In Search of Houndkirk

Houndkirk Road is a fantastically named ancient highway across Burbage Moor between Ringinglow and Longshaw, but seems something of a barren trudge across a lonely shoulder of moor. My school used to use it for its cross country races, bussing the whole year to the far end of the track and then letting us race … Continued

Bleaklow: In the Bleak Midwinter

Bleaklow is the wildest of the Dark Peak’s moorland expanses, stretching up from Alport and Ashopton all the way to Longdendale, 40 square miles of deep valleys and barren peat plateaux. While Kinder Scout’s tableland is renowned for its disorientating qualities, in truth it is hard to go too far wrong there Bleaklow on the … Continued

Woodlands Awards Winner 2017

Well, thanks to the good folk at Woodlands.co.uk I have recently been the proud recipient of a 2017 Woodlands Award for one of the Best Woodlands Books of the Year for The West Yorkshire Woods: Part 1. It is particularly satisfying as this is a respected woodland management organisation and my layman’s guide to woodland … Continued

The Kentish Coast

The Kentish Coast (or should that by the Old Coast of Kent) is a surprisingly varied affair, combining dizzying chalk cliffs with golden sands and endless shingle beaches. I began at Broadstairs in the middle of Folk Week, but before nine in the morning there was little sign of it on the streets. The tidy … Continued

The Changing Face of Kinder Scout

Kinder Scout held a particular thrall over me when I was younger, the highest point in the nearby Peak District but respected to the point of reverence. Its featureless plateau was something to be wary of. I only remember crossing it once, when I was considered old enough for this undertaking and I emerged on … Continued

Memories of Powys

I have been back in Powys recently, conducting a survey of the Public Rights of Way network that has had me reminiscing about doing this particular job over the years. Since 2004, I have walked 5% of the paths in the county of Powys on half a dozen occasions. It has taken me to all … Continued

The Rhiangoll Valley

There is an intriguing and beautiful valley between the western flanks of the Black Mountains and their offspring outliers, Mynydd Troed and Mynydd Llangorse. From above, it is a gentle green valley of woods and scattered farm buildings far below the great broad shoulders that the table topped peaks of the Black Mountains thrust out … Continued

The Mysterious Tree of Stoodley View

Winter sun produces a light like no other, and we are fortunate to have a had a number of perfectly clear days recently. On one such day, I realised soon after 3pm that the sun was fast disappearing from the valley and raced from our dark hillside across to the trees of John Wood above … Continued

The Old Road

A number of times over the past dozen years I have been summoned to mid-Wales to undertake a rather unusual Rights of Way survey. It is the same as many others I have done except the paths just aren’t there, so it feels like walking a series of notional lines on a map which may … Continued

Woodland Heritage Survey

It was probably not the day many of us had imagined when we signed up for the Celebrating Woodland Heritage survey at Hardcastle Crags, a small hardy group of us gathering in the car park amid light but persistent rain. Snow had been forecast but only touched the higher ground, and down here the slushy … Continued