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All aboard a new walking trail across Wales

All aboard a new walking trail across Wales The 122-mile Heart of Wales Line Trail traces a much-loved railway through magnificent countryside, taking in a forgotten wonder of the industrial age On the station platform at Craven Arms, a helpful elderly lady asks where I’m going. “I’m looking for the Heart of Wales?” Continue reading… Go to Source Author: Kevin Rushby Tweet

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Scilly season: why spring is the best time to visit

Scilly season: why spring is the best time to visit Spring arrives early on Scilly and the charm of tiny, sleepy St Martin’s is that there is little-else to do but enjoy its flower-filled moors and coves Golden Mary, Scilly White, Sunrise, Golden Spur, Emperor, Empress, Cheerfulness, Magnificence, Soleil d’Or. There is poetry in the names of daffodil and narcissi varieties sprouting from all corners of St Martin’s. This tiny island, barely two miles long and mostly less than half a mile wide, is filled with flowers in spring. The strong scent of narcissi wafts over the lanes, and the hedgerows and fields burst with dainty pink lilies, enormous tree lupins, purple agapanthus and creamy three-cornered leek. Even the…

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Six of the best wild trail runs in the UK

Six of the best wild trail runs in the UK ‘Going for a run’ is exhilarating when forests and mountains are the backdrop. Two trail runners pick six stunning routes for beginners from their new book There’s no doubt that running as a pastime is booming; big city marathons report record numbers of entries – London received over 250,000 applications for its 40,000 places in 2018 – and Parkrun interest has soared, from 13 runners in 2004 to over three million globally today. But the focus has always been parks and pavements, with off-road running dominated by cross-country and fell races. Now, more of us are venturing into fields, forests, moors and mountains in search of a wilder kind…

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20 of the best activity holidays in the UK and Europe

20 of the best activity holidays in the UK and Europe Lying by the pool not your thing? We’ve got everything from horse riding to multi-activity beach breaks to get your endorphins going Inntravel has a new three-centre, self-guided walking holiday to Senja, an island sometimes called Norway in miniature, north of the Lofotens. The trip starts with two nights on the smaller island of Sommarøy in the “Arctic Caribbean”, so-called because of its white beaches and azure sea. The next stop is the fishing village of Mefjordvær, for coastal walks and an ascent of Segla, the island’s sail-shaped peak. The final three nights are based in a waterside wooden cabin at Hamn i Senja, on a spit of…

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Eastern Eden: a utopian community in Essex

Eastern Eden: a utopian community in Essex Essex was once a hotbed for alternative communities. Working holidays now offer peace and purpose in one of the few surviving examples At first glance the village of Purleigh, on the Dengie peninsula in Essex, does not look like an obvious place for radicals. A crow is gently muttering to itself in the horse chestnut tree when I arrive and a man is opening the cricket pavilion. Generations of people, however, were drawn to these flatlands east of London in the late 19th and 20th centuries to create their own vision of Utopia in a succession of pioneering communities. Continue reading… Go to Source Author: Carol Donaldson Tweet

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Mountain rescue: Why bothies need a helping hand – a photo essay

Mountain rescue: Why bothies need a helping hand – a photo essay Bothies, free to use by anyone out in remote parts of the UK, are more popular than ever. But they’re maintained by veteran volunteers and need younger blood if they are to survive for future generations The Mountain Bothies Association (MBA) is a charity made up of volunteers who maintain more than 100 remote shelters across England, Wales and Scotland. It was founded in 1965 by Bernard Heath after he spotted a remark in the visitor book at the Backhill of the Bush bothy in Galloway Forest park, suggesting the setting up of a club to save a growing number of deserted farm buildings from ruin. Continue…

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10 of the best meditation retreats in the UK and Europe

10 of the best meditation retreats in the UK and Europe We pick mindfulness and meditation holidays in beautiful surroundings – many combined with other activities like walking, singing and tai chiMore retreat top 10s: yoga | creative | by readers In the Dart valley near Totnes, the Sharpham Trust meditation centre offers mindfulness retreats of different lengths throughout the year, including walking and singing breaks. Some are held in the estate’s mansion, others in the Barn Retreat nearby. For full immersion in the natural world, its Nature Connection retreat has accommodation in bell tents in the woods, with guided meditation and mindfulness activities, foraging and feasting on wild food.• Three-night meditation retreats from £145 full-board. Three-night Nature Connection…

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Away with words: an Arvon fiction-writing retreat in Devon

Away with words: an Arvon fiction-writing retreat in Devon Expert tuition, camaraderie and walks in the rain – plus a healthy lack of wifi and mobile coverage – leave our writer buzzing with creativity and short story ideas Despite the glowering weather, the 1½-mile walk from my creative writing retreat at the 16th-century manor house of Totleigh Barton is invigorating. The remote west Devon landscape is heavy with winter; it’s stark and elemental but also evocative and, most importantly, thought-provoking. Being in the wilds gives me the time and space to work out what needs to change in my short story, and how. Continue reading… Go to Source Author: Robert Hull Tweet

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10 of the best creative retreats in the UK and Europe

10 of the best creative retreats in the UK and Europe Want to sit quietly with your paints or handicrafts, burst into song, or use kung fu or dance to get moving? We pick holidays for nourishing your inner maker Tao’s, a meditation centre on a hill overlooking the sea on the island of Paros, hosts a dance retreat each September. The style of dance is “open floor movement”, which is said to boost creativity and help people “refresh, recuperate, recharge and rejoice”. It is suitable for anyone who wants to move, regardless of age or experience. The schedule includes three hours of dancing before lunch and two hours after, optional morning meditation and time to explore the island…

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20 great UK cottages with pools

20 great UK cottages with pools Holiday homes with swimming pools sell out fast in peak periods, so get in early this year at some of the best around the country Sitting on the edge of Newtown national nature reserve, Shalfleet Manor Estate is in a top spot for birdwatching, canoeing and walks around the Newtown estuary. The 17th-century Grade-II listed manor and separate outbuilding conversions have been recently renovated, and share the heated outdoor pool (May-September), tennis courts and gardens. The heritage colour palette keeps spaces light, while a large restored oak fireplace in the main house adds a touch of drama. A mooring on the nearby river is also available to guests. No more than a 35-minute…

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