Archetypal rolling green hills, lambs, blue bells, oak trees and turnstiles. Most of the UK countryside has been tamed over millennia by agriculture. This has the massive benefit for ramblers of there being paths, access roads, dry-stone walls, turnstiles and well pruned and drained hillsides.
Where ever you go remember there is a poor farmer that will go further than you in all weathers to salvage a lost sheep.
Vast open areas with little features other than heather, gorse, bogs and fog. Not my favourite environment as there is not often too much to see, there is no shelter from the wind and rain and it is easy to get lost in the frequent fog.
Trails are generally managed walks; which means there is a society or estate tending to the route. You often find that there is a well-maintained car park at the start of the trail, often with clean toilets and a map of the trail. On the route itself will be well-maintained paths, stairways, bridges, vegetation and waterways. A trail is one of the absolute best ways to get your family into walking as the routes are safe and well maintained. Many of England’s trails are managed by ‘The National Trust’.
As trails are maintained they require funding to operate so some trails have tolls or voluntary suggested contributions whilst others have elevated car park fees.
We are lucky in England to have so much woodland and it can be found in or near every town and city. Woodland can be great to walk through for its natural beauty and rejuvenating properties.
Unfortunately, most woods close to towns and cities are blighted with dog dirt. It’s a bugbear of mine as it looks terrible and it’s a health hazard especially when you are walking with your kids. Although a public place, woodland is an exempted from the dog fouling law so tread carefully.
In the UK, a mountain is considered as land over 2,000 feet or 610 Meters above sea level, The official government height is 600M when considering access. Several definitions also stipulate that a mountain must have a drop off of at least 30M in all directions to separate it from adjacent summits. At 600M you will get exceptional views of the surrounding area and a great sense of achievement.
I for one am not religious but it is hard not to find it heavenly when among the god-like mountains. Whether religious, spiritual, or neither there is something awe-inspiring about been on top of a formidable elevation.
As far as walks go, trekking up mountains is generally the most physically demanding. Depending on the mountain and path you choose; the ascent paths can vary from crazy paved well-maintained walkways and staircases to scrambles (must use hands and feet) and very narrow dirt paths clinging to the mountain side with ‘no second chance’ drops.
This type of walk demands decent hiking clothes, rucksack, and boots. You would not attempt a mountain without first undertaking several low-level walks in all weathers, especially with kids.
A ridge is often a part of a mountain ascent path where if the mountain was a dinosaur, the ridge would be its sharp spine traveling up its back. Most ridges span from part way up a mountain to its summit or from mountain to mountain. Some ridges may have a nice path with space either side, some have a narrow path with great drops either side and the most dangerous are where the path gives way to a spine of pure rock where the only way to traverse it is to straddle it, due to their very dangerous nature I will not be covering this type of ridge walk on The Walking Dad.
If your adventurous and not claustrophobic there are an abundance of caves in North Yorkshire and The Lakes. Some are natural and some are man-made caverns, tunnels and shafts from historic mining activities. I have been in dozens; either with organised parties, friends who know them well or by myself with my family. Caves are magnificent, wondrous places with outstanding natural primordial beauty; they have amazing forms, colours, features and unique wild life. However, they can literally be hellishly dangerous if you don’t know 100% how to approach them. Aside from alcove type caves where you don’t need additional headlamps; I will be writing little to nothing concerning caves as The Walking Dad as the risk is too great. If you are interested in caving contact a local pot-holing group, an outward-bound centre, or visit one of many places that offer guided mine tours.