The trees in this wooded river valley display brilliant autumn colours. There is a network of paths to explore leading by the river, around reservoirs and through the ruins of a manor house, Hollinshead Hall.
Two pubs in Tockholes and one at Abbey Village provide refreshment before or after your walk. An information centre near the Royal Arms can provide more information.
West Pennine Moors car park next to the Royal Arms, Tockholes. BB3 0PA. Or further south along the unclassified road at SD 663203.
Anyone who has an interest in photography and likes autumnal scenes should visit the The National Arboretum at Westonbirt. The nearest town is the market town of Tetbury. This 600 acre site will take you the best part of the day to have a proper look round. The colours in the autumn are quite spectacular with oranges, yellows, browns and reds of all descriptions. Even if you’re not into photography, it’s worth a visit just to see this vast collection of trees.
Tel: 01666 880220
Fax: 01666 880559
The section from Vallon Pont d'arc down to St Martin is a 32km stretch through an amazing 1000ft gorge. With amazing views, stunning wildlife (wild boar, Bonneli's Eagles, beavers and more), and numerous rapids to navigate, the Ardeche river is the perfect place for canoes and kayaks and both beginners and experienced paddlers alike.
Suitable for the whole family and a really tranquil / at-one-with-nature experience.
Ardeche Gorge, border of Rhone-Alps and Languedoc just NE of Avignon
Nearest Stations: Nimes, Avignon
Tel: +44 (0)1749 812109
Sydenham Hill Woods is a lovely area of woodland for walking in. It's quiet and peaceful, even on the weekend, and popular with dog-walkers and young families. It's big enough that you're not endlessly coming up against fences with roads on the other side of them, yet small enough that you can't get lost there. It's also the most pleasant way to get from Forest Hill to East Dulwich and when you do get to the Dulwich side, there is a marvellous area of pretty allotments to wander around, from which you may take in 'the best view of London in London'.
From the Forest Hill end, it's about a ten minute walk from the train station. The 185 and 176 buses also stop nearby.
If you are looking to experience Costa Rica's rainforest, but like to be away from hordes of tourist, this may be your place.
Set just outside Braulio Carrillo National Park getting there is part of the adventure. A very easy bus ride to Horquetas followed by a two hour jumpy tractor ride and another two hour walk through the forest.
Their accommodation goes from extremely basic, in the Casa de Guias, set 200 metres in the middle of the forest, with no electricity to a much more comfortable Lodge.
The walks around, guided by bilingual locals, or volunteers, are through some deep jungle and are everything you would ever should expect in this environment. You will hear a lot of noises, and you may see some birds, and your guide may find some snakes, monkeys, frogs or pacas. However, always remember animals are and should be shy of humans.
This is not Manuel Antonio, a tiny park where animals can't hide, this is proper jungle, but still showers, great food, beer, and some card games after trekking for a day... and if you are brave you can swim in the cold waters of the waterfall.
This is my account of the day: adegreeaday.blogspot.com/2009/08/rara-avis-spiders-and-other-thrills.html
Fabulous valley in La Garrotxa area with ancient villages, meadows and oak forests to explore. Try this superb drive: from Sanat Esteve d'en Bas, turn left for Hostalets and then right at the next bus stop on right for the road to Coll de Condreu. On the top of the hill you'll come to a good restaurant with views around.
After that, continue on the same road to Falgars past farms through a beautiful landscape to the hamlet where you can leave the car and start walking. From the top of a rocky outcrop here you can make out the Pyrenees.
Google map: tinyurl.com/pqjnd5
Jordan’s big tourist attractions are no secret. As a result, whether you’re bobbing around serenely in the Dead Sea or pretending to be Indiana Jones in rose red Petra, you’ll likely be swamped by other tourists. Much more adventurous than the former and less busy than the latter, Wadi Mujib provides a great afternoon of thrill-seeking for those who don’t mind getting a bit wet. Not far from the shores of the Dead Sea, visitors pay a small fee (used to maintain the valley) before getting some much-needed warnings about their expensive cameras, a life jacket and a pat on the back. Ahead lies a walk inland, up a dramatic wadi made of ambitious layer cake rock, with a permanent steam striving to reach the super salty sea below. From the very start, your feet are wet, but before you’ve reached the waterfall at the heart of the wadi, you’ll have swam, climbed and maybe sobbed a little. It’s like Petra in a puddle, but none the worse for it.
