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Explore the landscapes and literary wonders of the UK with Sykes Holiday Cottages


Winter is the perfect time of year to unwind and immerse yourself in your favourite things, including catching up on your reading. Cosying up around a warming fire with a good book in hand provides the ultimate idyll of an evening, and where better to do so than from a countryside cottage?

Sykes Holiday Cottages offer a wide range of self-catering properties, many of which are in Walkers Welcome accredited areas. From Ludlow to Hebden Bridge, you’ll find plenty of scenic spots from which to spend a winter break. Our friends at Sykes have highlighted some of the great spots from which to spend a scenic escape with plenty of literary links.

Ludlow, Shropshire 

The market town of Ludlow makes an excellent choice for a relaxing break. A charming area of Shropshire, the town hosts its very own Fringe Festival where you can observe local talent from budding comedians to young writers as part of the Ludlow Winter Festival   25-27 November. If you’re seeking a spot to spend the evening curled up with a book, try the charming rustic Old Cottage  with a warming wood-burning stove.

Hebden Bridge and Mytholmroyd, West Yorkshire 

Moving over to West Yorkshire will bring you to Hebden Bridge, where Walkers are Welcome began. Not only is the area a walker’s paradise, it too hosts its very own fun-filled Sylvia Plath Literary Festival in October but you will find plenty of bookshops and winter festivities.

There are many stunning properties around Hebden Bridge, but for those in pursuit of breath-taking views in a remote location try the 12-bed The Retreat  But take care not to get your book wet in the hot tub.

Bishop’s Castle, Shropshire  

Back in Shropshire, another Walkers Welcome accredited town, Bishop’s Castle offers equal delight in the Shropshire Hills that have inspired the writings of many authors across the years for its rich history and abundance of beauty. If you’re pursuing a stay with a difference, The Boars Head Pub,    a former 16th century pub even has a working bar. The photo shows the Steps into Sadlers Little Wood,  a locally dedicated site of ancient woodland and wildlife,  one of the many paths in the Bishops Castle’s  Walking for Pleasure series of leaflets.

 10 Best walks for 6 interest groups

Not only do Sykes provide a variety of property options, they also have a selection of handy guides to assist you on your travels. If you’re looking for the very best beautiful walks in the UK, be sure to take a look at their inspiration page: . Sykes surveyed 2,000 adults across the UK to gather the ten best walks across the UK for a variety of  interest groups. From the most beautiful to wheelchair friendly, they’ve revealed 60 firm favourites . Can you spot your favourite walk or tell them  another?






Watership Down Trail

A NEW stunning 24-mile trail has been launched in Whitchurch, Hampshire to mark the 50th anniversary of the publication of the much loved modern classic; Watership Down.

The trail starts from Whitchurch Railway Station and leads walkers through the stunning North Hampshire landscape that author and Whitchurch resident Richard Adams so loved to wander and where he told his tale of the rabbits of Watership Down.

The route will take you past ancient broad leaf woodland, across wide sweeping downland and up to the high chalk ridge and has been mapped to take walkers to some of the book’s locations; the ancient Harroway where Efrafa is located at the ‘crossing point of two bridle paths’, Nuthangar Farm, Watership Down and Hampshire’s famous River Test chalk stream where the rabbits made their way to safety on a raft.

“He reached the top of the bank in a single powerful leap. Hazel followed; and together they slipped away, running easily down through the wood, where the first primroses were beginning to bloom.”

Jackie Browne from Whitchurch Walkers are Welcome said: “It’s taken seven years and there have been many hurdles to overcome, but a successful collaboration between two local community groups, Whitchurch Walkers are Welcome and Whitchurch Conservation Group has finally seen the project completed and what better time to launch the new trail than the 50th anniversary of the book publication and the 50th anniversary of the creation of the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the setting for the story.”

A celebratory illustration has also been commissioned by local artist Jo South.

This new trail is an important part of a wider initiative which looks to build on Whitchurch’s rural tourism identity and encourage more staycation visitors to the town.

You can download the walking trail here.

The First Annual Return for 2022 received

This first Annual Return for 2022 was received on 6th December from Langholm, Dumfries and Galloway. Walkers are Welcome would like to celebrate their work and the dedication of Gavin Graham, the Chairman and Secretary of this small Langholm Walks Group.  We have extracted some of their achievements from their Annual Return and other news to highlight.

This has been a difficult year in Langholm due to Storm Arwen at the end of 2021. In a matter of a couple of hours at the end of November 2021, the storm blew down thousands of trees on their network of over 90 miles of waymarked walks The town was completely cut off and all 14 of their walks were closed. It was a month before the first of the local walks was cleared and it took a full year before all the walks were opened with the last walk finally completed on 1st December 2022. They are totally indebted to Buccleuch Estates and their team of workers who have cleared all the paths together with some support from Dumfries & Galloway Council Access Department.

