South West

    Stonehenge, Wiltshire: are you a romantic or a rationalist?

    ‘Every age has the Stonehenge it deserves – or desires’ WHAT WE KNOW This is what we know for sure about Stonehenge: it was constructed over a very long period between 3,000 BC to 2,000 BC; it was, amongst other things, a burial ground; much of the stone was hauled from Wales; the keystones are […]

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    Inspiring Places: Bournemouth, Dorset

    ‘The Evergreen Valley’, ‘A city set in a garden’ ‘The pines, the chines, steeply-rising cliffs, parks, gardens, heathlands, amusements, esplanades, sands, and sprawl add up to the strange unique character of Bournemouth. A fascinating, pine-scented phenomenon’. Thomas Hardy ‘The real Bournemouth is all pines and pines and pines and flowering shrubs, lawns, begonias, azaleas, bird-song, […]

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    Slad, Gloucestershire: Laurie Lee

    ‘All my beginnings were hatched into this very compact series of narrow, brief valleys, which are like seed pods.’ KEY DATA Terrain: Hills and fields Starting point: The War Memorial, Slad (GL6 7QD) Distance: 8.3 kms (5.2 miles) Walking time: 2 hrs 53 mins OS Map: OS Explorer 80. The map can also be found at […]

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    Zennor & St Ives, Cornwall: DH Lawrence & Virginia Woolf

    KEY DATA Terrain: Substantial ups & downs on coast path, firm going Starting point: Albert Rd, St Ives, TR26 2EH Distance: 17.8 km (11. 1 miles) Time: 5 hrs 45 mins OS Map: OS Explorer 102. The map can also be found online at https://explore.osmaps.com/en/route/10642080/Zennor–St-Ives-Cornwall-DH-Lawrence–Virginia-Woolf- Facilities: Hotels, restaurants, pubs, shops, toilets DH LAWRENCE ‘When we came over […]

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    Bath, Somerset: Jane Austen

    ‘I walk: I prefer walking’ KEY DATA Terrain: Pavements, hilly bits Starting point: 13 Queen Square, BA1 2HJ Distance: 6.4 km (4 miles) Walking time: 1 hr 56 mins Map: can also be found online at https://osmaps.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/route/10535476/Bath-Literary-Ramble Facilities: Everything JANE AUSTEN (1775-1818) Jane Austen visited Bath in 1797 and again in 1799 before moving there in 1801 when her […]

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    Glastonbury, Somerset: Searching for King Arthur

    ‘All these things considered, can no man reasonably gainsay but there was a king of this land named Arthur…you may see his sepulchre in the monastery of Glastonbury.’ William Caxton, preface to Malory’s Morte d’Arthur KEY DATA Terrain: steep climb Starting point: St John’s Car Park, Glastonbury, 10 St John’s Square, BA6 9LJ Distance: 4.3 km […]

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    Winchester, Hampshire: John Keats

    ‘The pleasantest town I was ever in’ KEY DATA Terrain: potentially muddy in the meadows, steep ascent Starting point: Colebrook Street, SO23 9LH Distance: 7.4 km (4.6 miles); an extra 5 km (3.1 miles) if you take the West Hill (Hardy) loop Walking time: 2 hours 10 mins (allow an extra 1hr 20mins for Hardy loop) […]

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    Tintagel Castle, Cornwall: Lord Tennnyson & The Arthurian legend

    What is it? History and legend are inseparable at Tintagel Castle. From about the 5th to the 7th century AD, it was an important stronghold and a residence of rulers of Cornwall. It was probably memories of this seat of Cornish kings that inspired the 12th-century writer Geoffrey of Monmouth to name it in his […]

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    Bockhampton & The Frome Valley, Dorset: Thomas Hardy

    ‘The great inviolate place had an ancient permanence which the sea cannot claim’ KEY DATA Terrain: Undulating, potentially wet and muddy Starting point: Thorncombe Wood car park, Higher Bockhampton, DT2 8QJ Distance: 15.4 kms (9. 6 miles) Walking time:  4 hrs 20 mins OS Map: OS Explorer OL15. The map can be found online at: https://osmaps.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/route/9601721/Bockhampton-The-Frome-Valley-Dorset-Thomas-Hardy Facilities: […]

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    Quantocks, Somerset: The Birth of Romantic Poetry, Coleridge & Wordsworth

    ‘Upon smooth Quantock’s airy ridge we roved, unchecked, or loitered ’mid her sylvan combes’ (Wordsworth) ‘Now, my friends emerge Beneath the wide wide Heaven—and view again The many-steepled tract magnificent Of hilly fields and meadows, and the sea’ (Coleridge) The inspiration for this walk…The Lyrical Ballads (1798) When I first started to study English Literature […]

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