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Ramblings Podcast

English, Travel/Tourism, 1 seasons, 253 episodes, 4 days 7 hours 10 minutes
Clare Balding joins notable and interesting people for a walk through the countryside
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Hope Valley with Anita Sethi

In 2019 Anita Sethi was on a trans Pennine train journey when she was racially abused by a man who later pleaded guilty to the offence. During the attack he told her to go back to where she belonged. Having been born and raised in Manchester Anita feels very strongly that the North of England is where she belongs and as a way of working through the shock and trauma of the incident she began a journey through the Pennines on foot beginning at the uplifting and positively named Hope in the Peak District. Clare joins her for a hike in the steep countryside to Edale taking in Mam Tor and Kinder Scout. Producer: Maggie Ayre
26/10/202324 minutes 14 seconds
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Boxing on the beach at Ainsdale

Rose Mac moved to the North West from London a year ago and is constantly delighted by the nature and walking possibilities of her new home. Ainsdale Nature Reserve houses a rare species of sand lizard as well as natterjack toads. A walk through the pine woodland close to the town's railway station brings you out into beautiful sand dunes and a massive expanse of beach with views of Blackpool Tower to the North and on a clear day the Isle of Man to the west. Rose enthusiastically shows Clare her new home territory and gives her an impromptu boxing lesson on Ainsdale Beach. She says people are becoming increasingly drawn to exercising on UK beaches. Tai chi and yoga work particularly well outdoors and Rose says there's something magical about watching the sunset whilst exercising. The long walk along the beach is a workout in itself because of the sand underfoot. Producer: Maggie Ayre
19/10/202324 minutes 19 seconds
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Oldbury on Severn and Inside Planet Earth

Clare walks with Mike Gunton, the man in charge of Planet Earth III, another blockbuster series from the BBC’s Natural History Unit. Mike’s a passionate walker and he takes Clare on a favourite local route around Oldbury on Severn where he courted his wife, and once filmed a sequence in a graveyard about the grim sounding ‘burying beetle’. He also shares stories of his many years working with Sir David Attenborough, and what it’s like making some of the most beautiful and memorable TV shows of recent years. Oldbury on Severn is, as it sounds, near the banks of the longest river in the UK which runs 220 miles from its source in the Cambrian Mountains in mid-Wales to where it meets the sea at the Bristol channel. They meet at St. Arilda's Church and head off on a circular walk of around five miles ending back in the village, at the local pub. Map: OS Explorer 167 Thornbury, Dursley and Yate Presenter: Clare Balding Producer: Karen Gregor
12/10/202324 minutes 57 seconds
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Out of Portpatrick on the Rhins of Galloway

On a beautiful late summer's day Clare and guests explore a coastal walk on a remote peninsula in southern Scotland - the Rhins of Galloway. Walking with her are Peter Ross, who runs a walking for health group, and Margaret Hughes who is one of the members. They start their hike in Portpatrick and head along the coast for a few miles before dropping down into Sandeel Bay and returning to Portpatrick on an inland path through woodland. Margaret is registered blind due to an acquired brain injury, and has had a tough time recovering. Walking is a huge part of her life, and Peter’s group plays a significant part in this especially as Margaret needs a sighted guide to help her along the way. This is the second of two walks on the Rhins of Galloway: last week's episode was with two friends who are taking what could be the longest, slowest route between Land's End and John O'Groats. Presenter: Clare Balding Producer: Karen Gregor
05/10/202324 minutes 20 seconds
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Into Portpatrick on the Rhins of Galloway

Clare joins two friends on what could possibly be the slowest walk between Land's End and John O'Groats. Hiking one week at a time (with a gap of several years when the Welsh coastline wasn't fully navigable) it's taken Iain McHenry and David Rowe 18 years to reach the coast of Dumfries and Galloway. That's where Clare joins them, on a beautifully sunny day, as they approach the village of Portpatrick on the remote Rhins of Galloway. This is the first of two episodes recorded in the area: next week Margaret Hughes and Peter Ross take Clare on a section of the Southern Upland Way, starting in Portpatrick and heading north. Producer: Karen Gregor Presenter: Clare Balding
28/09/202324 minutes 12 seconds
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Sandstone Trail

Sunshine and summer downpours on a hilly Cheshire hike with great views. On the way Clare hears from two friends about how walking has helped them cope with life changing events. Linda Ashworth only discovered walking after her children left home but it became a stress-relieving necessity when her husband suffered a serious accident. Her love of putting one foot in front of the other grew to such an extent that she went onto gain hill and moorland leadership qualifications and set up a business leading walks for ‘ladies of my age’. Tracey was diagnosed, age 40, with acute myeloid leukaemia. The treatment, she says, 'turned my bones to sugar' and she broke her back in five places. This left her unable to walk properly for years, relying on a mobility scooter to get her into the countryside. However, as she slowly recovered, she discovered rambling was a good way to rebuild strength, balance and coordination. To mark her 50th year she went with a group of supportive friends and fa
21/09/202324 minutes 9 seconds
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WalKington, Herefordshire

Ali Allen takes Clare for a sunny hike just outside Kington, a town she would like to be renamed 'WalKington' because it's such a magnet for ramblers. Ali runs a tiny walking shop where her dog, Roo, keeps a look out from the window display full of boots and socks and maps. She lived in Utah for thirty years, working as a nurse, but returned six years ago with no firm plan. Somehow she landed in the tiny town of Kington in Herefordshire where she opened her shop which now has a B&B above it, mostly serving ramblers trekking along Offa's Dyke. On today's walk she leads Clare up Bradnor Hill - crossing the highest 18 hole golf course in England - and onto a stretch of Offa's Dyke. On the way she shares her story of life and love in Utah, making a home back in the UK, and coping with rheumatoid arthritis which, despite the problems it causes, doesn't stop her outdoor adventures. The starting grid reference is SO297566
29/06/202324 minutes 12 seconds
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Training for Kilimanjaro in Cheshire

Clare joins a group of friends as they climb Shutlingsloe as part of their preparation for the much bigger adventure of trekking up Kilimanjaro later this year. Known as the 'Matterhorn of the Peak District' Shutlingsloe is around 500 metres high, where Kilimanjaro is closer to 6000 metres, but it's not a bad training ground with its steep incline as well as the reward of beautiful views from the top. Leading the group is former Royal Engineer, Sean Milner, who has arranged the Kilimanjaro trek for his adventurer father, Frank Milner, who plans to reach the summit on his 82nd birthday. Although unable to join the Ramblings hike, also going up Kilimanjaro will be two of Frank's grandsons, making it a three generation event. The starting grid reference for today's walk is SJ 952 715 which is just by the Leather's Smithy pub in Langley, about 15 mins drive from Macclesfield. Producer: Karen Gregor
22/06/202324 minutes 19 seconds
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Tree to Tree Trekking

Martin Hügi is taking an unconventional approach to his long distance hike from Land's End to John O’Groats. He’s planned the route so he can visit as many ancient and veteran trees as possible. It’s a busman’s holiday as his day job is with the Woodland Trust and it's their Ancient Tree Inventory, created in collaboration with the Ancient Tree Forum and the Tree Register, that he’s using to guide him. He’s taken a four month sabbatical from work and Clare is joining him in the early stages of his trek near Marlborough in Wiltshire. Producer: Karen Gregor
15/06/202324 minutes 14 seconds
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Riverside Rambling near Reading

Two friends, Karen and Emma, who say they met when both were post-covid slumped on the sofa and doing no exercise, take Clare for a walk along the Thames Path near Reading in Berkshire. Their friendship is based on walking and they’re notching up the miles, including the Grand Union Canal (188 miles), the Ridgeway (72 miles) and 150 miles of the Portuguese Camino. Karen says that “Emma has gone from a neighbour I sort of knew to my very best friend. We have laughed so hard together we could barely stand; we have howled with pain together; we have picked each other up when the other could barely go on; we have gotten so grumpy with each other that we could barely speak to each other but always found a way back to friendship”. Clare hears their inspirational story of building a supportive and healing friendship as they ramble riverside one morning in late Spring. They start at the end of the Kennet and Avon canal and walk for around 9 miles to Henley on Thames. This is a section
08/06/202324 minutes 7 seconds
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Brotherly Love in Burton Bradstock

Clare joins brothers Manni and Reuben Coe as they amble for a mile and a half to Hive beach at Burton Bradstock in Dorset. Reuben has Down’s Syndrome and enjoys short, slow walks something that Manni, a professional walking guide more used to long hikes at an active pace, has learned to enjoy. Manni lives between Spain and Dorset and, during Covid, was in Spain while Reuben was in a care home in the UK. This took its toll on Reuben who became isolated and lonely. It all came to a head when, one day, Manni received a text from Reuben saying simply “brother do you love me”. Manni knew this was a cry for help, and as soon as he could returned to the UK to visit Reuben who had become very depressed, insular and had stopped talking. As Manni puts it he “broke Reuben out of his care home” and went to live with him in the cottage where today’s walk starts. There he gradually saw Reuben’s mental health improve, and says that love, nature and walking was key to this. Producer: Karen
01/06/202324 minutes 20 seconds
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Ashdown Forest

The group Clare walks with see Ashdown Forest as a national treasure in its own right – and largely an unsung one. They think it’s remarkable that this ten square miles of open access land has survived, only thirty miles south of London. Estate agents in the past even described it as ‘Scotland in Sussex’. A local resident and podcaster Eka Morgan is keen to reconnect visitors from far and wide back to the natural world of Ashdown Forest. Many of the 1.5 million annual visitors don’t understand that it’s actually not a forest at all, but a heath – one of the rarest habitats in the world, rarer than tropical rainforest. So, she is using audio to tell stories of the Forest with a podcast. Joining Eka on the walk are Tom Forward a wildlife guide and bird mimic, James Adler, who was born on a heathland nature reserve and heads the Conservators of Ashdown Forest. He is at the forefront of developing the centenary celebrations of Winnie-the-Pooh in 2026; and Kari Dunbar, whose new job focuse
25/05/202324 minutes 11 seconds
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The Thames Path in Oxfordshire with Freddie

