Encon Associates sustainability consultant, Katie O'Sullivan gives us an insight into her favourite countryside walks and the reasons why she loves them.
War Memorial Mountain – Borrowdale, Keswick, Lake District
This is a varied route including some amazing views and the all-important pub visit. It doesn’t have to be a circular route, as Castle Cragg to me is the goal – it’s a steep but short ascent with a lovely war memorial dedicated to the men of Borrowdale. It’s suitable for dogs and perfect up top to rest with a flask and some snacks with a view - the image below is what I captured from up there on an outdated iPhone! Great effort- pay off ratio.
Hope Valley, Peak District
Another varied yet simple route to follow along a river with differing heights and opportunities to paddle. Parking at weekends can be in issue, however the walk can be carried out in 2 hours from Grindleford station. In summer there is also an ice cream van that resides by the area in which the river flattens out, perfect for a picnic However, an amazing woodland/river walk in the autumn time, as the air is crisp and the trees catch great colour. In summer it has the tendency to be a little too much of a popular walk and can become overcrowded.
Idle Valley Nature Reserve
As mentioned in a previous Encon Associates post, Idle valley nature reserve is home to one of the town’s only sustainable builds. This lies on an old gravel pit that is now a series of lakes and woodland as well as a site of scientific interest. It’s a keen area for birdwatching and casual, disability friendly strolls with the family. The visitor centre has a café with view of a lake and the surrounding walks contain woodland walks, river walks and numerous lakeside walks. As well as a café, a walk to the village of Lound through the nature reserve can lead you to a quaint village pub called the Bluebell Inn, with its open fires and traditional village pub feel and food.