Spring has sprung
With Spring now officially here, walk rounds up some upcoming seasonal rambles, upcoming highlights and spring news…
There is no better season than Spring to get out and about in the countryside and this year Ramblers groups across the country are holding plenty of invigorating walks to make the most of Britain in bloom. The months of March, April and May are full of rambling delights: the crisp air and soft sunshine entices wildlife from their winter homes and Ramblers across the country will be setting out to explore what start of Spring has to offer.
“With primroses and daffodils lining the country’s footpaths we’re inviting the nation to join a Ramblers walk near you to enjoy the sites in the company and comfort of a group,” says Simon Barnett, Head of Walking Programmes and Promotions for the Ramblers. you’ll feel happier, healthier and as full of life as the outdoors at this time of year! Each season offers something magical when you’re outdoors, but Spring really is a treat for walkers. There is something in the air that simply lifts the mood and puts a bounce in your step as you set out to explore nature at its most vibrant.”
Upcoming highlights include:
• Starting on Saturday 24 March, the Swansea group’s In The Steps of the Saints series is a three-week pilgrimage taking in the 15 Gower churches, ending on Easter Saturday. These are long, linear walks and at the end of each all ‘pilgrims’ will be welcome to take ale at the nearest alms-house (or pub!) and, hopefully, a meal on Easter Saturday.
• The Ramblers’ annual bluebell walks season will take place across the country from April. Walkers are encouraged to join a bluebell walk, help ‘spot’ bluebells, and enter their findings into a Natural History Museum online survey when they get home. Experts will use this crucial data to build a map of where the different types of bluebell are thriving.
• May begins with a bang as the Wales Coast Path officially opens, becoming the first path to take in an entire nation’s coastline! A weekend of led walks, organised by Ramblers Cymru, will mark the occasion with events taking place along every stretch of the 870-mile Welsh shore – creating perhaps the largest mass participation event the country has ever seen. Free coastal walks will also be organised by Ramblers groups across England and Scotland to jointly celebrate Wales’ new path and show support for the creation of England’s own continuous coastal path.
Find out more about these and other walks near you on the Ramblers’ Group Walks Finder: www.ramblers.org.uk/walksfinder
On the bus!
To make things easier for people wanting to visit Farndale’s wild daffodils, the North York Moors National Park Authority will once again be running its special shuttle bus from Hutton-le-Hole to various stops in the dale. The bus will be on the road every Sunday from 25 March to 15 April plus Good Friday, Easter Saturday and Easter Monday. The bus stops at several points along the dale enabling people to access the Farndale Daffodil Walk, which runs alongside the river Dove between Low Mill and Church Houses. A mobile display unit staffed by the Authority’s voluntary rangers is at Low Mill throughout the daffodil season providing information on what to see and do in Farndale and the wider North York Moors (pictured above).
For more, please visit www.northyorkmoors.org.uk/moorsbus
Reminder for four-legged friends
Dog-walkers are being reminded to keep their pets on short leads to protect young animals during the spring breeding season, after the bodies of sheep carrying lambs were found in the Peak District National Park earlier this month. Rangers there are putting up signs across the national park reminding pet-owners to keep their dogs under control, but dog-walkers around the country should bear in mind that by law, they must keep their dogs on a lead at any time around farm animals, and from March 1 to July 31 around wildlife.
“Walking a dog is one of the joys of the countryside,” says Rangers north area manager Jenny Waller said. ”But we ask all dog-owners to be responsible and keep their pets on short leads during this particularly sensitive time. Sheep and lambs can be badly injured or killed by uncontrolled dogs. Ground-nesting birds such as curlew and lapwing, and wild creatures such as hares, are also easily disturbed.”
And it’s not just for the sake of other animals either, as Waller points out. “For its own safety, never let a dog approach or chase wildlife and farm animals – your dog can get kicked, trampled or lost, and it could be legally shot for chasing farm animals. This is distressing not only for you but for farmers too. If cattle turn on your dog, it’s best to unclip the lead – a dog can usually look after itself, don’t risk getting hurt by trying to protect it. Get out of the field as quickly as possible, then call your dog as soon as you are out of danger.”
For more advice read the Countryside Code at www.countrysideaccess.gov.uk
And don’t forget – wherever you get to this season, don’t forget to share your photos and stories on the Ramblers’ Facebook page!