When Freddie was adopted by Tina and Cas he was not in a good way. The first three years of his life left him with anxiety, trauma and PTSD. Tina and Cas discovered that walking is a great way of relieving some of the symptoms and in the six years he has been with them they have already completed several long distance routes including the West Highland Way - twice! They are currently walking the Thames Path - 185 miles of the river from sea to source in preparation for walking the Portuguese Camino this Summer. Clare joins the family on a stretch of the Thames Path in Oxfordshire. Meeting at Wallingford just over the border from Berkshire they follow the path to Dorchester-on-Thames as Freddie talks about his knowledge of trees and plants and introduces her to his amazing assistance dog Garlic. Producer: Maggie Ayre
18/05/202324 minutes 21 seconds
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Great Alne, Warwickshire

Retirement villages, recently made very famous by the Thursday Murder Club series of books, are becoming a popular choice for older people who want to, and can afford to, live within a supportive community environment but still retain their independence. For this episode of Ramblings, Clare is walking with Stephen Walsh and his partner, Pat, who live at Great Alne Park retirement village not far from Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire. Along with the village’s visiting fitness instructor, Tania Skerritt, they lead Clare around a four mile route directly from the centre of the village into the local countryside. Presenter: Clare Balding Producer: Karen Gregor
30/03/202324 minutes 15 seconds
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Hiking with Hounds

Walking your dog in the countryside can be tricky: What if you need to cross a field of cattle or horses? Should you let your dog off the lead or keep it on? Is it best to poo-pick or ‘stick and flick’ in a remote area? Steve Jenkinson has a unique job, having studied the psychology of people and their pets he now works with a range of organisations helping them develop a harmonious relationship with dog walkers who use their land. He lives on Orkney where Clare met him and his dog, Teal, for a coastal walk which passes by the Broch of Gurness. This Iron Age settlement is around 2000 years old and is on the north eastern edge of Orkney’s west Mainland. The St. Magnus Way, a 58 mile long-distance walking route passes by. This is the third of three consecutive walks that Clare recorded on Orkney where she explored its landscape, rich history and archaeology. Presenter: Clare Balding Producer, for BBC Audio in Bristol: Karen Gregor
23/03/202324 minutes 4 seconds
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To the Ring of Brodgar

On a windy hike from the Stones of Stenness to the Ring of Brodgar, Clare discovers Orkney's standing stones are as impressive and mysterious as Stonehenge. Her guide is Sandra Miller from Historic Environment Scotland. Their route takes them past the Watchstone and across the Brodgar Peninsula which has a fresh water loch on one side, and a salty one on the other. Sandra, born and brought up on Orkney, shares her love of the landscape and its history on a dramatic wintery day of high winds and hail storms. This is the second of three consecutive Orkney walks within this series of Ramblings, next week Clare is off to the Broch of Gurness. Presenter: Clare Balding Producer, for BBC Audio in Bristol: Karen Gregor
16/03/202324 minutes 4 seconds
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High Winds & Hail on Orkney

Clare explores the wild and stormy west coast of mainland Orkney in the company of beachcomber, conservationist and former Polar-guide, Martin Gray. Their plan to walk along the cliffs between Yesnaby and Marwick Bay were stymied by consistently high winds of around 60mph. Instead they watched the churning ocean at Yesnaby, drove to the Bay of Skaill for a walk along the rocky beach, then headed up to Birsay for a very slightly more sheltered walk to the Earl's Palace. This is the first of three consecutive Orkney walks. Next week Clare is with Sandra Miller of Historic Environment Scotland walking from the Stones of Stenness to the Ring of Brodgar. Presenter: Clare Balding Producer, for BBC Audio in Bristol: Karen Gregor
12/03/202324 minutes 5 seconds
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Four Waterfalls Walk, South Wales

Sam and Roger met through a walking group on social media. Both were already keen walkers and Sam posted on the Walking In Wales page looking for a walking companion for a walk she wanted to do. Roger offered to go with her... and the rest is history. Reader, they got engaged. They take Clare on one of their favourite walks in Waterfall Country in the Brecon Beacons in South Wales on a beautiful frosty sunny February day. Producer: Maggie Ayre
08/03/202324 minutes 20 seconds
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An Art Walk in the Forest of Dean

Sara Rickard takes groups of local people on a walk through the forest to write, draw and take photographs and simply observe their surroundings. Canopy Arts was set up during Covid when the artists who live in the forest found themselves especially isolated and now runs monthly or fortnightly walks for both seasoned artists and walkers who want to be creatively inspired by the magical atmosphere of this part of the world. Sharon who moved there a year ago is fascinated by what she calls the edgeland that this area is. Sandwiched between the River Severn and the River Wye, the Forest of Dean is actually in Gloucestershire but sometimes feels as though it should be in Wales. It has a long history of free mining and Foresters are traditionally independent in spirit. Clare taps into her own artistic side and joins the group painting with feathers, writing about the landscape and rubbing gravestones. Producer: Maggie Ayre
02/03/202324 minutes 33 seconds
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Villagers' Walks around Timsbury

Clare joins three walkers from the village of Timsbury in Somerset who have created several books detailing100 walks for local people to enjoy in the area. Peter Bradshaw, Larry Cunningham and Sue Fraser stress the books are very much a community project with any proceeds going back into the village. On an extremely wet and windy winter day they take Clare from the village centre around the valley to explore the area's little known coal mining history. All the former mines are obviously closed and the slag heaps are now covered over rich green hillocks which make for safe and easy walking. Producer: Maggie Ayre
17/02/202324 minutes 35 seconds
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The Icknield Way

David Falk is Green Access Manager on the Public Rights of Way Team for Suffolk County Council. He works hard to encourage people to enjoy walking in the beautiful Suffolk countryside. Along with fellow walker former local radio presenter Leslie Dolphin he takes Clare on a walk along part of the Icknield Way starting at Stow Country Park just north of Bury St Edmunds. . It is claimed to be the oldest road in Britain (5,000 years old!). This section goes through a large pine forest and open heathlands and is lovely walking terrain. Producer Maggie Ayre
09/02/202324 minutes 21 seconds
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The Hills are Alive! Commoners Choir in Calderdale

Boff Whalley is best known for Tubthumping with the band Chumbawamba but now he’s a core member of the Leeds based Commoners Choir which he founded. They sing about the world around them, about inequality and injustice, and they also love to walk. Cath Long, a fellow member, wrote to Ramblings to ask Clare to join them on a hike in the South Pennines near Todmorden in Calderdale, West Yorkshire. So, on a chilly, wet and blustery Saturday in early January, they met by the Shepherd’s Rest pub and headed into the hills to ramble and sing. Boff created a choir manifesto, and one aim was to 'rehearse until we're brilliant' and they really are. Their Skelmanthorpe Flag Song, which they performed at the historic Basin Stone, was heard by fellow walkers at least two miles down in the valley. On a circular hike, which began and ended at the pub, they stopped off at Gaddings Dam, often described as the highest beach in the UK, where some choir members took the plunge and sang out from the
02/02/202325 minutes 4 seconds
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The Trundle Sussex with Harriet Thomas

The final listener's walk of the series is with Harriet Thomas who wrote to the programme to invite Clare to share her regular walk to The Trundle near Goodwood Racecourse in West Sussex. When lockdown struck and Harriet decamped from London to be near her elderly father she began walking regularly. Sadly her father passed away in Spring 2020 and Harriet kept up the walking as a way of processing her grief. She never returned to London and now immerses herself in the Sussex landscape on her daily rambles. They meet and start out from near the village of West Dean and do a 6 mile circular walk that takes them up to The Trundle an ancient hillfort that provides a spectacular view down into Chichester and beyond to Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight. Producer: Maggie Ayre
06/10/202225 minutes 19 seconds
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Halifax Hikers

Clare goes to Halifax to walk with a group of Muslim men who came together to support each other to become mentally and physically fitter through walking in the countryside around Halifax. One of the things the group enjoys about their town is the ability to be out into beautiful countryside within ten minutes - albeit up some very steep hills! The group's leader is Zaheer Khalil. He is passionate about the benefits of fresh air and walking. He also believes walking is a way of connecting with other people outside of their immediate community. They are a group of professional men who started to find their lives becoming stressful, unhealthy and at times overwhelming. The walks have helped them come together to keep fit and also share problems. They are all passionate about their town and keen to give back to the community in many different ways. They are proud of Halifax's industrial heritage, the contributions made by their elders and their own place in its history. Their walk begin
29/09/202224 minutes 20 seconds
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Epsom Downs & Langley Vale Wood

Listener Jo Forrest got in touch inviting Clare to walk with her and a group of fellow walkers with T1 Diabetes who discovered the beautiful lush landscapes around Epsom Downs Racecourse during their lockdown walks. Jo, Chiara, Nicole and Denise are keen to share awareness of Type 1 Diabetes and how they manage it in their every day lives. Their walk takes them beyond the racecourse to Langley Vale Wood scene of Lord Kitchener's inspection of the troops in 1915. Wooden sculptures of the soldiers haunt the landscape and even on a Summer's day the stillness and solemness make for a poignant reminder of the Fallen. Producer: Maggie Ayre
22/09/202224 minutes 26 seconds
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Nightjar Impressions near the Hampshire Hangers

