Winter is one of my favourite times for walking, with peaceful forests and misty ridges offering gentle respite from hours cooped up indoors. But if you’re a hibernator, the good news is that gentle signs of spring are starting to peek through, with spells of sunshine and increased daylight making it easier to get outside again.
If you need a spot of inspiration away from the busy honeypot routes, take a look at my round-up of walking and adventure books to get you started. Whether you’re seven or 87, these trails are for you!
100 Great Walks with Kids
By Jen and Sim Benson
If you buy one walking book in 2022, make sure it’s this beautiful collection of family routes from outdoor writers Jen and Sim. Comprehensively covering England, Scotland and Wales, its tried-and-tested walks range from one to five and half miles, with symbols for buggy suitability, dog friendliness, public loos, refreshments and potential hazards. Each route comes with a map, step-by-step directions and colour photos that will make you want to pull your wellies on and go splash in puddles and streams!
From woodland wanders to mini mountains and lakeside loops, it’s a guide to keep in the car ready for every family holiday and weekend break. As it’s so packed with detail, it’s possibly a tad too hefty to pop in your backpack along with all the snacks and spare clothes needed for a walk with kids. Instead, I’d suggest perusing at your leisure and taking quick snaps of the relevant pages on your smartphone before you set off.
RRP: £16.99 (cheaper with a quick online search)
Coast to Coast on the Ravenber Way
By Ron Scholes
Fancy walking from coast to coast – away from the St Bees crowds? Long distance walker and author Ron Scholes has the perfect answer in his alternative route, a 210-mile trek from Ravenglass in Cumbria to Berwick-upon-Tweed. Ron, a longtime friend of Wainwright and a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, created the trail in the 1990s and the book, which includes a foreword by AW’s wife, Betty, is now in its third edition. With intricate, hand drawn maps and clear directions, it’s a fascinating amble over high Lakeland and Pennine peaks, through two National Parks and under lush forest canopies.
By Belinda Kirk
Why is adventure so essential for our wellbeing? This question is resoundingly answered by explorer Belinda Kirk, leader of dozens of international expeditions and founder of non-profit Explorers Connect. Belinda has walked through Nicaragua, sailed the Atlantic, searched for camels in China’s Desert of Death and gained a Guinness World Record for rowing unsupported around Britain. For most of us, just getting off the sofa and exploring a local hill is enough – and I’d urge you to keep that in mind whilst reading this inspiring book. The stories from Central America and Africa are gripping, but at its heart this book is about the everyday moments in which we choose to play it safe or push what we think is possible. It doesn’t matter if the walk covers 2,000 miles or two – this book will have you ditching the living room and expanding those boundaries.
Children’s Trails in South Wales
With two editions covering south east and south west Wales, Children’s Trails compile 40 routes from one to six and a half miles in length. With the aim of encouraging families to get out into the fresh air and boost their health and happiness, the trails include hidden villages, sleeping giants, spooky tunnels and southern Britain’s highest mountain, all just waiting to be conquered. Age suitability, pushchair routes and approximate walking times are all highlighted and the feedback has been lovely – including some kind words by walkers who have even chosen to sneak off and try a route or two without the kids in tow!