Home :: Sports and pastimes :: Walking and hiking

Walking and hiking

Taken from the iFootpath website


I’ve spent some time recently reflecting on the various rewards that drive so many of us to walk in our leisure time. In England alone, more than 9 million of us walk recreationally at least once a month, making walking more popular than going to the gym or swimming. And in a poll of adults in 2011 that asked people to name the things that bring them most pleasure, walking came in at number 25 ahead of eating chocolate, eating cake and the smell of freshly baked bread.

So what is it that gives walking its widespread appeal? Well, I suspect it has a lot to do with the variety of rewards that walking brings to people. It really can be all things to all people.

One slice of this common appeal is the sense of achievement that walking brings. Even within the realm of achievement there are many facets which appeal to different groups of people. Some measure their achievement through the distance they have walked, others through the heights of the peaks they have scaled. Peak bagging describes the popular activity where mountaineers attempt to reach the summit of a collection of peaks in a particular region.

Which brings me on to the next facet of achievement: completion of a tick list. Similar to bird watching, some walkers measure their achievement through the completion of certain routes or the reaching of certain points. Many walkers work their way through the highest peaks in Britain, whilst others take on the numerous long distance paths. Some say that this approach devalues the actual experience of walking in favour of reaching an arbitrary point on a map, but I say each to their own. You see, that is the joy of walking, you can tailor it to suit your own needs.

A further sense of achievement for some is the successful navigation of a route. Armed with a map and compass people can derive a real sense of satisfaction from being able to navigate across remote terrain. Orienteering courses are set for those who crave this type of achievement and, more recently, the popular sport of geocaching tests participants’ navigational skills with the reward of ‘treasure’ to be found at the end of the trail. In an age where we are constantly aware of healthy and unhealthy lifestyles, exercise forms part of our conscious decisions on how to stay fighting fit. Within the realms of physical activity, walking has many clear benefits. It is inexpensive with no entrance fees or membership fees required and the ‘kit’ can be as simple as a good pair of walking shoes. Compared with the gym, swimming or cycling the costs are minimal. Walking is also particularly accessible, being equally available to those in rural and urban areas. For those starting from a low level of fitness or recovering from injury, walking also offers a low impact way of improving stamina, cardio-fitness and strength. For those wanting more of a challenge hill climbing increases the cardio workout and some people move on to Nordic Walking with the use of walking poles, offering the chance to use muscles in the entire body.

For many, this achievement driven approach is simply not required. Indeed for many, the entire purpose of walking is to escape the rat race and the constant need to achieve. Being close to nature and having the space and time to reflect on life gives most people a sense of quietness and relaxation that is hard to find elsewhere. With such a wide range of landscapes in the UK, there is time to appreciate the most unspoilt rural areas as well as man-made features such as parks and forests. And every landscape tells as story as you are taken on a journey through history with Iron Age hillforts, ancient burial mounds, monastery ruins and old mine workings littered across the countryside.

So, whatever appeal walking holds for you, you can be sure of one thing: you are certainly not alone and you can find books and guides and ebooks here to help you enjoy this wonderful leisure activity. You may also like to visit the iFootpath website, print some great walks or download the iPhone App.


Walks to Enjoy in Dorset
SKU: wtd/202/000
Binding: Paperback

Walks in to Enjoy in Dorset - fifteen walks for you to enjoy by yourself, with your dog, family or friends. Detailed walk information including maps and photographs with historical notes and easy to follow descriptions. All but one walk is circular and range in length and difficulty. The linear walk is completed by taking the train from Swanage back to the walk start at Corfe Castle.

save 69%
Qty Out of stock
Self-sufficiency Foraging
SKU: fss/228/bp/075
Foraging for wild food is becoming more and more popular as people become increasingly interested in eating not only organic but also local fresh food - for free. You'd be surprised at the bounty of wild food you can find practically on your doorstep: some native plants, some escapes from ancient gardens and all delicious. Most of these foods are within easy reach - however, you've got to know what you're looking for and where to go and when. Arranged in a directory of categories divided into wild plants, herbs, fruits, nuts, mushrooms, seaweeds and shellfish, this book has all of the information you need alongside clear illustrations to help you identify a wholesome and natural food store, all for free. Hints on how to prepare and eat your foraged bounty are also included, along with advice on seasonality.
Qty Out of stock
DIY Build a Rocket Stove
SKU: agua/dbrs/7030

A properly built rocket stove can be twice as efficient as a regular stove, wood burning stove or cooking over a camp fire. This means where you’d need branches and logs to build a camp fire, you can cook a meal with twigs and leaves that will burn just as hot and just as long at logs and sticks. How can you get more energy from a smaller fuel? By burning that fuel more efficiently. The rocket stove is designed so that the chimney contains and focuses all of the heat directly onto the cooking surface, rather than loosing most of it into the surrounding air.

Qty Out of stock
Build a Wood Gas Stove
SKU: agua/bwgs/7030

Wood gas is a syngas fuel which can be used for furnaces, stoves and vehicles in place of petrol, diesel or other fuels. During the process fuels such as wood or other cabron fuels are gasified within the stove to produce hydrogen and carbon monoxide. These gases can then be burnt as a fuel within an oxygen rich environment to produce heat.

Qty Out of stock
Good Photos in Bad Light
SKU: gfibl/ebook/000
Binding: ebook - pdf
We’ve all gone through situations where bad light played a spoilsport in our photography trip, or so we thought. You don’t have to worry about it any longer because Darwin Wiggett, in this eBook, gives you plenty of tips and techniques that you can learn to create great photos in bad outdoor light. Light will no longer be your excuse for bad photos.
It's free!

This product is free - click the 'More' button below to see more detail then add to your cart. You will get the download links when you check out your cart.

Bicycle Touring Photography
SKU: btp/ebook/000
Binding: ebook - pdf
This is a unique eBook in that it combines bicycle touring with photography. Written by Paul Jeurissen, it uses the travels of a bike touring couple (the author and his wife Grace Johnson) as a backdrop to impart photography lessons on composition and techniques. If you like cycling and photography, you are going to love this one.
It's free!

This product is free - click the 'More' button below to see more detail then add to your cart. You will get the download links when you check out your cart.

The website uses cookies to allow us to better understand how the site is used. By continuing to use this site, you consent to this policy. Click to learn more.