One of the joys of Nordic walking is the strength and stamina it builds, enabling us to explore with confidence the extraordinary countryside in this country and abroad.  Our club Spring challenge last weekend is a case in point.  Of the fifty six of us that took part only a handful had walked a similar distance and ascent before.  The power and endurance developed during our regular fitness and stamina walks gave us the confidence needed – plus of course the fantastic support from other walkers and our instructors.

So I am thrilled to be able to share our next series of scenic walks which intersperses familiar favourites with new venues.  We have a mid-week and weekend walk every month from May to October and different levels of difficulty to provide something for everyone.  If you are keen to support World Nordic Walking Day please join our Bath instructor Sarah on Saturday 19th May for lovely 5.5 mile walk on Lansdown Hill. It's reasonably flat so suitable for all.  Here’s what’s on offer:

May
Thursday 10th May: Prior's Wood bluebell and wild garlic circular with Miro.  Starting at Tyntesfield this popular walk takes you into Prior’s Wood which is renowned for its magnificent displays of bluebells and wild garlic.  The walk is approximately 5.5 miles long and is suitable for most fitness levels.  Click here for more details.
Saturday 19th May: Lansdown scenic trail, Bath.  There are some excellent walks around Bath and we have added two to our scenic walks schedule.  The first is a delightful (mostly flat) 5.5 mile trail along the natural high plateau of Lansdown Hill, with superb views all the way.  It starts and finishes at an excellent pub so you can stop for a drink or lunch afterwards and continue to admire the views from the impressive terraced garden.  It also happens to be World Nordic walking day - so an extra incentive (if you need one) to join what promises to be a fabulous event. Click here for details.

June
Thursday 7th June: Sand Bay headland views circular.
  Another 5.5 mile walk, this is one of my top five most favourite walks.  It’s just a short drive from Bristol but the views from the headland on Middle Hope are fabulous and Sand Bay itself is a proper sandy beach where I like to Nordic walk barefoot on.  Together with the ruined Priory, crumblimg pill boxes and old fashioned tea room, the whole area takes me back to yesteryear.  Miro will be leading this walk.  Click here for details.
Sunday 24th June: Cascading waterfalls walk, Brecon Beacons.  A challenging 9 miles but this is one of the most famous waterfall walks in the country.  Get up early or build a weekend in Wales around it – you actually walk behind one of the waterfalls (and see plenty of others).  The walk is being led by Steve Bees, an international mountain leader – you need to be a confident Nordic walker with good fitness for this walk.  Click here for details.

July
Wednesday 11th July: The Belmont Hill magnificent Redwood trees circular.
  You have probably driven down Belmont Hill many times (it links Lower Failand with Flax Bourton) but did you know that there are magnificent Redwood trees in the woods there?  Mel is leading this lovely 2 hour walk which starts and finishes at Gatcombe Farm.  It will take you up a little lane, through the woods and back across fields.  Although there’s a hill involved, this walk is suitable for all levels.  Click here for details.
Saturday 21st July: The Forest of Dean.  The ancient Forest of Dean has changed many times over the centuries. In medieval times it was a royal hunting forest, before becoming a source of timber for the navy's Tudor warships. By Victorian times it was a major site of industry, with coal mining and tramways punctuating the landscape.  It is a great place to walk and explore and Valerie, a Nordic walking instructor in this area, is going to show us one of her favourite routes.  Details will be available soon.

August
Thursday 9th August: Tintern Abbey/Offa’s Dyke circular walk
.  When was the last time you visited Tintern?  Here is the perfect excuse – a 6 mile walk from the famous Abbey following a disused railway track before climbing up to the Offa’s Dyke National trail itself.  From the famous Devil’s Pulpit you have wonderful views looking down onto the Abbey and across the Wye valley.  There’s a long climb here but on a nice wide track – our stamina classes should give you the fitness to enjoy it!  Click here for further details.
Sunday 19th August: Bath skyline walk.  So many people have been talking about this walk – so here it is, led by our Bath instructor Sarah.  The Bath skyline is 6 miles of way-marked footpaths high above Bath in a beautiful rural setting.  Secluded valleys, pretty meadows and ancient woodlands are interspersed with extensive views over Bath and out towards the Blackdown Hills.  You need to be prepared for hills and if it’s been wet it will be muddy in places - but this is a wonderful walk.  Click here for details.

September
Wednesday 5th September: Clevedon six-mile scenic circular. 
Starting at the famous Clevedon pier, this walk incorporates the coast path, golf course, Clapton Moor Nature Reserve and Clevedon Court estate before zig-zagging back down to the pier.  Led by Liz (who ran our research project) it is an excellent local walk with wonderful views.  Given the distance and terrain, you will need decent fitness.  Click here for details.
Saturday 29th September: Sugar Loaf ten mile circular.  Yes, it’s a repeat of the walk many of you did last weekend – Abergavenny to Sugar Loaf and back.  So if you missed it first time round – or would like to do it again in (hopefully) better weather conditions, this is your chance.  A proper walk with a proper mountain and the perfect fitness goal to aim for – you have all spring and summer to train.  Click here for details.

October
Wednesday 10th October: Tyntesfield grand loop. 
This is a wonderful easy 4 mile walk skirting the beautiful & diverse 150 acre estate of Tyntesfield and crossing into the pretty Wraxall valley.  It's an opportunity to view Tyntesfield and the wider Belmont Hill from below and see how the grand houses - Tyntesfield, Belmont and Backwell - all link up.  Click here for details.
Sunday 21st October: Cotswold Way (Cam Long Down) seven-mile circular.  Many of you were disappointed when ice and snow forced us to cancel this walk recently.  So Miro is leading it at the end of October.  The Cotswold Way is one of the most popular walking trails and the historic route of Cam Long Down tells you why.  It has long barrows, an ancient hill fort, escarpments and several steep climbs where you will be rewarded by compass-wide views that spread out all around you back into the heart of the Cotswolds and across the Severn Estuary into Wales.  Click here for details.

We hope there is something that piques your interest from the above and we look forward to seeing you on these walks.

Vicky

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