by Carmen Allan-Petale
England is known for its lush, green countryside. No wonder, it rains so often the fields are muddy and green all year round. There are many public footpaths around the whole of the country for you to take advantage of at your leisure. Don’t be put off by the winter weather – in fact, this is the best time to go if you like the fun of jumping in puddles. But what do you need to know before you go?
1. Investigate your route
This might sound obvious, but before you set off on your walk, know your route! It’s adventurous to pick any old path but you might end up walking alongside a motorway as Dave and I did recently on a trip to the country – hardly picturesque.
When we went to Falmouth recently we investigated our route and chose the coastal path. We were rewarded – the views over the ocean and cliffs were spectacular and we thoroughly enjoyed it
2. Wear appropriate footwear
Even if it might not look muddy when you set off, don’t underestimate the paths. They’ll often be muddy and if you don’t want to spoil a nice pair of boots I’d strongly recommend investing in a good pair of wellies. Go for the full length ones because the mud can often splash up high on your leg.
3. Check the forecast
It might be sunny as you set out but the clouds can roll over in an instant. It’s no fun trekking through the rain, no matter how beautiful the view, so pick a day when the sun’s shining. Don’t be put off by the cold weather though. It’s refreshing to go hiking when the weather is crisp, just rug up warm. You’ll be working up a sweat in no time anyway!
4. Bring a map
I find the best option is to use the GPS on my iPhone. Make sure the battery’s charged and take it with you. There are some good apps you can invest in too, like OutDoors GPS Great Britain with National Parks, which tells you the elevation of the terrain, so you can see how hilly your walk will be.
5.Plan your pub pit stop!
This is the best bit – having a rewarding pub lunch at the end of the walk. You won’t feel so bad about pigging out on fish ‘n’ chips or a homemade pie if you’ve been walking for two hours beforehand. It may sound ridiculous, but some of our walks have been planned around where we’ll be stopping for lunch at the end of journey!