Sunday, 22 January 2012

Hiking the Wye Valley

The River Wye is the 5th longest river in the UK and it winds its way through the beautiful valleys and countryside of Herefordshire including some Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. 

There is a very popular 'Wye Valley Walk' which runs from Chepstow to Pumlumon and which takes in a large swathe of rural Herefordshire. The route is 136 miles long and straddles the border between England and Wales, it can be a bit hard going in parts but would probably be classed as an easy grade walk for most hikers.

Hikers and walkers will find plenty of bed and breakfasts in Herefordshire along the way (Herefordshire being the central part of the route). Herefordshire bed and breakfasts vary in price and you can expect to pay up to £90 for a double room. For the slightly better equipped hikers, campsites are plentiful along the Wye Valley route and are never far from the river's edge.

Places of Interest
The Wye Valley route is nearly all rural with only a few towns/villages, and one (small) city, to break up the country landscapes.

Chepstow sits at the bottom of the route and is a quaint town with a large castle and picturesque streets. Near to Chepstow is the historic and touristic Tintern Abbey. Further up stream is the old market town of Monmouth, which is attractive and has some great independent shops to visit.

The walk then follows what used to be the old steam railway route along the river up to Symonds Yat. Symonds Yat nestles on western side of the Forest of Dean and is popular for canoeists, rock climbers, cyclists, hikers, bird watchers, fishermen and cavers. It is classed an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with rapids, viewpoint high above the valley and an ox-bow bend in the river which is clearly visible from Symonds Yat Rock.

The magnificent medieval Goodrich Castle perches above the Wye mid way between Ross On Wye and Whitchurch. Here there is the old Flanesford Priory and Kerne Bridge, a hidden, and long disused railway tunnel is situated nearby which runs deep beneath the fern covered Coppets Hill.

Ross On Wye is another picturesque market town with ancient market place and is steeped in history with antique shops and rural farming atmosphere.

The route between Ross and Hereford city is winding and very rural with farmland either side of the Wye. Hereford itself is an intriguing city which is dominated by the enormous Hereford Cathedral with 'Mapa Mundi' (a spiritual as well as geographical map of the medieval world).

From here the Wye continues up to Hay On Wye, sometimes referred to as the 'Book Capital of The World. Hay is a most beautiful border town with a festival of literature which takes place annually. The route beyond this becomes even more tranquil as the river gradually becomes more of a stream deep into the Welsh countryside.

Fauna and Flora
The animal life of the Wye Valley is rich. Salmon and trout can be fished for in parts of the Wye and if you are lucky you may catch glimpse of a predatory Pike. 

Deer, fox and badger and rabbit are all friends of the river valleys as well as mink. According to the Environment Agency, in selected parts of the Wye, the lovable otter is once again thriving.

There are many varieties of tree in the Wye Valley and perhaps the most beautiful example of ancient British woodland is the stretch of river from Monmouth to Symonds Yat. Here the forests almost crowd the river. You can find fir, yew, beech and oak woods to name but a few amongst the dense woodlands.

The Wye Valley teems with bird life. From peregrines and other birds of prey such as buzzards to all varieties of woodpeckers, kingfishers to mute swans, cormorants and grey herons to night-jars and dippers. All these birds make the Wye Valley their home and a hiker is most likely to see at least some of these birds on route.
If you're looking for a lengthy but tranquil walk then the Wye Valley is superb and will offer some stunning scenery and interesting wildlife for those willing to venture along the river's trail.

The Wye Valley is Britain at its very best!

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Blog about Holidays

Holiday ideas these days can be easily found on the internet. The days of trudging down to your local travel agents are fast becoming a thing of the past for many people.

There are plenty of websites and organisations where you can get inspiration for a new holiday or even book one without the high street fees that some agents charge. One such place is the useful 'Holiday Blog'. If you're looking for a weekend break hiking around the UK or further afield in Europe or beyond then Holiday Blogs can give you an insight into where your next travel is going to be.

Hiking and camping is popular across the world and what better way to find out about a secret spot or new location to hike than a travel or holiday blog. Holiday blogs are often written by people who have already visited and explored a holiday destination, and they can provide more depth of local knowledge, like where to eat, what to avoid, special trails to try and much much more.

Many people now use holiday and hiking blogs to search out their latest escapade, if you hiking, the costs will be minimal as well, so free advice and a do-it-yourself holiday break equals a win win situation. What's more, if you like writing about your holiday exploits then you could even make money from blog writing yourself.
Many blogs will pay contributors a small fee to write relevant and quality articles which they can then post in their blog or website hence drawing in more visitors to their blog.

Web directories can offer up some great lists of camp sites around the world, they will provide a hiker with the opportunity to pick and choose where they stay, and if you're not into camping, the web will also point you in the direction of local bed and breakfasts or hotels.

One such blog is Blog About Holidays.co.uk, they offer a variety of interesting articles on hotels and camp sites and other camping related articles. There are plenty of holiday and camping blogs out there, you're reading a hiking one right now.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Not Hiking? Stay fit and healthy - superfruits and weight loss.

Want to lose weight, feel great, and improve your health when not out hiking?

The thought occurred to me that for the most part, we hiking type folks are relatively fit and healthy. I say for the most part, because during the winter months the hiking miles fall to nearly zero and the pounds/kilos take a steady hike upwards.

And who can resist all the Christmas pud, cakes, cheese, biscuits, meats and other foods of the devil?
So I got out the laptop and clicked around the web page to page looking for some easy way to keep the weight off while still indulging in the culinary delights of the season. Then bam .... slimming.com with a name like that they must have something to help?

I was very impressed to see that they sell very natural remedies like A Maqui Berry supplement that is a renowned super fruit that is very well known for its super antioxidant properties.  For those of you that don’t know, a fruit like Maqui Berry helps clear the toxins and poisons that gather and accumulate over time in your body. This has the added benefit of allowing you to improve your health and lose weight in a number of ways.
  •   Increase your energy levels 
  • Clear toxins and poisons from your bod 
  • speed up you weight loss.
  • Helps with diets and fitness programs.
This super fruit compares very well with the other well known fruits. Super Foods are given an ORAC LEVEL score. This measures the amount a foods antioxidant performance. The higher the ORAC number the stronger the antioxidant.
See this chart:
You can see from the chart how effective The Ultimate Maqui Berry is an antioxidant, and I thought that Cranberry was the best. Not even close!

Slimming.com does seem to offer just that, all that you need to stay fit, lose weight and  feel great. Instead of idling around getting fatter and fatter.  Mind you it is fun ;)

Anyway, I thought I would give it a try and so far, only a few day I think I am really feeling different, livelier and awake with more energy. I suppose it is a bit too early to tell but early signs are promising.

NOW I FEEL LIKE A HIKE, Coming?

Follow this link to VISIT THE OFFICIAL site and start feeling better!