About an hour's drive from Madaba, just off the highway that runs along the Dead Sea. www.rscn.org.jo
The best way of seeing the desert around Alice Springs is by self-drive and bush-camping.
Camp n Drive in Alice hires out 4WD with all the equipment you need for camping.
We had no equipment of our own. Hired the car from Camp n Drive and drove out to Ruby Gap in the East McDonnell ranges. There was no one around. We set up camp by a ghost gum tree, lit a campfire, rolled our swag on the earth and spent a wonderful night in the desert under countless stars.
Camp n Drive is situated in Alice -48 Gap Road, Alice Springs, NT. 0870, Australia, 08 89520099. www.alicecampndrive.com/index.html
Ruby Gap is in the eastern MacDonnell ranges - easy to find. Follow the Ross highway from Alice, follow the signs to Arltunga and you will see signs for Ruby Gap. It's a 4WD road only after the Ross Highway.
I booked a wildlife holiday in Uganda through Prana Holidays. (I use them for all my travels). It was a great 10 days and the highlight was the trek to see the mountain gorilla in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. I was forewarned that it was hard work and that it may be useful to pre-arrange a porter to help with my luggage. Being a normal bloke, I decided not to do this as I could manage. If I ever do this again (which I hope I get the chance too) I will definately get a porter. The ones on our trek were amazing, only young but so fit and strong as well as helpful. Not just carrying bags with camera's etc but actually encouraging and at times pushing people up slippery slopes. It would have saved me a bucket full of sweat and made an amazing experience even better.
Uganda Wildlife Authority - www.uwa.or.ug/bwindi.html
Prana Holidays Uganda Trip - www.pranaholidays.com/discovery-adventure-holidays/uganda-gorillas-in-the-mist/
It's the deepest fresh water lake in the world. It's 1.6km deep and has 1/5th of the worlds fresh water in it. Home to fish and seals that are only found there. The surrounding countryside is all beautiful forests. Listvyanka itself is tiny and the only place you can get smoked omul, the best known of the tasty local fish.
You can catch a marshrutka (minibus) or regular bus to Listvyanka from Irkutsk. Irkutsk is on the Trans-Siberian train route and well worth stopping off at for the lake alone.
For cream teas, forget Devon and head for Falling Foss Tea Gardens, five miles south of Whitby. Located in an idyllic woodland setting beside the waterfall of the same name, the tea garden has been lovingly restored to its early 20th century appearance by owners Jack and Steph, who unfailingly offer a warm welcome whatever the weather. Reopened in 2008, the tea garden has established a reputation for its home baking, not least the freshly baked scones, accompanied by generous portions of home made raspberry jam and lashings of cream, all for £1.50! Young and old are catered for, with play equipment in the garden and children of all ages are invited to participate in pooh sticks from the nearby footbridge. The tea garden is popular with walkers and ramblers, with the Coast to Coast path passing nearby, but most customers are there for just one thing – the cream teas.
Midge Hall, Sneaton Forest, Whitby, YO22 5JD.
Holyrood Park was originally a royal hunting estate and is most famous for being the home of the natural rock formation known as Arthur’s Seat, which is shaped like a crouching lion.
The park is also home to the Salisbury Crags (a series of cliffs) and three lochs. It’s the perfect place to go for a walk if you want to escape the city of Edinburgh and you can download a leaflet featuring a number of walking routes from the web site below.
Inshriach is a Scottish fishing estate with two miles of the Spey. It is amazingly positioned, nestled in the Cairngorms, sufficiently far from Aviemore to be isolated, sufficiently close to be convenient.
It is the most wonderful place. Think grand, but not precious, roaring log fires, four-posters, a dram of rare single malt in the Library and standing waist deep in a river inhaling the cleanest air in the country. It is heaven.
I'd have tried to keep it a secret but the owners are so kind and so deserving I thought I'd share.
Snowmobiling is great fun and is one of the best ways to enjoy the backcountry during the winter months. The scenery is spectacular and riding a snowmobile is thrilling. Not to be missed!
