Thursday, 7 November 2013

Walking the hills and dales

Apart from walking on my own in the wonderful English countryside in and around the county of Shropshire, I also lead walks for a company based in Church Stretton called Secret Hills Walking Holidays So that's why I haven't written a blog post in... oh... ages really; I've been taking time out from my walking blog simply because I've been so busy walking!

So here I am on the right with a lovely, friendly group of people at Ironbridge, the place that spawned the Industrial Revolution, and taken with the famous Iron Bridge in the background - a world first back in 1779 when it was built.

The walks we lead in this area are two-fold; walking the fabulous and intricate paths up and down both sides of the Ironbridge Gorge and also a Strollers Holiday which visits a selection of the 10 museums in the area. Both walks give an insight into the history that encompasses this fascinating part of Shropshire.

I also like to point out on walks that I lead, some of the exciting flora and fauna that abounds in the area and we were blessed particularly on this walk with scores of Red Admiral, Peacock, Comma and Small Tortoiseshell butterflies on a couple of huge buddleia bushes along the way. Some of our holiday makers said they'd never seen so many butterflies in one spot before, but then, despite a cold and late start to summer this year, it's proved to be an exceptionally good one for most of our butterflies.
Slight digression from main plot:-
One of the other things I've been doing over the past few months is to write a walking book which was published in August. Although it's essentially a book of walks out of the area I live in it does include snippets of information of the history and flora and fauna that can be seen any time of the year. 
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Now, back to the main plot:- 
Another area I lead walks in are the hills around Church Stretton in Shropshire; Caer Caradoc, Ragleth and Hope Bowdler to name but three. This picture is with a group ascending Ashes Hollow on to the top of the Longmynd - a large upland heathland with some great paths and magnificent views right the way over to the Snowdonia range in Wales to the west and the Malvern Hills to the east.

The Peak District is where I've done a great deal of walking, backpacking and exploring over the last 40 years or so, so it's only natural that my lead-walking should take me there too, which it does, several times during the year.

Again; fabulous valleys, soft-rounded hills and great scenery. We usually stay in the lovely village of Hartington where there are many superb walks right out of the hotel.

This is by the side of the delightful River Dove on our way to the quaint Polly's Cottage at Milldale for our lunch break.

So that's what I've been up to for the last couple of years and although I get paid to do this, if you do something you really enjoy doing it's hardly a job is it? 

We're on a seasonal break at the moment and getting ready for next year's programme. Can I tempt you to join us? I normally invite followers of this blog to join me on a 'virtual walk' but what about joining a Secret Hills Walking Holiday and 'actually' walking with me? All accommodation, meals and the very best walking routes are all taken care of, led by a team of professional walkers ready to show you their own areas that they are passionate about. Do you have a few minutes to browse our 2014 programme of UK and European guided walking holidays and see what we have to offer? 

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And if you have any interest in walking whatsoever could I ask you to 'like' our Facebook Page please? It's fairly new and we're trying to get up to the dizzy heights of our first 100!

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Thank you so much

Catch up with you all soon when I'll be taking you on another of my 'virtual walks'.

Paul Watts

1 comment:

Tracy Morris said...

Great to read your blog and Facebook Page!
I love walking and have recently set up a Facebook page myself called Glamorgan Coastal Path. Haven't reached your 'dizzying height' of 83 yet...only on 50!
Happy Walking.