Getting out and about at weekends and being active is our passion. Many of our friends mention to us how they envy our days out and wish they had our lifestyle. It is not difficult if the desire to get outdoors is there. We often get asked where we get our ideas from so we thought we would share ideas on how you can get active and find great walks you can love too.
Feel Alive & Energised
There is nothing better than heading out for a good long energetic walk, hiking somewhere new and interesting, stop somewhere for a coffee or have a picnic and snack en-route. It always gives us a sense of freedom, making us feel alive and energised.
Unless we have planned and booked somewhere to stay away for the weekend we invariably make a plan the night before on where we fancy going or sometimes just over breakfast beforehand. We have several very useful go to books and favourite websites for inspirations and ideas.
We both live in the South East which has many great options to choose from. We can reach the coast quite easily, head to the North Downs, South Downs, Chiltern Hills or rural countryside and farmland. Most of the routes we choose will be anything up to an hour to an hour and half away maximum.
Neither of us would regard ourselves as expert or experienced hikers but we are fit and active and just love getting outdoors. Hiking is a great way to explore new places and experience the beauty of the countryside.
So What is the Difference between a Walk and Hike?
The Oxford Dictionary defines hiking as ‘The activity of going for long walks in the country for pleasure’.
Wikipedia describes it as the following, ‘A long, vigorous walk, usually on trails, in the countryside, while the word walking is used for shorter, particularly urban walks’
I like the description of hiking as off-road energetic walking on natural paths and trails, walking is more casual and generally on man–made constructed paths. Despite this we tend to refer to most of our hikes as walks.
Planning Your Walk or Hike
There are a number of considerations that we take into account and consider beforehand. That said, we will head off with an initial plan but with an open mind, flexibility and of course positivity, even if the rain starts falling.
Our considerations include the following criteria:
- Type of walk we fancy – easy, challenging, terrain, etc.
- Somewhere new for us both
- Timing, how long would we like to go out for
- Other plans we may have that could co-incide
- Distance ideally between 7-12 miles (3-5 hours)
- Has something of interest to see, explore or experience
- Pub or coffee stop along the way (important)
- Suitable routes for walking or hiking, marked trails etc.
- Circular walk, starting and finishing at the same point, or…
- Point to point walk with easy return transport links (train, bus, cheap taxi etc.)
- Downloadable map available, route card or well-marked paths
- Approximately 1-1.5 hours drive away
- Convenient long term local parking
- When does it get dark?
So How To Look For Appropriate Walks & Locations?
We have several very handy resources that we refer to that help look for inspirations and ideas. One book which has been an excellent source for walks and yet to disappoint is ‘The Times Britain’s Best Walks’ but there are many other good books worth investing in. Many of the walks can be downloaded in advance to your phone or GPS, some websites offer handy apps you can download onto your smart phone.
Here are a few ideas but there are many good websites available to seek out some ideas.
- The Times Britain’s Best Walks: 200 Classic Walks from The Times
- Fancy Free Walks – https://fancyfreewalks.org/
- Walking Britain, just enter your postcode or area you want to go to – https://www.walkingbritain.co.uk/find-walks-by-me.php
- All Trails – https://www.alltrails.com/
- Ramblers.org – https://www.ramblers.org.uk/go-walking/find-a-walk-or-route.aspx
Once you have decided on where you are going, before you head out here a few checks and items that you can consider taking with you.
- Check the weather forecast
- Walking boots or appropriate hard wearing shoes
- Water bottle(s) or hydration pack for your rucksack
- Waterproof jacket
- Waterproof cover for the rucksack
- Packable warm gilet or jacket
- Snacks including energy bars or a picnic if planning to eat out
- Cash and debit card
- First Aid kit (include blister plasters!)
- Charged phone with portable charger (and charging cable)
- Map of location or route
- Camera to capture those special moments
- Pack of tissues
- Change of clothing and spare shoes to change into
- Bag to pop your grubby boots in the back of your car
Now, find great walks near you, choose one, head off and enjoy your day out walking, exploring and create some memorable moments.