A sunny hike, with added party tricks, in the pretty countryside around East Worldham. Led ably by members of Walk Alton, Clare discovers the beauty of this part of east Hampshire. Every episode in this series has been suggested by a Ramblings listener. Helen Dudley and Ian Fleming from Walk Alton wrote to the programme and invited Clare to discover more about this very active organisation and the national scheme to which it belongs, Walkers Are Welcome. For its small size, a population of around twenty thousand, Alton has a disproportionately large number of walking groups and two walking festivals, all run by committed volunteers. Today’s route is around 7 miles long and starts in the village of East Worldham, two miles east of Alton. They follow the map south, along part of the Hangers Way (hangers are very steep, wooded slopes) to Binswood, an ancient area of woodland managed by the Woodland Trust. Next they head to Shortheath Common, an important area of heathland, before
15/09/202224 minutes 6 seconds
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Dovedale with Caravan

Clare walks with a listener known as Caravan, who spent six years living homeless in the Peak District, an area he knows well thanks to his love of outdoor pursuits. This series of Ramblings is being led by its listeners, people who have written to the programme with a story and a walk that they want to share. Caravan (not his real name) emailed to tell us about his experience of prolonged homelessness over thirty years ago. Central to his survival was the Peak District where he found both physical shelter, by way of railway stations, and also a feeling of sanctuary and anonymity during the most difficult years of his life. They recorded this walk just after the intense July heatwave which meant their planned Kinder Scout hike was inaccessible, closed due to the risk of wildfires. Instead they met in the village of Hartington and followed a route through Dovedale. Presenter: Clare Balding Produced for BBC Audio in Bristol by Karen Gregor
08/09/202224 minutes 20 seconds
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A Stunning Hike around Malham Cove

Our listeners are taking over Ramblings and guiding Clare on every walk of this new series. Today’s adventure is led by three women who all qualified as mountain leaders in their 50s. Linda Moran, Angie Jaleel and Bev England explain why they wanted to take their love of the outdoors to a professional level by gaining qualifications later in life. Linda wrote to Ramblings and asked Clare to join them on one of their adventures, so - on a July afternoon, not long after the intense heatwave - they set off on a challenging six-mile hike around Malham in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Starting at Malham Car Park, they walked towards the dramatic, natural amphitheatre that is Malham Cove before ascending the steps that rise alongside it. After a steep climb they arrived at the top and - as they were making their way across the gappy, wobbly limestone pavement - watched a natural drama unfold as crows failed to guard their nest against a persistent and hungry peregrine falcon. F
01/09/202224 minutes 50 seconds
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Tresco with Mike Nelhams

Mike Nelhams has recently retired as Head Gardener of the beautiful gardens on Tresco but remains very active and involved in island life. He meets Clare off the boat from St Marys and takes her on a tour of the island explaining the appeal of life on one of the most beautiful islands in Britain. They walk through the gardens observing the red squirrels which were introduced ten years ago on the request of Prince Charles who owns the island leasing it to the Dorrien-Smith family. They are responsible for the upkeep of the gardens as well as managing life on the island where there's a thriving tourist industry that sees visitors returning year after year. Tresco has its own micro-climate and is on the Gulf Stream that makes ideal growing conditions for exotic plants from South Africa and New Zealand. Producer: Maggie Ayre
10/06/202224 minutes 19 seconds
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St Mary on the Isles of Scilly with Will Wagstaff and Lucy McRobert

Starting her walk overlooking the harbour outside the Star Castle Hotel once a Civil War fortress Clare hikes around the largest of the Isles of Scilly in the company of Will Wagstaff and Lucy McRobert. Will came to the island in 1985 and began giving walking tours which he has done ever since pointing out the variety of flora and fauna encouraged by the mild climate. Lucy McRobert came to St Marys three years ago with her keen birdwatching husband and infant daughter. Lucy is now just as keen a birder and like every islander has different roles including taking care of stranded seal pups each winter. As they take in the diverse landscapes of this small island they discuss the appeal of life there. Producer: Maggie Ayre
10/06/202224 minutes 22 seconds
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Happy Valley

Today’s walk starts at Happy Valley in the Mourne Mountains about thirty minutes inland from the coast of County Down. Clare is walking with Kelly Hargie who, for very personal reasons, launched Wild Women Events as a way of encouraging female walkers to explore the countryside of Northern Ireland. Kelly has long understood that escaping into the wild helped her greatly with postnatal depression and recovery from injury and she wanted to share this discovery with like-minded women. From Happy Valley they head steeply up towards the 7th highest peak in the Mournes, Slieve Meelmore, partly alongside the Shimna River. This is the second of two back-to-back hikes in the Mournes, recorded on the same day. The first walk was broadcast last week and began – in great contrast to today’s route – at Bloody Bridge. Grid Ref for their starting point: SB 379 857 Presenter: Clare Balding Producer for BBC Audio in Bristol: Karen Gregor
26/05/202224 minutes 13 seconds
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Bloody Bridge

In the first of two back-to-back hikes in the Mourne Mountains Clare walks from Bloody Bridge near Newcastle, on the coast of County Down, up into the hills. Led by Alex Rose of the Northern Ireland Young Walkers, they begin at a stone sculpture which – from a certain angle – look like a human face in profile. This is the Smuggler’s Head which helps to tell the story of the ‘Brandy Pad’ a local smuggler’s route. It’s a history-rich Ramblings which continues by following the Bloody Bridge River, so called because bodies thrown into the water, following a massacre during the 1641 rebellion, turned it blood red. Soon they’re climbing steeply up to one of the Mourne summits, Chimney Rock, partly following an old quarry-rail track used to bring granite down to sea-level. The Northern Ireland Young Walkers were formed in 2005 as a way of getting more youthful hikers out and about. It’s such a successful club that people don’t like to leave, so the age range has widened as the members
19/05/202224 minutes 46 seconds
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Mousehole to Lamorna with Jane Johnson and Abdel Bakrim

Having grown up in Cornwall Jane Johnson has a deep love of the landscape of the south west. She and her husband Abdel take Clare on a coastal walk along steep rocky footpaths that offer breathtaking views of the Cornish coastline around the Lizard to Lands End. It's a favourite walk for the couple who often see dolphins, whales and basking sharks along the way. They tell Clare the story of their extraordinary meeting in the foothills of the Anti-Atlas Mountains of Morocco and how a near death experience for Jane while climbing led to a love affair with a Berber restaurant owner who tried to rescue her. Seventeen years on the couple live mainly in Cornwall but try to divide their time between there and Morocco. Jane is a writer and publisher while Abdel is now developing his artwork. Producer: Maggie Ayre
12/05/202224 minutes 18 seconds
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Oliver Jeffers in Outer Space

In the first of a new series, Clare is in Derry-Londonderry to meet the celebrated children’s author and artist, Oliver Jeffers. As part of a free nationwide arts project called Unboxed, he’s created a 10 kilometre sculpture trail, designed as a scale model of the solar system. It starts at Bay Road Park and runs alongside the River Foyle. The trail, ‘Our Place in Space’, is there until 22 May 2022 before moving to Belfast, Cambridge, and the North Down Coastal Path. Oliver says he’s a ‘pretty serious rambler’: he walked everywhere when he lived in New York City, and once led three-day hikes in the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York. Explaining his inspiration for the project, he says: “If we could look back at Earth from the vastness of the solar system, what would we feel? Wouldn’t squabbles look stupid from Saturn? Wouldn’t violence seem senseless from Venus? Forget about ‘Us’ and ‘Them’, from the perspective of Pluto, it’s just US!” Oliver Jeffers collaborated with the
05/04/202224 minutes 10 seconds
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The Saxon Shore Way in Kent

Colleen Thirkell and her husband Richard have been walking stretches of the Saxon Shore Way with their friends Bev and John. In autumn 2020 Colleen fell seriously ill with a rare reaction to a flu jab. She was unable to walk and spent months in hospital. But she has slowly recovered and part of her rehabilitation has been to get out walking with her friends again. They invited Clare to walk one of the final stages of the 168 mile route they have been walking together when time has allowed. The ramble takes them from the village of Hamstreet to Appledore on the edge or Romney Marsh. Along the way they talk about their love of walking together as a group and how Colleen's recovery was aided by the thought of being outdoors with friends and family again. Producer: Maggie Ayre
31/03/202224 minutes 17 seconds
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Old and New Winchelsea with historian Dr Matthew Green

The walk begins on the shingle at Winchelsea Beach - the possible site of the drowned city that was engulfed by waves in the 11th century. Crossing the marshy fields inland Clare and Matthew climb the steep hill to the gate of the rebuilt and fortified town of Winchelsea that was once a thriving wine port. They walk through the town passing open wine cellars as they go. The town was built on a grid system and as with similar towns in France and Italy it became known as a medieval Manhattan. Trade with European ports in France, Italy, Spain and Portugal was vibrant and it was said that in the Middle Ages Winchelsea was close to becoming the wine capital of Europe. Fierce fighting took place between its citizens and bands of marauding pirates from across the Channel to protects its wealth and prosperity. Dr Matthew Green specialises in walking as a way of understanding history and gives wine and gin tours in London. He says he prefers to try and understand how people lived and felt
24/03/202224 minutes 53 seconds
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Around Dulwich Woods with Floella Benjamin

Baroness Floella Benjamin DBE joins Clare for a walk around one of her favourite woodlands in London. Starting in Dulwich College where her mother worked in the laundry and later her son attended, Floella and husband Keith head off into the woods on a rainy March day. Their walk takes them up from the College past the Golf range and into the woods where parakeets dart among the trees shrieking and providing a dash of bright emerald green on a grey day. Along the way Floella talks about her life and all her achievements. She was born in Trinidad and emigrated with her family in the 1960s settling in London. After leaving school she worked in a bank before becoming an actress and then getting her break into children's television in Play School. The education and wellbeing of children is one of her greatest priorities and she is hugely proud of all that she has achieved in this field. The walk takes them along routes she has walked for many years from when her own children were small.
18/03/202224 minutes 42 seconds
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95 Ethels in the Peak District

