All posts filed under: Travel

Exploring the literary walks of East Hampshire

Ten years ago, I started life as a student in Southampton, milling around the city and nearby Winchester. But it wasn’t until returning for a weekend of walking that I discovered the significance of Hampshire’s literary history. The opportunity to following in writer’s footsteps feels so romantic, unearthing stories hidden for hundreds of years. Our journey starts in the old village of Chawton, on the edge of the South Downs. Here, Jane Austen wrote in 1811 in a letter to her sister Cassandra: ‘The plan is that we should all walk with her to drink tea at Faringdon’. And so we did too. The five-mile route to Faringdon begins at Austen’s 17th century home, where she lived and wrote. See more about Jane Austen’s House here. Following the map out of the village, I notice things I might otherwise have overlooked – the old plaque on the school, the cobbled walls, and across the meadow, St. Nicholas’ Church. Tucked behind the church building, still sit the graves of Austen’s mother and sister. In this valley, …

My trek along the Great Wall of China for Alzheimer’s Society

Standing in Huangyaguan, a small rural Chinese town, we see the Great Wall for the first time – majestic and daunting, rising into the mountains behind us. Most tourists visit the busy, restored sections of the wall, but with local guides we’re fortunate to start our trek in this beautiful valley in the heart of the Yanshan Mountains. We’ve just spent the night in a traditional mountain hotel. At breakfast I’m not the only person unable to eat very much – after a year of fundraising, training and planning, I’ve been swinging between feeling nervous and excited since arriving. I decided to sign up for the trek because my Grandad suffered with Alzheimer’s disease. I’ve experienced first-hand what a horrible, life altering disease it is. Having this personal connection gave me the determination to raise the target of £3,350 for Alzheimer’s Society and, on the wall, to keep going, one step at a time. Before even arriving in China, fundraising was a huge challenge, but (although it seems impossible at first) raising such a large amount of money is …

Walking holiday in Brighton’s South Downs

I’ve got many happy memories of exploring Brighton – throwing stones into the sea, eating chips on the pier and shopping in The Lanes. Brighton is one of my favourite towns, but I’d never strayed far beyond its centre. So I packed up my car, Bella the dog on the backseat and my walking boots at the ready. We were staying in the town centre, but looking forward to embracing the South Downs and Brighton’s local walks. Arriving late on Friday, we drop off our bags and head to the beach, keen to make the most of the warm spring evening. Dogs are welcome on the beaches in Brighton & Hove from October until the end of April, and only in certain areas for the rest of the year. Walking along the promenade, chips in hand, with Bella running down to the sea is such a treat. We follow the coast along to the marina and back past the historic Volk’s Railway, meeting local walkers and enjoying the evening air. National Trust’s Devil’s Dyke The following …