Are you looking for a challenging hike that will test both your navigation skills and your hill walking fitness? If so, you need to try some of the Dartmoor hiking routes that criss-cross this beautiful and very wild place. A National Park, Dartmoor is nestled in the south-west of England and is an ideal destination for hikers. Covering about 300 mi.², the distance from north to south is about 26 miles.
The hills peppering the moorland are known as
tors. Whilst not the highest heights in the United Kingdom they are numerous
and a large number of pretty steep. As with any of Britain’s national parks,
Dartmoor can be a dangerous place if you’re unprepared. If you’re a novice
hiker consider reading my hillwalking essentials guides before you attempt this
Now that we’ve covered the preamble, let’s
get this hike on the road.
As a regular visitor, you already know that I
use Dartmoor as a training ground. The terrain is hard going, and the weather
can be summed up in one simple phrase: ‘four seasons in one’. Temperatures can
drop from balmy to biting cold in a matter of minutes.
Dartmoor hiking routes can test both your skills and endurance.
You unzip the door of your tent and the heat rolls in – it’s a
scorching day outside. Your lips crack at the more thought of hiking into what
will become a midday inferno. Even the parched plants look back at you with
pity. But suffering for no good reason is dull and painful, so here’s a big
list of hot weather hiking tips taken from my many miles of exploration.
Let me caveat this post: I find hiking in cold climates far easier
than warmer places.
Picture the scene: your hike has taken you deep into the serene and beautiful hills. Ahead lie swathes of green grass, shimmering peaks and slashes of crystal blue water. But in no time at all the stunning view turns dim as the rains come and turns streams into wild torrents. Now you need to know how to cross a river.
On your travels there are times when your route is going to be blocked by a river, or significant body of water. Some organisations, think military, advocate only one way to cross these kinds of features: jump in with all your gear and swim across! Not one of the rules for hiking we recommend.
Crossing swollen rivers or large bodies of water can be hazardous. Following a storm or flood there is a real risk to life. Today we’re going to explore a number of methods you can use to move or reduce the risk that comes with crossing a water feature.
We are hikers, we were born to explore, we travel places many others aren’t interested or inclined to go to. We love the outdoors and a sense of adventure that brings being in green and wild places. And with that sense of wonder comes a need to protect and preserve the places we trek and explore. But there are rules for hiking (which I invented just before putting together this responsible hikers guide).
Sadly the world is changing and not for the better. The ever increasing population has placed huge demands on our green and pleasant places. Even though the percentage of people who enjoy outdoor activities is still relatively small the population increase has had an overall and quite detrimental effect on the landscape of our planet.
I hate preaching! Unless of course I’m in one of those more moments when I really enjoyed preaching. But today rather than have a little rant I’m gonna keep it simple: today we are going to explore some ideas on how we can be responsible hikers.
I know quite a few of the many walks near Thame as I live here. The small market town nestled in the Oxfordshire countryside boasts some of the finest footpaths and sites in the English countryside whilst Oxfordshire might not be known for having the biggest hills, it certainly has some truly stunning locations for you to walking. As well as the countryside there is a river Thames, also known as Isis. The Thames runs alongside Thame. On the outskirts of the town there is a bridge over the river which is a great location to play Poohsticks with the kids.
Although not as breathtaking as the Wittenham Clumps, Thame has some amazing country walks to explore. Couple a long day striding out through the fields and byways around the town and you’ll be more than ready to take in some of the pubs and cafes that dot the area.
Some of you may already know I’m a keen runner. I spent many hours exploring the routes around that Thame. Some of these footpaths are great for both training and more sedate countryside walks.
Below are three of the best walks near Thame that I can recommend.
This Wittenham clumps walk covers 4 miles of beautiful Oxfordshire countryside. AKA ‘Mother Dunch’s Buttocks’, the Clumps are a pair of chalk hills located in an otherwise flat area of the Thames Valley. Named Castle Hill and Round Hill, the heights offer sightseers a stunning panorama of the surrounding Oxfordshire countryside. Both hills are crowned by wreaths of woodland and one of the clumps is the site of an ancient hill fort dating back to the Bronze Age.
Given their height, the clumps provide breath taking views of the surrounding countryside. I regularly train on these peaks and every time I reach the top I always pause to take in the sights – something not to be missed.
Standing at over 300 feet tall and topped with a crown of trees, the two hills of Wittenham Clumps are local landmarks in this otherwise flat part of the Thames Valley. Stunning views of the surrounding countryside are a hallmark of the Clumps. As is the fact that is hotspot for sledging mayhem in the winter months!