One of the things I remember most about family walks as a child was discovering strange relics that seemed to appear out of nowhere.
In the middle of one wood we’d visit were the ruins of a fairy-tale cottage, with just an ivy-clad chimney stack and the outline of a tiled floor still remaining. At a local country park, there was a curious grass-topped concrete column that thrust out of an open field, where a letterbox gap would swallow your shouts into the bowels of the earth.
My parents would make up all sorts of fantastical explanations to entertain me (a secret underground research centre; the home of a lovesick white knight). Even if they knew the tower was really just a very ordinary part of the sewage system, that cottage’s origins continue to be shrouded in mystery and local folklore.
I still love a good mystery on a walk now, so the Abandoned Treasures feature in this issue really capture my imagination – and the fascinating explanations behind them just add to their appeal. Also in this issue, we walk and talk with Clare Balding, meet the woman who has overcome Post Traumatic Stress Disorder through a love of the outdoors, and feature exclusive online-only content including photography from Gina Soden and a raw food recipe for a pre-walk energy boost.
In print we also take a literary hike along Shakespeare’s Way to celebrate the 450th birthday of the Great Bard and round up the results from the Ramblers’ Go All Out survey to find out how they’ll shape the next 10 years of our charitable work.
Have a great Christmas holiday – and don’t forget to join us for our Festival of Winter Walks.