From the Redmires Reservoirs near Sheffield, Clare walks up to Stanage Edge ('stone edge') a gritstone escarpment in the Peak District. Angela Lawrence and Anna Jorgensen are Clare's guests and are retired fell-runners (an accident with a vacuum cleaner ended Angela's running career) but their passion for the hills of the Peak District, which they have run across many times, remains undimmed. They have simply slowed down a little, and are now committed walkers. They wrote to Ramblings to suggest that Clare hike with them up to Stanage Pole. Along the way, on a beautiful, clear-skied day, they take in stunning views, a sociable lunch in a stone bothy, and tell Clare about another of their passions: Argentine Tango. During the walk they also talk about the "Ethels". In honour of the pioneering environmentalist, Ethel Haythornthwaite, 95 hilltops have been classified by the countryside charity, CPRE, as 'Ethels'. Clare, Angela and Anna delve into Ethel's fascinating life-story as th
10/03/202224 minutes 4 seconds
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After Eunice - Guarlford, Worcestershire

Clare explores a rural route near the Worcestershire village of Guarlford. Storm Eunice has just left, Franklin is underway and the River Severn is up so this is a last-minute change to the planned walk. Originally Clare and her guest, poet Catherine Swire, had planned to hike the first stretch of the Monarch's Way which runs along the banks of the Rivers Teme and Severn in Worcester but flooding has pushed them a little further south. Catherine has recently published her first book of poetry, 'Soil', which takes the theme of historic trauma and explores how it is etched on our landscape. Worcester was the site of the first proper skirmish, and the last battle, of the English Civil War, something featured within Catherine's work. The Monarch's Way is a long distance path which traces the very indirect escape route - from Worcester to Suffolk - of Charles II after his loss at the Battle of Worcester in 1651. Guarlford (not on the Monarch's Way) is about two miles east of Gr
03/03/202224 minutes 15 seconds
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Walking in all weathers with nature writer Melissa Harrison.

Writer Melissa Harrison celebrates the joy of walking in every season of the year and in wet and dry weather. Given that we can count on it raining on many days of the year it's a good thing to learn to love being out in it. Melissa has written a book about rain and discovered that there are hundreds of different words and expressions for weather from around Britain. Clare and Melissa do a circular walk from Gidleigh on Darmoor to Scorhill and Shovel Down. Dartmoor is a place that holds a strong pull for Melissa dating back to childhood. She returns often to walk this wild country where stone circles and rocky tors dot the landscape. Producer: Maggie Ayre
21/02/202224 minutes 29 seconds
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To the World's End, north Wales

Clare hikes through the Eglwyseg Valley in north Wales with two very different characters: Guy Kennaway and Hussein Sharif. The two men became family when Guy’s son married Hussein’s sister. Guy wanted to get to know Hussein better and show him a different side of Britain, so he suggested they go on a long walk. A book followed, ‘Foot Notes’, which describes both the adventure they had attempting to hike forty miles and their developing understanding of each other’s lives and experiences. Clare, Guy and Hussein walked for around three sodden, sleety miles through the Eglwyseg Valley to World's End at Grid Reference SJ229479 Presenter: Clare Balding Producer: Karen Gregor
17/02/202224 minutes 14 seconds
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The Golden Road, Pembrokeshire

Clare explores part of a challenging route in the Preseli Hills taken by hardy cattle drovers who, over generations, would walk herds of two to three hundred animals from Pembrokeshire to livestock markets in London. With her is Nick Gammage who, in the summer of 2021, spent 17 arduous days completing the entire 250 mile trek. They begin their walk at Grid Ref SN075321 and head east along one of the most popular walks in the area, the Golden Road, which stretches for seven miles along the length of the Preselis. Nick spent childhood holidays in Pembrokeshire and remembers hearing stories of the Welsh Black cattle and their drovers. In the rain, steam could be seen rising from the hot animals whose feet were shod to protect them on their journey. Now retired and looking for new adventures, he decided to set himself this challenge which he started with a broken toe, and a tent which he hoped he wouldn’t have to use. Presenter: Clare Balding Producer: Karen Gregor
03/02/202224 minutes 7 seconds
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The Slate Island of Seil

Clare crosses the famous ‘Bridge over the Atlantic’ for a ramble on the island of Seil. Her guide is the writer, educator, and director of the Scottish Centre for Geopoetics, Norrie Bissell. Geopoetics is described as “creatively expressing the earth” and is critical of the western way of thinking which separates humans from the rest of the natural world. Norrie has also published a novel, ‘Barnhill’, about George Orwell’s final years on the relatively nearby Island of Jura where he wrote 1984. Approximately twelve miles south of Oban, Seil is a small island separated from the mainland by the narrowest of sea channels. It became known as one of the ‘slate islands’ thanks to its slate rock deposits which were quarried and used to ‘roof the world’. Norrie and Clare begin their walk on the mainland side of the bridge, at Grid Ref NM 785 196. Please scroll down to the 'related links' box on the Ramblings webpage for more info. Presenter: Clare Balding Producer for BBC Audio in Br
07/10/202124 minutes 6 seconds
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Off the Beaten Track on the Island of Iona

Clare is walking on the beautiful island of Iona in today’s Ramblings. One of the Inner Hebrides, Iona is just three miles long by around a mile wide yet punches well above its weight both in terms of scenery and history. Her companion is David Allaway: a keen photographer, founding member of the island’s craft co-operative and a volunteer fire-fighter he also runs guided walking tours. Beginning and ending at the ferry terminal, they circumnavigate the coast at the north end of the island. See the 'related links' box at the bottom of the Ramblings webpage for more info about David Allaway. Presenter: Clare Balding Produced for BBC Audio in Bristol by Karen Gregor
04/10/202124 minutes 11 seconds
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Slippy Rocks and Otter Spotting on the Island of Mull

Clare takes on a challenging coastal route from Lochbuie to Carsaig on the island of Mull. Her guide is Wendy Lloyd who – like most islanders – has several strings to her bow. As well as working for Christian Aid, farming pigs on her croft, and hosting visitors in a yurt, she is interested in helping people navigate pilgrimage walking routes across Mull and over to Iona. She tells Clare about all of this as they attempt a long and arduous hike across slippy rocks and through shoulder-high bracken but the rewards are immense with spectacular scenery and obliging wildlife. Scroll down to the foot of the Ramblings webpage to the 'related links' box where there is further information available. Presenter: Clare Balding Produced for BBC Audio in Bristol by Karen Gregor
23/09/202125 minutes 8 seconds
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The Turquoise Sea and White Sands of Ardnamurchan

Clare explores a remote and beautiful stretch of coastline between Portuairk and Sanna Bay on the Ardnamurchan Peninsula. Ardnamurchan's far coastline is the most westerly part of the British mainland and has some of Scotland’s most gorgeous beaches. Sanna Bay, in particular, is an expanse of white sand and turquoise seas with views that stretch across to the inner Hebridean islands of Rum, Eigg and Muck. Her guide is Dee Heddon, a Professor of Theatre at the University of Glasgow. She co-created the ‘Walking Library’, a project that brings together walking and reading; and she’s recently launched a new study to explore how creativity and walking have become more connected during the pandemic. Scroll down on the Ramblings webpage to the 'related links' box to find out more about Dee's projects. Presenter: Clare Balding Produced for BBC Audio in Bristol by Karen Gregor
16/09/202124 minutes 18 seconds
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White Stags and Kidney Donation in Fife

Clare is in Fife hiking with John Fletcher who, in 2009, was the first man in Scotland to donate a kidney to a stranger. In another pioneering first, he launched Britain's first commercial deer farm back in 1973. Their route begins on John's farm in Auchtermuchty, surrounded by rare white stags. Walking brings John great joy and he - along with a fellow kidney donor, and a renal nurse – takes Clare on one of his favourite rambles. See the 'related links' section at the bottom of the Ramblings webpage for a list of organisations, including the NHS blood and transplant website. Presenter: Clare Balding Produced for BBC Audio in Bristol by Karen Gregor
09/09/202124 minutes 20 seconds
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A Sunny Stomp on the Pentland Hills

Clare hikes with the inspirational adventurers Hazel and Luke Robertson on the Pentland Hills near Edinburgh. They are mountain leaders, polar explorers and public speakers with many personal experiences to draw upon. Hazel spent four years of her childhood growing up in Canada and Alaska, which developed her love of the outdoors. At the age of 30, Luke became the first Scot to ski solo and unsupported to the South Pole. This was in 2016, just two years after major brain surgery. Both are originally from the North East of Scotland, but now live in Edinburgh from where they run their company 'Everyday Exploring'. They've chosen to take Clare on one of their favourite local walks: Starting at Bonaly (Grid Ref: NT 211 674) they head up White Hill and onto Capelaw hoping, first, for views across the three bridges that span the Firth of Forth and then a broader view taking in more of the Pentlands range. See the 'related links' box on the Ramblings webpage for more information about
02/09/202124 minutes 54 seconds
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Urban Ambling in Cultural Coventry

A fascinating wander through Coventry, the 2021 UK City of Culture. Ian Harrabin is a Trustee of the City of Culture so is the perfect guide to lead Clare Balding along a richly historic urban route. He is also Chair of the 'Historic Coventry Trust' which is running a host of projects designed to preserve, and make more accessible, some of the most interesting and little known parts of the city. The walk began at Nauls Mill Park, Coundon Road, Coventry CV1 4AR. Map: OS Explorer 221 Coventry & Warwick. Grid Ref for Nauls Mill Park - SP 328 796 Producer: Karen Gregor
10/06/202125 minutes 2 seconds
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Mallerstang in Cumbria with Debbie North.