A beautiful and internationally renowned sanctuary for rare and endangered Australian native animals; you'll see much more here than almost anywhere else on your travels in Australia and learn plenty from the informative guides who take people on walks. Platypus, bettongs, quolls and a whole lot more to be seen, if you are observant. Highly recommend the 'moonlight walk', as many of these secretive animals are nocturnal. Restaurant/cafe on site, as are luxury large tents for an overnight experience. This sanctuary was the first to install fox-proof fencing, which has since been adopted by most leading sanctuaries across Australia, and keeps the animals inside it safe from outside predators. It may also be the first to successfully breed platypus in captivity, all achieved in the last twenty years since the place was established - great accomplishment by founder John Walmsley. It raises the bar for wildlife sanctuaries everywhere. Just the drive up there is worth it, gorgeous scenery especially in autumn when Japanese maples are turning incredible shades, in among the gumtrees!
take the freeway from the city to Stirling, in the Adelaide Hills, continue on through Aldgate til you reach Mylor creek. Next turn on the right should be signposted "Warrawong Sanctuary".
Google map: tinyurl.com/lty25t
Great priced eco campsite only 1.5 hrs south of Barcelona. Only 20 pounds per night. It's run by a friendly family. Yoga is taught each morning in the flower filled courtyard. Beaches only 12 miles away. A 'get away from it all' holiday with a lot of activities to keep the non-yoga enthusiasts happy too. Castles to explore, beaches to sunbathe on, giant catfish to catch in the river Ebro, hiking in stunning mountains straight out of the front door. The camping facilities are clean and modern in a converted stable. It's only £20 a day too.
It's a Mediterranean mountain ecoretreat only 12 miles from the unspoilt beaches of the Costa Daurada, which has been missed by mass tourism. They run yoga classes each day in the olive groves with stunning mountain scenery.
Camping facilities are in a beautiful converted stable. You can pitch your tent in complete privacy (wild camping) and hiking possibilities are unlimited in the surrounding designated natural park (Serra de Cardo mountains).
The fishing villages are picturesque, the river fishing and kayaking are fun, the beaches and coves are golden and uncrowded, and it's only 20 euros a night. What's not to love?
I have just returned from doing the Tongariro Crossing in the North Island.
This company provides a guided crossing in the winter, when the snow requires a guide for all of those but the most experience. In the summer they will take you to the base camp and pick you up on the other side.
As oppose to other agencies they have got a concession from the maori iwi that allows them to do the full crossing. Be aware of other agencies that may take you to the top but you will have to return the same way back
Cute as a button, Altiplano Tipis is a quaint luxury tipi camping site near to the town of Baza that we found while travelling around Andalusia.
The three tipis situated in the courtyard were like a picture postcard, brightly coloured yellows and blues against a backdrop of the whitewashed cave house of the friendly owners, Louise and Andrew. The tipis were very comfortable and had a homely feel with coloured rugs on the floor and we even had our own private shower room, which made a nice change from our previous camping experiences!
Louise, the owner, put on a delicious spread every morning for breakfast including stewed fruits, home-made jams, bread and cheeses. The location was very peaceful, with only the sounds of the birds and bees and from the pool we could see the Sierra Nevada Mountains in the distance. A very relaxing place to have a glass of cava while watching the sunset. For €36 a night for two people including breakfast, this makes a great option for those on a budget or for those looking for something a little bit different.
Canada SoSal,18800 Baza, Spain
Phone: +34 664835417
Nearest airports: Granada and Almeria
A few months ago my boyfriend and I headed for a country break to Devon for a long weekend. We caught the train bright and early on a gorgeous Friday morning and before too long we were driving along the tiny country lanes in East Devon in search of our bed & breakfast. Listening to BBC Devon and watching field after field and horses and cows go by, we felt ourselves slowly being de-Londonised...
There it was our turning along a tiny dirt track, past the nearest 'village' Southleigh which consisted of a post box and village noticeboard. We passed a few farms and lovely converted barns and finally drove up the driveway to our bed & breakfast Glebe House, sitting beautifully on top of a hill. My kind of place.
Breathtaking views of the valley and surrounding farmhouses, wooden table and chairs for that night cap (or in my case peppermint tea) in the evening, and a welcoming host. I'd only just gotten there and I was already dreading leaving.
Our host, Emma, served us tea and cookies in the conservatory and then showed us to our room upstairs with views of the garden.
It was a perfect location for exploring the nearby villages, beaches and Moors. We spent a day at the beautiful beach town Lyme Regis, a day in the wild and rugged Dartmoor national park and a day in idyllic and hip town of Totnes.
I'm all about staying local, and luckily there are seemingly never ending options in this very country...
Devon EX24 6SD
Tel/Fax: 01404 871276
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