Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Dartmoor National Park - Northern Section

Dartmoor National Park is the fourth oldest in the UK, being established in 1951. The park lies entirely within the County of Devon, and is 368 sq. miles in area. Similar to neighbouring National Park Exmoor, the landscape is one of high moors, rocky outcrops called "tors", and wooded valleys. Dartmoor is a magical place, and a true wilderness in SW England.

Along the northern edge of Dartmoor National Park lies the beautiful Teign Gorge, home to the National Trust's Castle Drogo (a modern castle), and the stunning 17th century Fingle Bridge. The gorge is deep and winding, formed by the beautiful River Teign that snakes its way through a canopy of deciduous trees.

Teign Valley

One of the most popular Dartmoor walks (stunning especially in Autumn) is along this stretch of the Teign valley. Starting at Castle Drogo, you follow the top of the gorge, passing Sharp and Hunters Tor, and descend to follow the river below. At 4.3 miles +/- it is not too strenuous, but does involve some steps, steeper descending, and some ascent back up from the valley.

Teign Gorge loop

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

St Aldhelm's Head & Winspit

Every respectable hike ends at a pub (at least that's how I plan them), and this wonderful Dorset circular walk starting in Worth Matravers is no exception. Resisting the urge to pop into the "The Square and Compass", a mere minute stroll from the village car park (£2 parking donation) as you stroll by is hard, but the reward post-hike is much better tasting.

This loop walk is approximately 5 miles, but closer to 6 if you take the odd side detour, and I would allow around 3 hours. Expect to see spectacular coastal scenery, numerous historic sites, plenty of wildlife, and if hiking during a weekday, very few people.

St Aldhelm's head loop

Saturday, October 5, 2019

7 Days in Tuscany - by bicycle

October, 2018, a month that will be forever etched in the memory banks of Nineteen (19) cyclists from the USA, for better or worse - I hope for better. One year and 5 months prior to this date the first ever epic St. Vrain Chain Gang cycling club "SVCG" European escapade took place - London to Brussels, this second epic adventure to Tuscany, Italy was just as awesome!.

All Nineteen (19) riders (one coming via Morocco) arrived into different regions of Italy at staggered days/weeks prior to the bike tour, yet descended into Florence with military precision on October 5th and 6th, 2018. The next 8 days would turn strangers into friends, strengthen friendships, bring out great camaraderie, challenge and inspire, and most of all create memories that would last a lifetime.

Friday, September 6, 2019

Exmoor National Park, England

Having recently moved back to the UK after spending the past 20 years in the USA, it is a joy to "re-discover" parts of England I have not visited for many years, and top of my list are the National Parks scattered throughout this "small" island.

The UK is home to 13 National Parks, mostly all created during the 1950's under the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949. Exmoor National Park was the 8th park to be created, and lies in west Somerset and north Devon, in the southwest of England.

One big difference between US National Parks and UK National Parks is, UK parks are free for all to enjoy, and generally are not government owned (they are made up of working towns, privately owned lands, farms etc). The purpose of the parks is the same though, preservation and recreational enjoyment.


Typical Exmoor Landscape

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Pisa & Florence, Italy

A short 2-hour flight from London, UK you can find yourself in the "heart" of Italy, better known as Tuscany. Easyjet, BA and Ryanair all serve Pisa airport, and although the airport is relatively small, it is well connected via the Italian train network - and only an hour train ride from Florence.

Easyjet to Pisa flying over the Alps