Debbie North uses a motorised wheelchair and is a powerful advocate for making the countryside accessible for all. Debbie had always been a keen walker but, in her 40s, was diagnosed with spinal degeneration. Very quickly she became a wheelchair user yet made the decision that this wasn’t going to stop her accessing the countryside that she loves. Today she takes Clare on one of her favourite rambles in Mallerstang. It starts at The Thrang, south of Outhgill. Although officially at the eastern edge of Cumbria, the walk is in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Their destination is the 'Water Cut' stone sculpture which overlooks some of the area's most beautiful and expansive scenery. Grid Ref for start of walk: NY783004 OS Map: OL19 Howgill Fells and Upper Eden Valley Producer: Karen Gregor
03/06/202124 minutes 21 seconds
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Tales of International Adventure on a Walk in Somerset

Bex Band was not an outdoorsy person, but one day she decided to hike the length of Israel. Whilst there she noticed very few women walking the 1000km National Trail so, on her return, decided to do something about it. She set up Love Her Wild, an organisation that encourages women to become more adventurous. The community now has over 25,000 members. On today’s walk, she takes Clare for a loop around King Alfred’s Tower near the Stourhead Estate, not far from Shepton Mallet in Somerset. As they walk, Bex discusses her forthcoming book; why women need encouragement and support to access the outdoors; and the other adventures she’s completed including kick-scooting the length of the United States. Car Park Grid Ref: ST749354 King Alfred’s Tower Grid Ref: ST746351 OS Map: Explorer 142 Shepton Mallet and Mendip Hills East Producer: Karen Gregor
27/05/202125 minutes 19 seconds
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Screenwriter Kay Mellor at Harewood in Leeds

Kay Mellor is one of our most successful screenwriters. On today's ramble she takes Clare on her favourite route at Harewood House in her home city of Leeds. En route they discuss The Syndicate, Kay's hit drama series on BBC One and the iPlayer, which tells the story of a group of people who have won a huge amount of money on a lottery. Kay also discusses how walking helps her in the writing process, her desire to nurture more new writers, and how she started directing her own work. The walk they do is on land which is free to enter, but there is a charge to enter the main house and grounds of Harewood. They met at Grid Reference: SE 325 431 by large iron gates. Producer: Karen Gregor
20/05/202125 minutes 28 seconds
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Rhiane Fatinikun of Black Girls Hike in the Peak District

Rhiane Fatinikun takes Clare on one of her favourite walks in the Peak District. Starting in Edale they take in Hollins Cross, Lose Hill and Mam Tor. Rhiane set up Black Girls Hike to provide a safe space for black women to explore the countryside. It’s been such a success that there are now three branches: in the North West, the West Midlands and London. As she tells Clare, it’s a way of building confidence and increasing diversity in the outdoors. It's an exhilarating and challenging walk, made more so by the changeable weather they had on the day... from bright sunshine to snow and strong, biting wind. We started at the main car park in Edale, which is near the railway station (station grid ref: SK 123 853) Producer: Karen Gregor
13/05/202124 minutes 18 seconds
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Cressida Cowell in West Sussex

The best-selling author Cressida Cowell takes Clare for a nostalgic walk near Chichester in West Sussex. As well as writing the whoppingly successful ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ series, Cressida created ‘The Wizards of Once’ books which draw upon her childhood memories of roaming across the South Downs. She grew up in London but during school holidays would visit her grandparents where she found the freedom of the Sussex countryside intoxicating. Clare and Cressida walk for roughly six miles on a route known as The Trundle Loop, which begins and ends in the village of Charlton. Grid Ref for start of walk: SU 888 130 Producer: Karen Gregor
06/05/202124 minutes 59 seconds
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Stained Glass in Minsmere with Arabella Marshall

Glass artist, Arabella Marshall, takes Clare for a walk at Minsmere in Suffolk. Their focus is an old chapel ‘bleak and broken’ which provided Arabella with the inspiration for a major work of art: a new stained-glass window fitted into one of the ruin’s old apertures. It’s a striking modern feature in the abandoned building. The idea came to her when out walking which, alongside her artistic practice, is the thing she loves best in life. She says rambling alone provides creative inspiration and a space for problem solving. Producer: Karen Gregor
25/03/202124 minutes 24 seconds
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Walking in Sound: Ellie Williams in North Somerset

Sound Recordist, Ellie Williams, takes Clare for an audio-rich wander at Abbots Pool in North Somerset. Walking, she says, is as essential to her as food and sleep and – whether she’s recording, or not – she’s always super-aware of the richness of the sounds around her. En route she contemplates why her profession is still so male-dominated and how it can be opened up to more women. Grid Ref for Abbots Pool Car Park: ST 537 730 Producer: Karen Gregor
18/03/202124 minutes 20 seconds
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Big Cats! Rick Minter in Gloucestershire

Do big cats roam the British countryside? It’s a long running debate, one that’s never far from the headlines. A few years ago on Ramblings, Clare saw what she described as an “enormous black cat” on a walk near Ross on Wye. Several newspapers followed this up, as did the ‘Big Cat Conversations’ podcast which is hosted by Rick Minter: he set up a camera trap close to Clare’s sighting and made contact with Ramblings. So, for today’s walk, Clare and Rick explore the area around Selsley Common in Gloucestershire and discuss why he’s so sure big cats do exist in rural Britain. Grid Ref for the layby where we parked: SO830027 Producer: Karen Gregor
11/03/202124 minutes 20 seconds
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Reading the Landscape with Mary-Ann Ochota: Pegsdon Hills

How many times have you been out for a walk and spotted intriguing shapes in the landscape? Your instinct tells you that these dips, hollows, lumps, bumps and oddly shaped stones aren’t natural features, but what on (and under) the earth are they? Mary-Ann Ochota is an anthropologist who writes about these curious archaeological forms and how to understand them. In her book, Hidden Histories, she shows how anyone can become a landscape detective, and start to read the history of the countryside from the clues around them. On today’s Ramblings she takes Clare Balding for a walk around the Pegsdon Hills on the Hertfordshire-Bedfordshire border, and through 6000 years of British history. Grid Ref for where we parked: TL133301 Producer: Karen Gregor
04/03/202125 minutes 28 seconds
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From Solicitor to Sculptor: Simon Gudgeon in Dorset

Simon Gudgeon is one of our leading sculptors, but he didn't practice his art until his mid 40s. He'd worked as a solicitor, a photographer, and a landscape gardener before, one day, picking up a lump of clay to see what he could create. It wasn't long before he knew that sculpting was all he wanted to do. His distinctive creations, often inspired by the natural world, are showcased at his own venture, Sculpture by the Lakes in Dorset. Set in 26 acres and featuring over 40 lake and riverside works of art, establishing Sculpture by the Lakes proved a financially risky labour of love. Simon tells his story to Clare Balding on a walk from the historic St. Nicholas Church in Moreton, to his home at the sculpture park in Pallington, Dorset. Grid Ref for St. Nicholas Church: SY805892 Grid Ref for Sculpture by the Lakes: SY786912 Producer: Karen gregor
25/02/202124 minutes 18 seconds
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Oscar winner Gareth Ellis-Unwin on his local riverside route in Berkshire

The Oscar winning producer of The King’s Speech, Gareth Ellis-Unwin, takes Clare on one of his regular rambles from Pangbourne in Berkshire to Goring on Thames in South Oxfordshire. Gareth had an unusual route into film-making and now works with the charity, ScreenSkills, which is trying to make it easier for people of all backgrounds to join the industry. Walking - Gareth says - is vital for the creative process, and he has a lot bubbling under: including a project about the extraordinary Georgian explorer, Lady Hester Stanhope. We started in Pangbourne at Grid Ref: SU636767 and walked along the Thames Path to Goring on Thames. Our final landmark was Goring Lock, Grid Ref: SU596808 Producer: Karen Gregor
18/02/202124 minutes 15 seconds
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Anneka Rice on the Thames Path in London

Anneka Rice is a self-declared obsessive rambler who says she feels out of sorts if she doesn’t walk every day. Today she takes Clare on her favourite route along the banks of the Thames where she discusses how the river ‘tethers’ her, something she needs following a childhood that left her feeling ‘untethered’. Anneka became a household name in the 1980s thanks to the TV series Treasure Hunt, which followed her zipping about in a helicopter and racing against the clock to find clues on behalf of studio-bound contestants. Next came Challenge Anneka where she led groups of volunteers in the creation of community-based projects. At the height of her TV success, she took time out to study at Chelsea College of Art and now spends much of her time painting. Clare and Anneka start the walk at approx Grid Ref: TQ215764, and walk along the Thames Path in the direction of Kew Gardens, then return on the opposite side of the river ending at Dukes Meadows Bandstand, Grid Ref: TQ214767 P
11/02/202124 minutes 12 seconds
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Anita Rani on Hackney and Walthamstow Marshes

Clare Balding walks with Anita Rani on Hackney and Walthamstow Marshes. They also explore Walthamstow Wetlands, an internationally important nature reserve opened to the public in 2017. The Countryfile presenter recalls her outdoorsy upbringing in Yorkshire and how much she values London's green spaces. She also discusses her plans to write a childhood memoir; how appearing on 'Who Do You Think You Are' changed her life; and the intriguing story behind her choice of name for a new puppy. Clare and Anita started their walk in Millfields Park, Grid Ref: TQ353862 Producer: Karen Gregor
15/10/202024 minutes 20 seconds
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Beachcombing on the Isle of Sheppey

Clare goes beachcombing on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent with author Lisa Woollett. Lisa is fascinated by what we throw away and how it reflects our changing lifestyles. Her new book ‘Rag and Bone’ tells the story of her discoveries in beachcombing and mudlarking and how it links to her family history: her great grandfather was a scavenger and her grandfather was a dustman. Clare and Lisa begin their walk (crucially, at low tide) at grid reference TQ954737. Producer: Karen Gregor
08/10/202024 minutes 16 seconds
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Buckinghamshire with Professor David Wilson

