Stuart Maconie on BBC River Walks

A man standing in front of a river 

Ramblers President Stuart Maconie is among a host of famous faces set to feature in a new BBC walking documentary on Monday 10 December.

River Walks will be shown at 7.30pm on BBC One, with a localised version for each region of England. 

Maconie’s episode will air on BBC One North West and will be available to view on the BBC iPlayer. 

It features a picturesque walk along the River Hodder in the Forest of Bowland, which opens up discussions of geology, history, food, wildlife and agriculture.

He spoke to us ahead of the documentary’s release:

Q: What do you like most about river walking?

Rivers are constantly changing in mood and appearance, vigour and character so they make for an excellent walking companion. They attract different kinds of wildlife and have encouraged different kinds of human enterprise and industry. Also, they make a great navigational aid; if there's water at the side of you, you're on the right track.

Q: Why did you choose the River Hodder for your episode?

I confess that I didn't really, it was the production team but I agreed happily. This stretch of Lancashire is something of an undiscovered gem as for many years until Right To Roam, much of the Forest Of Bowland was off limits to walkers and still people tend to rush by up the M6 to the Lakes. So you may well have it to yourself, except for maybe the Queen who owns a lot of the land around here and it’s said to be her favourite patch of England and potential retirement spot.

Q: How does a river walk differ from a normal walk?

It's got an inbuilt narrative, an arc, a rise and fall. A River has a life story and a biography almost like a person does. It gives a structure and plot to the walk.

Q:Which rivers of the world would you most like to walk?

I think there are a few icy ones in North Norway and Iceland that would be wonderfully gloomy and atmospheric. Or the Severn. I’d probably need my thermals in either case!

You can enjoy your own river walk with one of our favourite river-based Ramblers routes, including one in the Forest of Bowland.

River Walks – The Hodder with Stuart Maconie airs on BBC One on Monday 10 December at 7.30pm. Each of the 11 English regions will see its own episode, with the entire series being available nationwide on BBC iPlayer.