Richard Hayward

Richard Hayward Deceased

Guidebook Information
Coast to Coast Walk



British Footpath Handbook
Independent Walking Tours of Britain



A complete DIY manual assuring your trip will be a gentle walk, unencumbered by an overloaded backpack. With your wee pack of everything you need you're off exploring from village to village along waymarked paths. Learn how to do-it-yourself with an 8 to 10-lb pack and $35-$45 a day. Save on airfare, trains, B&B, food, postage, photography, and more. Distills knowledge gleaned from twenty years of slow rambling and fast thinking. #BF848201 100 pp.



$12 postpaid

Guidebook Excerpt:

Chapter 1: WHY ENGLAND?

Why go halfway around the world to take a walk?   The short answer is that walking is a national pastime in England, and a good way to meet the English people.  In England everyone walks. You will meet 85-year-olds and five-year-olds, scientists and sportsmen, teachers and builders and lovers.   Class distinctions disappear on the footpath. And when you meet these people, they will not see you as a tourist, but as a fellow traveler who shares their love for the countryside.

The long answer consists of two personal biases and two facts:  Beauty, History, People and Access.


The first bias is that Britain has the most beautiful countryside in the world. Rural England possesses a quality of green which, if you are susceptible, will move you deeply. Vast woodlands that once covered all of Britain have been greatly reduced over the years, revealing the curves and contours of a landscape of sensuous beauty. Also there is a human scale to the hills and valleys and rivers that makes the beauty accessible. It is not intimidating, but inviting.


The first fact is the layers of history that exist in Britain. An incredible density of the stuff surrounds you in any ordinary field or village. You can follow a Roman road, stumble upon a Celtic burial mound, walk past a Napoleonic Martello Tower, pick blackberries from a Saxon hedgerow, or quaff a pint from a 13th-century pub – all in a morning’s walk to the next village.  Also, England’s history is not confined to museums and glass cases. It is living history, and you participate in it. Disused churches have become craft centers, theaters or government offices. Former Victorian railway lines are made into public rights-of-way. And walking through the countryside provides a direct connection with the earth and a powerful sense of the layers of history beneath your feet.


The second bias is the English people. Beneath their Old-World reserve I have found a humanness, an openness, a deep sense of security that enables them to laugh at themselves. A thousand years with no successful invasion has developed a sturdy sense of national and personal identity among the British.  This strong sense of identity permits them, at their best, to respond to people as being more important than regulations. The general attitude seems to be: "For every human problem, there is a human solution." The rulebook need be consulted only if common sense, imagination, and good humor do not produce a way out of, or around, the problem at hand.

In a world plagued by bureaucracy on one hand and Big Brother on the other, such an attitude is refreshing. If England is a corner of relative sanity in a mad world, it has something to do with this strong sense of identity, sense of humor, and belief that people are more important than rules. 


A final point (and second fact) is that Britain has the most accessible countryside in the world. Let’s count the ways:

1) Friendly Climate – Polite rain, low humidity, and no mosquitoes. It is possible to die of exposure in England, but you have to work at it.

2) Friendly Language – Cookies are "bikkies" and band-aids are "plasters," but the language is still recognizably our own. Most of the time we at least think we understand the British and (even more risky) that they understand us! But it is all great fun, and for the most part the differences are interesting rather than intimidating.

3) Footpath Network – Over 120,000 miles of public rights of way exist in England and Wales alone! You could walk ten miles a day for the rest of your life, and not begin to exhaust the possibilities. Only Norway and Austria have similar laws governing access to their countryside.

4) Public Transport – Still good despite recent cutbacks. You can get most places by bus or train, which makes the countryside accessible without a car.

5) Frequent Villages – Villages are often only 5 to 10 miles apart, and even closer in parts of Southern England. This makes it easy to end your day’s walk in a place with food and shelter.

6) Bed and Breakfast – Most towns and villages have B&B, you do not normally have to book ahead, and they are affordable. B&B’s thus make walking in England accessible in three ways: choice, convenience, and cost.

7) Pubs – Most towns and villages have at least one pub. Not only places of good cheer, companionship, and local knowledge, English pubs also serve homecooked meals at reasonable prices and sometimes provide accommodation.

8) Lightweight Packs – Thanks to pubs and B&B’s, you don’t have to carry a sleeping bag, tent, stove or food. This means your pack can weigh as little as 8 to 10 pounds.

9) Shoes vs Boots – Because your pack is so light, footwear becomes a question of personal taste and comfort, rather than safety or survival. With rare exceptions, ordinary shoes work fine. Some walkers even prefer "trainers" or running shoes, which are lightweight and dry quickly after rain.

10) Youth Hostels – Britain has excellent youth hostels. These are convenient meccas for meeting fellow walkers, and cost even less than B&B’s. 

11) Public Toilets – "Public conveniences" are readily available in towns, villages and pubs. For those with WTB’s (wee tiny bladders), the countryside provides a secludus hydrofolium (private waterbush) every few hundred yards.

12) Ordnance Survey Maps – England is the best mapped country in the world. Landrangers (the "pink maps") cover the entire country at a scale of 1 1/4 inch per mile. They show footpaths, are impressively accurate, and are now available at chemists and grocery shops, as well as news-agents and bookshops.  See Chapter 3, below.

13) Walking Guidebooks – These have proliferated in recent years. Their quality can vary widely, but the point is they do exist! The best provide historical and literary background plus notes about geology and wildlife, as well as routefinding directions and sketch maps. Some also provide lists of B&B’s and favorite pubs. See Chapter 3, "Maps & Guidebooks."

14) Human Scale – An important key to the easy access of the English countryside is its human scale. Vistas are four miles away, not forty, and you can walk there (and back again) in the same afternoon.   Distances in England are about half those in Europe. And the only comparable landscapes in the New World are found in New England, and perhaps selected areas of upper New York State. 

In summary then – villages are close together, public transport is generally available, most towns and villages have Bed & Breakfast and pubs, guidebooks exist, maps are excellent, the climate is friendly, and the language is recognizably our own. Your pack can weigh as little as 8 to 10 pounds, and you need only comfortable shoes (not boots). A walking trip is also the least expensive way to visit Britain. Walking is a national pastime in England, because it is an accessible pastime.  

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