David Wilson is a well known criminologist and former prison governor. Clare meets him in the village of Wicken on the Northamptonshire/Buckinghamshire border near to where he lives for a walk to the nearby village of Leckhampstead. This is one of David's regular routes. He has been walking around 50 miles a week since lockdown began in March. He does it to keep his weight down and to help process the horrors he often faces in his work dealing with murderers and serial killers. Clare talks to him about a case in his hometown in Scotland which he has recently written a book about. In it he reexamines the brutal murder of a young woman in 1973. Many people in the town believed the wrong man was tried and convicted. With the help of his sisters, David revisits the case and tracks down the man he believes to be the real killer. Producer: Maggie Ayre The route starts on OS Landranger 152 Grid Ref SP 745394 Wicken to Leckhampstead
01/10/202024 minutes 17 seconds
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Barry Farrimond, who plays Ed Grundy, on Dartmoor

Barry Farrimond, who plays Ed Grundy in The Archers, takes Clare Balding for an adventurous hike across Dartmoor. As they navigate the granite boulders of Wistman's Wood and scramble cross the West Dart River, Barry discusses the challenges of recording The Archers during lockdown, the knot he invented a few years ago (the Farrimond Friction Hitch) and Open Up Music, an organisation he co-founded to ensure that orchestras are accessible to young disabled musicians; this led to the establishment of the National Open Youth Orchestra, the world's first disabled-led national youth ensemble. Barry and Clare began their walk at Two Bridges, in the car park for Wistman's Wood: grid reference SX609750. Producer: Karen Gregor
24/09/202024 minutes 19 seconds
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The Mendips with Professor Alice Roberts

On a hot day, Clare and Alice Roberts walk from the village of Draycott in Somerset up through the Draycott Sleights Nature Reserve with views opening out across the Bristol Channel to Wales and across the Somerset Levels to Glastonbury Tor. Alice says she finds the ancient landscape fascinating and imagines the inhabitants of past centuries who would have lived on the small settlements on the Levels. Producer: Maggie Ayre
17/09/202024 minutes 15 seconds
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Gloucestershire with Dom Joly

Dom Joly, famous for Trigger Happy TV, takes Clare on a walk near to his home in Gloucestershire. Leaving the village of Winchcombe, they walk up Spoonley Hill to see the remains of a Roman Villa. As they walk, Dom talks about his love of walking, discovered later in life after he became a travel writer. Recently he walked the entire length of Lebanon where he was born. His book The Hezbollah Hiking Club is an account of the 27 day walk. And he has been an avid walker since moving to Gloucestershire. Produced by Maggie Ayre for BBC Audio in Bristol
10/09/202024 minutes 9 seconds
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Joyful Highlights Part 6: Extreme Walking

Clare Balding digs into the archives to find the most dramatic weather conditions she's recorded in; she also hears from those walkers who've had had the biggest adventures. The highlights include: Satish Kumar who covered 8000 miles when he walked from India to North America in the 1960s, to protest about nuclear arms; retired RAF officer, Lucy Newcombe, who has walked around the British coastline; and back in 2012 Clare found herself in the wildest of conditions on Dartmoor, luckily she was with a group from the Search and Rescue Dog Association. Please scroll down to the 'related links' box to click through to the featured programmes. Producer: Karen Gregor
18/06/202024 minutes 19 seconds
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Joyful Highlight Part 5: Walking Advice

Clare Balding continues her exploration of the archives and finds a selection of entertaining highlights which give some good advice to walkers both experienced and novice. Writer, Simon Ingram, recommends walking at 'guide's pace' when climbing steep hills; bothy-bagger, Phoebe Smith, discusses the etiquette of staying in these remote shelters; and experienced long-distance walker, Jenny Walters, tells Clare how best to prepare when tackling a mammoth route. Please scroll down to the 'related links' box to click through to the programmes featured. Producer: Karen Gregor
11/06/202023 minutes 57 seconds
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Joyful Highlights Part 4: Singers & Writers

Clare Balding recalls her favourite walks with a colourful variety of writers and singers including Bill Bryson, Toyah Wilcox, folk duo Ninebarrow, and the choral group Werca's Folk. Clare has been walking on air since 1999, and for this lockdown series of highlights has been digging into the archives to retrieve some of her most memorable moments: Today she gets dressed with Bill Bryson, takes a lift across a small puddle with Toyah, discovers that Dorothy Wordsworth avoided marriage so she could continue walking, and hears from author Emma Mitchell about exactly why our mood is lifted when we spend time in nature. Scroll down to the 'Related Links' box where you can click through to all the featured programmes. Producer: Karen Gregor
04/06/202024 minutes 2 seconds
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Joyful Highlights Part 3: Landscape

In a joyful celebration of 20 years spent walking on air, Clare Balding digs deep into the exhilarating archives of Ramblings to share the best moments from her favourite walks. This week's highlights showcase the diverse landscape that Clare has explored since the series began. From the Sands of Forvie in Aberdeenshire to the Wicklow Mountains in the Republic of Ireland via a moonlit night walk across the South Downs to the unique landscape of Alderney. Please scroll down to the 'Related Links' box to click through to the programmes featured today. Producer: Karen Gregor
28/05/202024 minutes 7 seconds
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Joyful Highlights Part 2: Health and Happiness

In a joyful celebration of 20 years spent walking on air, Clare Balding digs deep into the exhilarating archives of Ramblings to share the best moments from her favourite walks. This week she explores the theme of Health and Happiness to discover how walking can provide a real boost to both our physical and mental health. The featured programmes include The Diamond Ramblers, a group who discuss their achievements with weight loss; the positive and uplifting Forget Me Not dementia group; and Dr. Kate Harding who persuades Clare to walk in silence, always a challenge, however this was an encounter that proved very meaningful for Clare and it's a walk she's never forgotten. Please scroll down to the 'Related Links' box to access the full programmes included in this edition. Many, many more are available on BBC Sounds. Walking for Spiritual Renewal Mental Health Walking Group Black Men's Walking for Health Group (now Walk4Health) The Diamond Ramblers Up to the Labyrinth on
21/05/202024 minutes 2 seconds
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Joyful Highlights Part 1: Friends and Family

In a joyful celebration of twenty years spent walking on air, Clare Balding digs deep into the exhilarating and exhausting archives of Ramblings to share her favourite walks. This week the theme is Friends and Family as Clare finds the moments that best illustrate how walking is a fantastic way of drawing people together. Please scroll down to the 'Related Links' box to click through to the programmes featured: The Nidderdale Way: Gouthwaite to Bewerley Going Wild in the West Country An Aussie Walkabout... in Norfolk Hopetoun with the Monday Walkers Reigate, Surrey (Refugees) Producer: Karen Gregor
14/05/202024 minutes 16 seconds
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Herefordshire Interfaith Group on the Malverns

Clare Balding walks across a section of The Malverns, from Hollybush car park towards British Camp, with members of the Herefordshire Interfaith Group. In a world that feels increasingly divided, this group draws together Muslims, Quakers, Buddhists, Bahá’ís, Methodists and more. It's a leisurely stroll, with many pauses to reflect and share readings on the themes of Pilgrimage and Nature. Note: when we walked this route, in early March 2020, it was affected by flooding in the lower lying sections. In this series, Clare has walked with people and groups of many faiths and none to discover how being in the natural world can affect our inner lives. Producer: Karen Gregor
26/03/202024 minutes 13 seconds
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A brand new waymarked walking route in South Wales

In one of the rainiest Ramblings we've ever recorded, Clare Balding discovers a brand new waymarked walking route in South Wales which has been established on the path of an ancient pilgrimage. It's called the Penrhys Pilgrimage and connects Llandaff to Penrhys. As Clare hears, while walking (and getting soaked) along the final five mile stretch from Trebanog to Penrhys, a huge amount of work from local volunteers has gone into making this project happen. Penrhys is the site of an ancient well and a statue of Mary and already has a pilgrimage passing through from east to west (the Cistercian Way) but from March 25th 2020 this new route , running south to north, will be available to all comers, pilgrims or not. Please scroll down to the 'related links' box to find out more. (Please note: the launch events mentioned in the programme have now been cancelled due to Covid-19) Producer: Karen Gregor
19/03/202024 minutes 11 seconds
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Outdoor Counselling in Derbyshire

Psychotherapist, Dr. Ruth Allen, explains how outdoor counselling works. She takes Clare Balding on a walk near Kelstedge in Derbyshire to discuss the healing power of walking & talking. In this series of Ramblings, Clare Balding is exploring the impact that walking in nature can have on our inner lives. She’s been up Glastonbury Tor with Druids, walked the Wilberforce Way with a Methodist minister, been on retreat in Winchester and rambled across the Malverns with the Herefordshire Interfaith Group. Scroll down to the 'related links' box for more information. Producer: Karen Gregor
12/03/202024 minutes 8 seconds
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Up to the labyrinth on St Catherine's Hill, Winchester

Clare Balding visits the ancient and mysterious labyrinth on top of St. Catherine's Hill in Winchester. Leading the walk is Brian Draper, who runs soulful retreats in nature. Throughout this series of Ramblings Clare is exploring how walking affects our inner life. She is hiking with people of differing beliefs and none to discover how the simple act of being in the natural world can change how we feel. Today, she joins a retreat run by Brian Draper - you may recognise his voice from Thought For The Day on Radio 4 - who encourages the group to slow down and be a part of nature, and discusses the benefits this can have. Together they climb St. Catherine’s Hill to discover the meaning and purpose of labyrinths, a kind of spiritual maze-like path used for walking meditation. Scroll down to the 'related links' box for more information. Producer: Karen Gregor
05/03/202024 minutes 1 second
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The Wilberforce Way with Inderjit Bhogal

Clare Balding walks with Sikh-turned-Methodist, Inderjit Bhogal, along part of the Wilberforce Way in East Yorkshire. Inderjit created this long distance walking route to honour Wilberforce who led the campaign against the slave trade. They start at Pocklington School, where Wilberforce studied, and ramble canal-side to Melbourne Ings. Inderjit Bhogal has an extraordinary personal story: Born in Kenya he and his family fled, via Tanzania, to Dudley in the West Midlands in the early 1960s. He couldn’t find anywhere to practice his Sikh faith so started attending his local Methodist chapel where he became an unusual sight, a Christian worshipper in a turban. He went on to become a leading figure in the Methodist church and was awarded an OBE in 2005. He discusses feeling fearful while walking alone in the countryside, because of the colour of his skin, despite having lived here for over 50 years. Please scroll down to the 'Related Links' box for information about the guide book me
27/02/202024 minutes 4 seconds
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Glastonbury Tor with Druids