In 2021, they applied to six local Charitable Trusts for support in a plan to place new recycled plastic seats on their network of walks. Initially it was hoped to purchase ten seats and five picnic tables, and their application was based on the prices at the time. They raised £5,500 for the project but by the time they received funding, the cost of recycled seats had risen by almost 50% due to the pandemic. In March 2022, seven seats and two picnic tables were purchased, and these were placed on the walks during the summer months. They had lots of publicity on social networks and in the local Eskdale and Liddesdale Advertiser.

They have also raised £7,500 to add to their £2,500 making a total of £10,000. This money was raised from one local charitable trust, The Arthur Bell Trust and a local Windfarm Charitable Trust. This will be used to create a new website as the Langholm walks website  is 21 years old and considered outdated. They will also update and reprint Langholm Walks Booklet No 4 which has sold over 1,200 copies, with only 300 left. This will be their project for 2023.

Langholm Walks have also worked closely with the Langholm Initiative in the purchase of the 10,000 acres of land from The Duke of Buccleuch. This was finally completed in November 2022 at a final cost of £6 Million. The publicity that has been generated for the community for the project  has been huge with national press and TV. The Tarras Valley Nature Reserve is starting to be created and already has five full-time employees with more jobs planned.  (See also earlier news items on this page)

The final project in 2022 was to create a new diversion for a walk closed due to a dangerous bridge on the walk. This was done in cooperation with The David Stevenson Trust and D & G Council as the walk was one of their Core Path Network Walks and part of our own network. They succeeded in raising £10,000 for this project and the walk reopened in July 2022, after being closed for a year.

Gavin produces a monthly article about local walks in the Eskdale & Liddesdale Advertiser which is their local newspaper, and this is well received by locals and visitors which have increased since COVID lockdowns. In November 2022, Gavin was given a well-deserved award by The Dumfries & Galloway Life Magazine for Volunteer of the Year in Dumfries and Galloway for his work with Langholm Walks and The Buccleuch .  This was featured in the press Border TV and social media.

Gavin says he’s found great satisfaction in his volunteering positions of 60 years but the recent purchase of Langholm Moor has given him reason to be particularly proud as he was involved in the initial set-up of the Langholm Moor Education Trust. He says “I am slowly winding down and I am now only involved with Langholm Walks Group” Thanks also go to his family and friends including his wife, Gaye.

Wellington Walk and Talk for Children in Need

Wellington Walkers are Welcome  organised a Walk and Talk event with Paul Shuttleworth from BBC Radio Shropshire in Dothill Local Nature Reserve. for Children in Need. 
On a lovely morning for a gentle stroll though the reserve they  were joined by Pudsey Bear, and a dinosaur (or was it a dragon?). If you’d like to donate, there’s still time, go to :   . If  the photos above whet your appetite, there are more on their Facebook page, You can also hear from the event at Among other snippets, Paul, some children and Malcolm, the organiser  are at about 18 minutes and another committee member is at about 53 minutes.


In early 2022, walking boots and waterproofs were donned and CWW volunteers set off out with their four-legged friends to walk and rediscover the 33 footpaths noted as being in the Parish of Coleford.

Many were familiar, but there were quite a few new discoveries and gasps of, “well I did not realise you could see that from here” or “wow did not know that existed.” There were also several expletives best translated as “oh dear” when met with deliberately blocked footpaths, impassable footpaths from overgrown vegetation, broken stiles, litter, graffiti, missing  Public Rights of Way (PRoW) finger posts and broken / missing way marker posts.

CWW’s I-cloud library soon filled up with photo’s recording all the above for each footpath and a long list of work required was compiled onto an excel spreadsheet, a bit overkill perhaps, but they thought a record of the starting point, work needing to be done and a description of each path and length would be helpful further down the road and make for a good record of achievements.

CWW contacted the Gloucestershire Public Rights of Way Officer for their patch, Jeff Wheeler who it has to be said has the patience of a saint in dealing with all their questions and queries on all things PRoW.

CWW realises it is very fortunate to have a PRoW officer who is passionate about their role in ensuring PRoW are accessible for all to use. CWW rightly take every opportunity to highlight the excellent support he gives CWW, and this is evident in the work that  has been achieved together.

CWW is a small volunteer group, currently constrained by insurance on what the volunteers can actually do, going forwards CWW’s volunteers hope to be officially trained to use power tools but currently they can only use handheld tools, so there’s been lots of blisters and scratches in clearing footpaths and entrances to stiles etc. 

