Island curve away to your left – this is where you want to go. It’s actually a tidal island so there’s no trouble walking across to it at low tide, but it can be totally cut off for a couple of hours at very high tides so make sure you check the tide times!

It’s on the island that you’ll see many of the highlights from the walk. You’ll see the remains of the old church of Saint Dwynwen, the lighthouse or the old pilot cottages that used to house the sailors who would guide boats through the treacherous Menai Straits, and there’s the stunning views out over the mountains of the mainland. Once you reach the western tip of the island, you’ll want to head back towards the mainland, either back the way that you came or by using one of the other pathways.

When you’re off the island you’re presented with several choices, you can take a left and head through to Maltraeth Bay, the next beach up the coastline, and have a wander there. Or you can head across the dunes and up to the forest path that runs parallel to the beach and will drop you off back at the car park, then there’s also the option of heading back along the beach to the starting point.

Rent an Anglesey Cottage with Sykes

Well how does that sound to you? Good? Then you’ll want to have a look at our Angelsey cottages! We’ve got a wide variety available all over the island, from cosy couples retreats in Beaumaris to properties fit for the whole family in Cemaes Bay, why don’t you check them out?

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Jamie Tomkins

By Jamie Tomkins

Jamie is a big fan of long weekend walks with the dog, especially when there is the chance to refuel with lunch in a country pub. Living in Lancaster for three years gave him the perfect opportunity to spend a lot of time in the Lake District.

Walk of the Month: Coniston to Tarn Hows Wildlife Walk

Friday, February 20th, 2015
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The February half term is nearly over, but before your little tykes tootle off back to school, let them loose on a wonderful wildlife walk in Cumbria.

Cumbria is one of England’s wildest and most beautiful counties; much of it is mountainous and rural, and it’s famously home to the UK’s beloved national park, the Lake District.

'Coniston Water' by Triker-Sticks is licensed under CC 2.0

Coniston Water by Triker-Sticks is licensed under CC 2.0

Head to just any old area of the county this time of year however, and you’ll likely be met with long queues and lots of crowds. The Lake District is one of the UK’s most popular winter holiday destinations, so be prepared to share the beauty en masse.

Or, don’t. Look closely enough, and it’s still possible to find peace and tranquillity amid this coveted wilderness – even during the half term. Attached below is a wonderful wildlife walk that’ll see you and the kids whisked off on a remote hike in a jiff.

The Walk

At five miles, the route poses a fair challenge for amateur hikers, and should take around 2 ½ hours to complete. The trail follows a figure of eight from Coniston Water to Tarn Hows, taking in the majestic walled garden of Monk Coniston Hall en route.

The Route

Park in the Monk Coniston car park to north of Coniston Water before taking the path into the opposing field. Follow the path until you come to a wood. Beyond the trees, you’ll come to the pleasant walled garden of Monk Coniston Hall.

Walk of the Month - Coniston B

Herdwicks by atypicalblog is licensed under CC 2.0

When you’ve tired of the grounds, continue onwards, taking extra care crossing the road if you’re walking with young children. Ahead of you lies more woodland, where you should keep your eyes peeled for the elusive red squirrel; a beloved species which has endured in the area for centuries.

Soon, you’ll come to a narrow bridge; cross this and continue on the path signposted ‘Tarn Hows car park’. You’ll find pockets of open pastureland land ahead, where you may see a flock of Cumbria’s Herdwick Sheep. These delightful livestock are born with a brown coat and white face, and have grown to become a symbol of the Lake District.

As the path winds across heathland toward Tarn Hows, keep your eyes peeled for adders and lizards, which can often be spotted scurrying into the brush. When you reach Tarn Hows, take the circular trail around the water, enjoying the stunning views across the lake to the distant fells beyond.

When you reach the car park, follow the exit road back towards Coniston. The first footpath on your right will lead you to Tarn Hows Cottage. Don’t go all the way there however; instead, take the footpath on your left which will lead you downhill to Boon Crag Farm. And don’t rush – the view is simply beautiful here.

Before long, you’ll reach the farm; turn left towards the saw mill until you reach the road. Once there, turn right and follow the footpath towards Coniston Water and the car park at Monk Coniston.

Download the comprehensive route and map for this walk here.

Rent a self-catering cottage in the Lake District

The Lake District is ideal for all sorts of outdoorsy activities. Whether it be walking, cycling, climbing or kayaking, you and the kids will love exploring this wild and wonderful land. To book your Lake District break, choose your favourite Cumbrian holiday home today, and get set for a refreshing break this spring.

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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: 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.