Clare Balding explores Glastonbury with Druids Penny and Arthur Billington. Throughout this series of Ramblings, Clare is finding out how walking affects our inner life. She is hiking with people of differing beliefs and none to discover how the simple act of being in the natural world can change how we feel. As Penny and Arthur explain, Druids live their lives closely connected to nature and the changing seasons. Glastonbury Tor and the surrounding area is steeped in rich mythology which draws Druids to what they regard as a sacred landscape. Producer: Karen Gregor
20/02/202024 minutes 7 seconds
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Steve Backshall & Helen Glover on Winter Hill

Steve Backshall and Helen Glover walk with Clare Balding on Winter Hill in Berkshire. Throughout this series of Ramblings Clare Balding is exploring how walking affects our well-being. She is hiking with people of differing beliefs and none to discover how the simple act of being in the natural world can change how we feel. Today, she’s climbing Winter Hill in Berkshire with the Olympic rower Helen Glover and her husband, the wildlife broadcaster and adventurer, Steve Backshall. They spend their working and waking lives outside and know more than most how joyful and beneficial this can be. They had their first child, Logan, in 2018 and are expecting again very soon. They discuss how important they feel it is to raise children with a love of the outdoors, and all the benefits that brings. Producer: Karen Gregor
13/02/202024 minutes 18 seconds
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Ninebarrow in Dorset

Clare walks with Jon Whitley and James (Jay) La Bouchardiere, two childhood friends born and bred in Dorset who moved back there after university and began playing folk music. Jon’s father had run a folk club so it was in his blood so to speak as is the Dorset countryside. When they started writing songs it was a natural process to incorporate the landscape and folklore of the county and this eventually led to them producing a book of the walks that they have enjoyed and written songs about. They perform as a duo called Ninebarrow, a hill near Corfe Castle. They’re walking one of their favourite and oldest walks of coastline, a circular walk beginning and ending in Worth Matravers. OS Ref SY 974 777 Producer: Maggie Ayre
28/10/201924 minutes 24 seconds
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Walking The Pipe in Shropshire

Clare Balding walks part of the Elan Valley pipeline: 73 miles of Victorian engineering running water from mid Wales into the city of Birmingham. Clare is walking with artist Kate Green who has spent the summer walking the pipe and getting to know people and places along the way. They're walking a stretch that runs around the town of Ludlow in the Welsh Marches. Joining them are Andy Holman who runs a horse rescue centre on his land which holds part of the pipelines, and Tim Hipkiss part of a group of walkers called the Laura Ashley Pate Spreaders who she encountered as they were walking the pipeline too. Producer: Maggie Ayre
15/10/201924 minutes 24 seconds
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Beeley Edge with David Blunkett

David Blunkett takes Clare Balding for a walk across Beeley Edge in the Peak District. Joining them are his wife, Margaret, and his guide dog, Barley. Despite being blind from birth, Lord Blunkett has always been a keen rambler and is President of his local Ramblers group. En route they encounter half a dozen cattle, which have to be navigated carefully as David once had three ribs broken by a cow which, he recalls, came towards him with a 'primeval bellow' and knocked him over. They also pass the lakes that supply the extraordinary gardens at Chatsworth House, including the Emperor Fountain built to impress a visiting Russian Czar... who didn't turn up. Scroll down to 'related links' for information about the local area. Location Producer: Tom Bonnett Producer: Karen Gregor
10/10/201924 minutes 29 seconds
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The Highest Hill in the Cotswolds

Clare is climbing Cleeve Hill near Cheltenham in today’s Ramblings. At 330 metres above sea level it’s the highest point in Gloucestershire, and of the Cotswold Hills. With her are Chas and Sue Howes who live at the foot of the hill, and have a strong connection to it. Until 2012 Chas was the Finance Director of a major international clothing company. When he left he spiralled into a severe depression, something he now realises he had suffered from for many years. He says the business world is still a place where it’s very difficult to discuss mental health issues. Cleeve Hill and Common have been something of a lifeline for Chas: alongside medication, walking and running on the hill have improved his physical and mental health. He is now a trustee of its conservation body which raises money to protect and improve the hill and its surrounding land. Details of organisations offering information and support are available at Please scroll down to 'related l
26/09/201924 minutes 14 seconds
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LGBT+ Outdoor Adventures Group

Clare Balding is with a group of young LGBT+ ramblers who meet once a month to explore the green spaces close to Manchester. Run by The Proud Trust, the outdoor adventures group is for 18-25-year-olds and is designed to combat social isolation and build both confidence and physical fitness. They always meet within striking distance of public transport and, today, are starting on the Chester Road in Stretford which is a mile from Trafford Park station. From there they walk partly along the River Mersey to Chorlton Water Park. It’s a local nature reserve which was created during the construction of the M60 motorway, when gravel was excavated and the resulting pit flooded to create the lake. Please scroll down to 'related links' for information connected to the walk location and The Proud Trust. Location Producer: Tom Bonnett (Producer: Karen Gregor)
19/09/201924 minutes 16 seconds
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Ricky Ross and Lorraine Mcintosh of Deacon Blue in Fife

Clare Balding is joined by singers Ricky Ross and Lorraine McIntosh of the band Deacon Blue to walk one of their favourite coastal routes in Fife. Starting at Elie they walk along the beach passing through the village of St Monan's ending in the picturesque fishing town of Pittenweem. Ricky and Lorraine have been married for over thirty years and perform together as part of the band, as well as having their own careers in broadcasting and acting. They say the secret to their enduring relationship is doing things together as a couple and sharing the same interests, one of which is walking. One of their favourite areas to walk is the East Neuk in Fife reputed to have some of the driest sunniest weather in the UK because of its sheltered position between the Rivers Forth and Tay. Producer: Maggie Ayre
12/09/201924 minutes 18 seconds
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Going Dutch in Dorset

Clare Balding joins a unique family ramble in Dorset. She is walking from Osmington Mills to Weymouth with Simon Waley and his three Dutch sons-in-law. They are here, from their home in the Netherlands, for a three day hike along a stretch of the South West Coastal Path. Simon is British; he met and married a Dutch woman and moved to the Netherlands more than twenty five years ago. They have three daughters and each met a Dutch man. For the first time, Simon – a very keen walker, who regularly comes back to the UK – is bringing his three Dutch sons-in-law to experience long-distance British trekking. He says the culture of walking is very different in the Netherlands where every square inch of land has a specific purpose, there aren’t many public footpaths, and agricultural land is out of bounds. When people do walk, it’s usually in huge, organised groups along a network of rural roads. Simon wants his family to experience both the freedom of British walking and the unique deligh
20/06/201924 minutes 18 seconds
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Going Wild in the West Country

Clare Balding walks with sisters Georgina and Rebecca - both mothers of young children - who started a group called Go Wild Go West to help inspire other young families to get out and enjoy the outdoors. They have happy childhood memories of exploring and adventuring in nature and are concerned that children today are losing touch with the thrill of walking and playing outdoors. They take Clare on a circular route around from East Harptree in North Somerset. It's a walk designed to delight and entertain the children who build a den, climb trees and find a rope swing along the way. The children are free to roam and explore with the mums a safe distance behind. There are more walks and ideas for days out on their Facebook page GoWildGoWest The walk is from East Harptree Woods up Smitham Hill and down Harptree Combe Producer: Maggie Ayre
13/06/201924 minutes 16 seconds
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Proud, Resilient & Native American in the UK

Clare Balding meets a group of native American women who live and work in the UK. A sense of isolation and homesickness led them to the Rainmaker Gallery in Bristol seeking connection with other indigenous people. They now meet regularly. Clare joins them on a walk around Henley in Arden in Warwickshire and hears how despite different tribal affiliations, the common cultural and spiritual backgrounds they share bring great comfort to them thousands of miles from home. Leandra Nephin is from the Omaha tribe of Nebraska and grew up on the reservation there. Sarah Sense is a Chitimacha artist who met her husband while she was exhibiting her work at the Rainmaker Gallery in Bristol run by Joanne Prince, while Stephanie Pratt is an academic and art historian from the Dakota Crow Creek tribe. Melinda Schwakhofer is Muscogee Creek and through her artwork is attempting to reconnect with her culture from her home on Dartmoor. The walk: Start Henley in Arden Centre ending Preston Bagot Chu
07/06/201924 minutes 16 seconds
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Clare gets lost in Lancashire

Clare gets lost in the rain as she walks to meet two extraordinary sisters in their 90s. Both were code-breakers during WW2, and one invented the TV classic, Ask the Family. Pat Davies and Jean Argles both worked in espionage during WW2. Pat helped the Royal Navy intercept German Naval Traffic at coastal stations, while Jean was a code and cipher officer based in Cairo, then Italy. Throughout the war, their father was a Prisoner of War. He was Lt Colonel Cary Owtram who was in charge of the infamous Chungkai Japanese Prisoner of War camp. There, he found himself responsible for the wellbeing of thousands of other prisoners including those used to build the notorious Death Railway which featured in the film, Bridge on the River Kwai. Incredibly, Lt Col Cary Owtram managed to keep a secret diary which Pat and Jean have recently published: "1000 Days on The River Kwai" (scroll down to 'related links' to find out more). Following the war, Pat worked in TV. She produced Universit
30/05/201924 minutes 16 seconds
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Here Comes the Summer - Feargal Sharkey

Clare Balding joins singer Feargal Sharkey for a river walk on the south London/Surrey border along the River Hogsmill one of just 200 chalk streams in the world. He's always been a rambler and is currently walking all of the river routes of London. He is often dismayed and pleased in equal measure at the state of our rivers as he is a passionate advocate for water health and quality. The walk is part of the London Loop and starts from Ewell West Station and ends at Kingston upon Thames passing through Old Malden. Producer: Maggie Ayre
23/05/201924 minutes 18 seconds
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An Aussie Walkabout... in Norfolk

Clare Balding goes walkabout with a group of Australian women who call themselves The Norfolk Broads. They include a Colman, of mustard fame, and one ‘honorary Aussie’, actually a Texan who once dated John Wayne’s son. They’ve all ended up living in this eastern corner of England and have discovered fun and companionship by exploring their new home on foot. They walk a stretch of Norfolk’s Boudicca Way from Diss to Shimpling. On the way, Clare discovers what brought them here, how they've adapted to their new home, and how to pronounce local town names... Producer: Karen Gregor
16/05/201924 minutes 12 seconds
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To the Lighthouse!

