An introduction to 'Cheshire Year Round Walks'
If you're a fan of walking, hiking and generally being outdoors in Cheshire, we have great news.
Cheshire Year Round Walks has just arrived in the office at Countryside Books HQ, ready for delivery all around the country.
And having just had another chance to look at it, we were reminded of how much we enjoyed author Judy Smith’s introduction in the book. So we thought we’d print it in full here, along with a select few images from the book, just to give you an idea of what to expect. Take it away, Judy...
“In times past, we lived closer to the earth and to the seasons than we do today. In the long nights of winter, people went to bed early; with daylight and warmth increasing, they planted crops to be harvested in summer and autumn; what could be stored was saved for use over winter. There were no televisions providing entertainment for the dark hours, no supermarkets offering peaches in January and Brussels sprouts in July, no jets to whisk us off for a quick dose of winter sunshine, no cruise liners carrying us to Arctic glaciers at the height of summer. The cycle of the year was all-important, and traditional celebrations like Midsummer, Michaelmas and Yuletide brought a sense of rhythm and continuity.
We can’t do much about the complexity of our lives today, but maybe we would do well to relate more to the year’s natural changes. This book pays homage to just that idea.
Here are 20 routes intended to showcase the best of each season. In spring, you can enjoy bluebells, apple blossom and herons’ nests; in summer, the seaside, and the heights of Cheshire’s Peak District. Autumn brings deep-bronzed beech woods and forest feasts, while at the end of the year there are winter visitors on the estuary, and woods filling up with snow. The walks are not long – they range between two and eight miles in length – because, for the most part, they are what I call ‘stand and stare’ walks. On short walks like these, you should have time to ‘stand and stare’ – to stare at Cheshire spread before you from Shutlingsloe’s summit, to admire the carpet of snowdrops at Dunham Massey, to scan the waters off Hilbre Island for seals, to hunt for fungi in the woods – and to sit down with a Snugburys ice cream! If you are feeling bold, you could set yourself the challenge of taking every walk in this book in the coming year.
Cheshire is a lovely county, and should you happen to get addicted as you explore, it’s no matter, because with every walk there are suggestions for other routes that are similar. And most significantly, with every walk there are ideas for refreshment as well. That ‘cup of tea and piece of cake’ is surely an important part of the walking experience! I do hope you enjoy the round of the year in Cheshire. I wish you good luck on your travels.”
- Alex Batho