Friday, 2 December 2011

A Walk through Coombs Dale in the Peak District

This is a walk in the Peak District through one of the National Park's least known dales - Coombs Dale.  Starting at the village of Stoney Middleton, it's an excellent wander.

The full description of this walk is on our website here, which provides information about the length of the walk and its suitability for different people - along with the walking video.

  • The Moon pub cark is a good place to park and start this walk - although remember to have at least a drink in the pub on your return as a thank you.
  • From the car park, turn right and head along the busy A623.  Cross over to the far side when the path on the pub side disappears.
  • After a couple of minutes, there's a public footpath on the right at right angles away from the road.  Cross the road again, and head down the footpath.
  • Soon, this path enters Coombs Dale - with trees lining both sides of the path.  These trees eventually give way to small rock faces on the left and hills on the right.
  • Following the path leads past Sallet Hole Mine on the left, before meeting with Black Harry Gate, some 2 1/2 miles into the walk.

  • Just after the gate, turn right - heading north-east - and follow another public footpath.
  • Here, the path climbs for the first real time on the walk.  Although other paths lead off, stick with this one, as it passes signs warning about blasting and shooting (fortunately off the path of our walk)
  • After passing an abandoned stone barn on the right, a cross roads is reached at Lane Head, with Middleton Lane travelling from left to right.  Go straight on, down the path which is now a public bridleway.
  • Carry on desending until the entrance to the quarry is on the right.  Cross this entrance road with care, and carry on down the bridleway, making a trek towards the A623.
  • More care is needed crossing the busy A623 in order to head up the B6521 towards Eyam.
  • On the right, around 600 foot from the road junction, is a footpath going past an Electricity Substation.  Follow this path and enter the most surprising part of this walk - a cliff-top trek across the top of Middleton Dale - with even high rock formations to the left.

  • Take care along this path - it provides great views, and although it seems higher than it is, it is still quite a drop over the side.
  • After the cliff walk, pass the entrance to the caves and head towards the A623 again.
  • Heading back into Stoney Middleton passes "Lovers Leap" on the far side of the road.  Carry on through the village, ready to enjoy that drink and possibly a meal, at The Moon.
 Let us know here if you attempt this walk - and if you do, please leave us some photos on our Facebook page.

Welcome Kindle users!!

If all goes to plan, this post should welcome Kindle users to the Walks Around Britain blog!

Friday, 18 November 2011

Gear Review - Men’s 100 Glacier ¼ Zip Fleece Top by The North Face

I’ll admit it.  I’ve never been a fleece fan.  There – I’ve said it.  I’ve always been walking shirt then walking jacket man – if you’re too cold, put on the jacket, if you’re too warm, take off the jacket.

But then I was introduced to the Men’s 100 Glacier ¼ Zip Fleece Top by The North Face – and I must say I’ve changed my mind.

To start with, the fleece has a great feel to it.  It’s very soft, yet you instantly know it’s going to keep you warm.   My example was in Weimaraner Brown – which I think is the more desirable colour of the 5 on offer.

My experience with The North Face is their sizes are always quite generous, so you may need a different size to your usual.  I preferred a slightly baggy fit, yet one which still provided me with the benefits of the fleece.

The Glacier is made from the Polartec Classic material, supposedly maintaining its insulation and feel even after years of washing.  Well, I can’t vouch for years of washing, but my example has been washed many times and it does look as good as it was when new.  As yet, it hasn’t been reduced to a baubly mess as some cheaper fleeces inevitably do.

The lightweight nature of the fleece makes it ideal for walking, biking, or running and I tried it out on several journeys out.

Now, as autumn and winter kicks in, fleeces come into their own.  I go out walking my Border Collie twice a day, and there’s often times when it’s too cool for shirt sleeves – and the Glacier is fantastic for these occasions, providing a comfortable and warm fit.  The one thing you notice within minutes of putting on the Glacier is how warm you’ve become.  With the ¼ zip right up, you’re protected from the wind with its high neck, and the well-fitted sleeves ensure your arms are toasty too.

When biking, the Glacier is a great top layer – enabling sweat to pass through so keeping you cosy, but not smelly.  Getting too warm?  Drawing the zip down allows a channel of air to give your top half a refresh.

I think the real test of any piece of outdoor clothing is whether it migrates into regular life – the life outside the days of walking and cycling.  The Glacier has definitely achieved that – its styling is not out of place on a leisure evening out.  Mine has become such a part of my kit I don’t resort to a jacket first of all when I’m going out – I wear the Glacier.

What's good...
¼ zip allows for ventilation
Great quality
Light but very warm too
What's bad...
Be very careful whilst ironing - must be on a cool iron

Men’s 100 Glacier ¼ Zip Fleece Top by The North Face - Rough Price - £40
Walks Around Britain rating  8/10

Product sample was provided by Webtogs, and as always with Walks Around Britain, we are independent in what we say.  Have a look at the Glacier here on the Webtogs website.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

The National Trust Walking Festival

On Saturday 22nd October, the National Trust hosts its first nationwide Walking Festival - with events throughout England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Great Weather for Walking

Wow oh wow!

What great weather we've had in Britain over the past couple of days - and we hope you all managed to get out in it to take advantage of it.  My family and I went out for a walk through the local wood to the park on Friday after school and work.  It's amazing to think in September/October, we were all out - children, dog and adults - in shirt sleaves without coats!  Well, Maisie our dog is often seen out without shirts or coats thinking about it - but you know what I mean!

The family are hoping this good weather will last until the middle of October when we have our Autumn holiday in Center Parcs - although looking out of the window from Walks Around Britain towers at the moment, it doesn't look like it did over the weekend... :(

Anyway, we're cracking on with editing and filming more walks for the website.  We're working on the first ones with Maisie, our dog, and more with Alannah, my 8 year old daughter.

As always, if you want to comment on our blog, website, videos or podcasts, please do!


Tuesday, 27 September 2011

The Walks Around Britain podcast - edition 6

The Walks Around Britain podcast - edition 6

Coming soon - our walk from Grasmere to Rydale

Coming soon - our walk from Grasmere to Rydale with Zoe Dawes - The Quirky Traveller.

A whole new Podcast

At present, we've been very happy with the response to our first toe in the water of podcasting - and now we're ready to jump in!

We're working on changing the podcasts to make a more complete magazine-style programme - the kind you'd find on Radio 4.  we'll be extending the length of the podcasts from the current 5 minutes to between 15-20 minutes - and we'll be committing to be making at least one a month.

These new podcasts could feature absolutely anything to do with walking and the great outdoors.  We could feature an audio walk, an interview, gear and kit tests and reviews and - of course - the hints and tips we started doing on the podcasts already.

To help us achieve our lofty ambitions, we're looking for sponsors for the new podcasts.  It doesn't have to be for a long term commitment - in fact we'd prefer to get different sponsors for each individual edition.  This way, we can make a part of the content of the podcast relate directly or indirectly to the sponsor.  Say if an independent outdoor retailer from the Lake District sponsored an edition - we could bring in their local knowledge to give a Top 10 walks in the Lakes.  Or they could come out on an audio walk with us.  Or they could suggest some great kit to take out walking in the Lakes.  All of these are informative to the listener and do not compromise the podcast into being just a long advert.

So, if you're interested in sponsoring an edition of our podcasts, please email us - or leave a comment below.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Welcome to the new Walks Around Britain blog

Welcome to the new Walks Around Britain blog.

On here, the team and I will be posting walking info, news, reviews and behind-the-scene details about our walking videos and walking routes.

Our main website is and you can follow us on Twitter at