During the year CWW has now cleared every footpath and stile, stiles have been repaired, way markers have been erected, finger posts have been repaired and kissing gates have replaced stiles, with the PRoW contractors coming in with the heavy machinery to clear paths beyond CWW’s volunteers’ capabilities.

An inordinate amount of litter has been picked by CWW volunteers with the never-ending blue bags they fill being collected by the Forest of Dean District Council (FODDC).

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) has been agreed with Forestry England to enable CWW to work with them on PRoWs that cover their land and a Licence has been signed with FODDC to enable CWW to work on land they own in Coleford.

CWW’s first big project has just been completed which saw the installation of four new kissing gates, switching out old rickety stiles on to a popular local golf course which has four PRoW’s running across it. Nine newly positioned way marker posts have been installed and vegetation cut back to clearly mark the routes .To educate people to take the correct route across the golf course, maps have been installed at each access point.

It is fair to say that the golf club owners are not keen on walkers crossing the golf course, however it is a right for members of the public to do so, and in working together it is now easier for the landowners to enforce the correct routes being followed. The golfers’ cards will next year show all the footpaths, so they too know where people will be crossing, making it much safer. This has been an excellent example of a local landowner, CWW as a local group and the PRoW Officer all working together to benefit all concerned.

County Councillor, Carole Allaway-Martin’s Highways Local Fund, assisted with the improvements to the Footpaths with CWW receiving funds from the Build Back better Scheme, both with the intention to make walking accessible for more people in a safe environment.

CWW still have a way to go in reminding landowners to clearly mark paths across  fields where  they plant crops, but Coleford now has a voice to ensure our PRoW are kept clear.

As volunteers, CWW finds that their work does have its frustrations but when members of the public stop them to say thank you, when elderly residents make reference that they can now access an old route they used to walk with ease because a kissing gate has been installed and when they can see the visible impact of their work it makes it all worthwhile.

Bingley Walkers are Welcome fantastic Heritage Open Day feedback

In September Bingley Walkers are Welcome held a Heritage Open Day telling the history of Bingley St Ives Estate. Visitors had a glimpse of the area that English Heritage entered into the register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in 2009. The event attracted sixty walkers and Bingley  were delighted with the following feedback received from Heritage Open Days.

  • I found the walk and the people very nice and informative the lady leading the walk knew lots about the area and that was very good.
  • Was a very enjoyable and informative day out .
  • It gave me an interesting insight to a place that I thought I knew well! Very informative
  • It was interesting and gave me information about my local area that I’m quite new to.
  • Well organised walk and tour of the estate. It was great to hear about historic fact and find hidden gems which I had no idea were there despite knowing the estate very well.
  • I enjoy local history and the detail given on the day of the walk around the estate was exceptional
  • I attended following a previous historical walk in Bingley, the history of Bingley in intertwined with St Ives.  I wished to learn more of the families involved.

Holmfirth Walking Festival a big hit!

Holmfirth Walkers Are Welcome staged their annual walking festival last weekend. Over 200 participants took part in a huge variety of activities. In all there were 7 walks over the weekend, all free, ranging from story walks to local history trails. Evening events included presentations by walking guide authors and films on a walking theme. The weather was kind, despite a poor forecast, and the event showcased their beautiful valley. They  have a great team of experienced and willing walk leaders who give up their time to plan and lead walks all through the year. If you missed the festival watch out on Facebook  for their  programme of Sunday walks.

Coleford’s Heritage

Coleford is actively taking part in Heritage Open Days with The Coleford Area Partnership providing events to celebrate the towns marked long history. These events can be found by visiting HOD Heritage Apps/Forest of Dean     On visiting this site, you will see the Coleford Heritage App, being free to download, this app is a brilliant way to see the old town through the magic of technology.

During the autumn the Forest of Dean comes into its own with a spectacular display of the autumn leaves changing colour. Many of the footpaths around Coleford take you past historical sites that give amazing views. See Coleford Welcomes Walkers. 

Coleford has existed since before the Middle Ages with the production of Iron ore still evident locally.  Part of the 17th Century White Hart Inn is the oldest building in town.

The central feature of Coleford is the Grade II Clock tower. It is all that remains of the Chapel of Ease which was built c1489, rebuilt in 1820 and demolished in 1882.  The Clock tower features a war memorial and down the steps sits a stone trough with an inscription to Queen Victoria’s 60 years of reign.

In 1798, work began on Whitecliff Ironworks to the south-western edge of Coleford.  In 1809 David Mushet, a noted Scottish metallurgist, was employed to increase productivity and a legend began with his youngest son Robert’s work. This furnace is the only remaining remanence of its type in Southern England, it is a Forest of Dean Heritage Site and a Scheduled Monument.

In St. John Street, where the tram line crossed, having been built in 1812 to link the town with mines throughout the Forest of Dean with the River Wye at Redbrook and Monmouth, there is a homage of paving depicting the old tram route, following its demise in the late 1870s.

 By the main car park, the GWR Goods Shed, built in 1875 is all that reminds us of the two railway lines that fed into Coleford. One built by Severn & Wye Valley the other by Great Western Railway. The GWR shed is now a museum and well worth a visit.  

Angus Buchanan was born in Coleford in 1894 and was awarded the Military Cross on 7th January 1916, the Victoria Cross on 5th April 1916, being decorated by King George V in Bristol on 8th November 1917.  In honour of his bravery funds were raised and at his bequest a play area was built for the local children and named in his honour. He lays to rest in the Cemetery next to the Angus Buchanan Recreational Park which is managed by a trust in his name.

Coleford is home to Suntory and is the sole production facility for Ribena and Lucozade, with SPP Pumps Ltd, Britain’s leading pump manufacturer having its main UK manufacturing site in Coleford.

For those interested in an in-depth overview of Coleford’s history we recommend a visit to Forest of Dean History Society. 


Kirkby Stephen Walkers are Welcome   usually holds a walk for Heritage Open Days, fitting in with their yearly theme.  With Astounding Inventions, they couldn’t pass up the opportunity of celebrating the towns’ connections to Michael Faraday.  Every time you turn on a piece of electrical equipment, we should remember Faraday although, unless you have studied physics, chemistry, and environmental sciences, his long list of amazing discoveries and inventions may be unfamiliar to you.
James and elder brother Richard Faraday were born in Clapham, Yorkshire, and were both Christened at the Inghamite, Pear Tree Chapel, Kendal. The brothers moved to Kirkby Stephen and worshipped in the Sandemanian Chapel, now called Faraday House and established from a barn in 1761. They married sisters Mary and Margaret Hastwell from the congregation in a joint ceremony in 1777.

Richard built a Cotton Mill and dabbled in textile milling before handing the business over to his descendants.  Low Mill was later made into a Saw Mill and was ironically eventually converted to electricity, only stopping business a little while ago. James worked as an apprentice Blacksmith in nearby Outhgil, Mallerstang.  In the winter of 1790, James and Margaret moved to Newington Butts, Surrey (now part of the London Borough of Southwark), where Michael was born on 22nd September 1791.

Faraday stayed close to his Kirkby Stephen family with nieces and nephews visiting as shown in Census returns. When Back Lane was improved and widened, Kirkby Stephen Town Council named it Faraday Road. His independent religion and thought sustained him despite being poor and having little formal education.  He became a Sandemanian deacon and elder. Faraday initiated the Christmas Lectures that continue until today.

The Kirkby Stephen Faraday Connection walk will take place on Thursday 15th September and

there will also be a Faraday display at the Upper Eden Visitor Centre.   Kirkby Stephen  has an historical town trail and blue plaques celebrating ten building’s pasts. You can take time to enjoy the town’s heritage with Saxon and Viking artefacts all set in spectacular countryside.  

The Vale of Snaith

The town of Snaith, which will, next year, be celebrating the 800th anniversary of being granted a market charter, has some special heritage events scheduled for September 2022.

On Sunday 11th September, the highlight of the annual Heritage Day celebrations will be in the Market Place, where there will be a display of cherished motor bikes.  In nearby Cowick, there will be a guided walk along Cowick Royal Way, where you will hear stories about visits to Cowick by Kings and Queens and many other important people with royal connections.

For those who like to enjoy self-guided walks, there is the four-mile East Cowick Circular Walk which is fully signposted and has many Heritage Links detailed on a leaflet available from the church or village hall.  Newly installed on the 20 sign posts are permanent pictures of birds and animals that you might spot on your journey, all drawn by children from the local primary school.

Also available are Heritage Walk laminated card packs featuring 15 walks.  One of the walks is Snaith Heritage Trail, which has now been enhanced with a number of the historic buildings displaying a blue plaque (they are currently 12 in total).

Coming up in September, maintaining the Heritage theme, are three guided walks as part of The East Riding of Yorkshire annual walking festival.

September 10th A long walk which includes a visit to the memorial garden created after a horrific train crash in 2001.

September 17th A long walk which includes a look at the engineering heritage of two canals, an aqueduct and a reservoir.

September 23rd A stroll from Snaith to Carlton Towers for a tour around  a magnificent country residence, packed with  

The photo shows an amusing plaque which  was erected by a local trader inspired by the blue plaques in Snaith.  It did the trick and the unused traffic lights were taken down after 7 years.