Clare is walking to a land-based lighthouse on today’s Ramblings. Smeaton’s Tower was originally on the Eddystone Reef, twelve miles out to sea on Plymouth Sound but when it was replaced by a new structure in 1882, the Tower was moved onshore and now stands on Plymouth Hoe. Tom Nancollas is Clare’s guide. He has written a book - Seashaken Houses - which tells of his passion for lighthouses and their many extraordinary stories. Also joining them on the walk is Tom’s friend Michael O’Mahony. He joined Tom on two of his research trips to lighthouses, which, as he recalls, ended in an undignified fashion! On their walk, Tom discusses his fascination for lighthouses and a strange family coincidence that emerged unexpectedly during his research: he discovered an ancestor had visited Smeaton’s Tower before him – as part of the team who dismantled the tower and moved it to the mainland. They start their walk by the Devonport Column, take in interesting parts of Plymouth and its coastli
28/03/201927 minutes
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Walking a Poem on The Malverns

Clare Balding is taking a poem for a walk on today’s Ramblings. Joining her is Jean Atkin, the newly appointed Troubadour of the Malvern Hills. Jean takes Clare, stanza by stanza, to each of the locations featured in one of her poems. Joining them is Peter Sutton who has translated into modern English the famous mediaeval poem ‘Piers Plowman’ which starts with the poet asleep on the Malvern Hills. Also walking is David Armitage who works for the Malvern Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty; he discusses the similarities he sees between the Malverns and some African landscapes, and shows Clare a field packed with the most extraordinary amount of ant hills. The Troubadour of the Hills is a project devised by the Ledbury Poetry Festival and the Malvern Hills AONB. If you're reading this on the Radio 4 website, please scroll down for some photos from the walk and some related links which you can follow to find out more.
21/03/201924 minutes 23 seconds
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A Creative Soldier

Clare Balding walks across Dartmoor with a former soldier whose retirement has taken him in a surprising direction. Andy Salmon is a former soldier who now runs creative events which he hopes will inspire peace and reconciliation. As the former Commandant General of the Royal Marines, Andy has much experience to draw upon. He spent 36 years in the Marines and served in many global conflicts. It might sound unlikely, but the ‘Journey Through Conflict’ events he now stages are a mixture of art, music and storytelling during which he and other former soldiers share their wartime experiences. In this edition of Ramblings, he takes Clare Balding for a challenging walk across a section of Dartmoor – which is a significant training location for the Royal Marines - on the way, they discuss what led him into such an unusual retirement. If you are reading this on the Ramblings webpage, you can scroll down to the 'related links' section to find more information about Andy's project.
14/03/201924 minutes 14 seconds
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A Cow Parsley Tattoo - Cambridgeshire

The writer, Emma Mitchell, takes Clare Balding for a walk around the woods at the back of her house in Cambridgeshire and explains why exposure to the natural world can have a mood-lifting effect on us all. While acknowledging that she relies on antidepressants and talking cures to prevent her depression from becoming overwhelming, she says that walking several times a week, even on days when she feels well, has a cumulative effect and helps to make the dips in her mood less vertiginous. She says “For me, taking a daily walk among plants and trees is as medicinal as any talking cure or pharmaceutical”. But it’s not just because she has a “fondness for looking at bonny bosky views” rather, she says “I am experiencing real physiological responses that affect my body and mind”. As they walk, Emma explains to Clare why they both feel their stress levels falling... it’s not just the physical act of walking, it could be, partly, because they’re breathing the volatile compounds and oils
07/03/201924 minutes 16 seconds
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Long dresses, cloaks and bonnets. Cumbria.

Why climb a snowy Cumbrian hill in a long dress, cloak and bonnet? Clare Balding finds out. It's all down to Dorothy Wordsworth, the sister of poet, William. In her own right Dorothy was a writer and a pioneering walker. Just over 200 years ago she and her friend, Mary Barker, became the first women to both climb and write about Scafell Pike in the Lake District. This wouldn’t have been easy in their long dresses, cloaks and bonnets. To mark this achievement the artist Alex Jakob-Whitworth and some friends decided to follow in Dorothy’s footsteps. They dressed in period costume and tried to get to the top of England’s highest mountain. It wasn't easy, as they tell Clare on today's walk, which starts in Seathewaite in Borrowdale and progresses up to Stockley Bridge, through the snowline, and beyond. Alex took on this challenge as part of a bigger project. If you are reading this on the Radio 4 webpage, you can scroll down the page to the 'related links' section to discover
28/02/201924 minutes 10 seconds
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Gentle Slopes not Rolling Hills - Suffolk

Our original plan for today’s walk fell apart. David Bradbury had invited us to join his lunch-time walking group. Instead of eating a sandwich at their desks, he and his colleagues would make the effort to go for midday rambles which were bonding, supportive and great exercise. He says the group held him together when some difficult personal problems arose. But then David left the company and, therefore, his walking group. However, he remains a keen walker, so we kept our date to walk with him near Bury St. Edmunds in Suffolk. Instead of colleagues, he brought along his daughter, his mother and his friend, Ron the Human Google. Together, they take a circular route which starts at the Rushbrooke Arms in Sicklemere, passes Nowton Church which has some truly beautiful Flemish stained glass windows, plus views of the British Sugar factory and its huge plumes of steam. They bypass a shoot (quickly), and enter Nowton Park where there is a colourful totem pole which - uniquely - in
21/02/201924 minutes 16 seconds
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Old Maps and New Routes - Oxfordshire

Clare Balding starts the 20th year of Ramblings by walking with a listener who is so committed to exploring the countryside that she creates and publishes her own walking routes. Elaine Steane ran out of walks, so decided to invent her own. She's published a number of books including Milestones to Millstones and it's a route from this that we follow today. It skirts the Oxfordshire/Berkshire border and takes in Mapledurham Watermill - a working Mill that not only produces its own flour but also supplies 140 local homes with electricity. The Mill became famous when it featured in the film version of The Eagle Has Landed; Michael Caine's signature is apparently carved somewhere into the building's wooden structure. Later on, we skirt past (but can't quite see) Hardwick House. This was the inspiration for EH Shepard's illustrations of Toad Hall in Kenneth Grahame's Wind in the Willows. From there we head up into the Wild Woods, where we hear a reading from Wind in the Willows, bef
14/02/201924 minutes 13 seconds
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Aviemore, Scotland

Clare joins a group of recently graduated students of Agriculture from Newcastle University who are walking and canoeing along the Speyside Way from source to sea in memory of their friend Rob who was tragically killed in their final year. Their summer wild camping trip is a way to bring the group of friends together once a year to talk and remember Rob who was such an integral part of their university life. Producer: Maggie Ayre
16/10/201824 minutes 37 seconds
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Dartmoor, Devon

Clare Balding meets the writer Tom Cox for a walk on Dartmoor, the setting for many of his musings on walking and nature that are a humorous sometimes spooky take on the countryside and the creatures that inhabit it. His book 21st Century Yokel is full of Devon folklore, haunted landscapes and humorous observations about the people and animals he encounters. Their walk takes them from Manaton Church near Bovey Tracey up to Bowerman's Nose and Hound Tor, stopping off to pay their respects at the grave of Kitty Jay a 17th century farm girl along the way. Producer: Maggie Ayre
16/10/201824 minutes 9 seconds
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Wigtown, Dumfries and Galloway

Clare Balding walks the final part of the Whithorn Way with a local group of walking enthusiasts. It's an an an ancient pilgrim route from Glasgow down along the west coast ending at the holy site of St Ninian's Cave on the southern tip of the peninsula looking towards the Isle of Man. Pilgrims have been making the journey for centuries until they were banned from doing so after the Reformation during the 16th century, but the tradition has been revived and with the restoration of the walking route, more people are expected to do the 146 mile route through some of Scotland's most beautiful but often overlooked landscapes. Pictured left to right: Ian Gemmell, a retired local vet from Whithorn, Clare Balding, Finn McCreath local farmer and trustee of the Wigtown Book Festival and Jessica Fox, former NASA storyteller. Producer: Maggie Ayre
16/10/201824 minutes 12 seconds
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Centurion Way, Chichester

Clare Balding hears the uplifting story of how walking helped a young man recover from a brain injury. At the age of 23, Matt Masson fell off a roof during a night out. He was in a coma for six weeks and, when he awoke, couldn't walk, talk or sit-up. When his voice returned, so did a determination to return to his previously active life. Walking formed a central part of his rehab; his first goal was to walk just 300 metres but by 2014 Matt had walked the Amsterdam Marathon which took 9 hours and 37 minutes. In this edition of Ramblings, Matt and his mother, Anne, walk a stretch of the Centurion Way in Chichester and recall his many endeavours. The Centurion Way is a route between Chichester and West Dean which follows the line of part of the disused Chichester to Midhurst Railway. Producer: Karen Gregor.
27/09/201824 minutes 41 seconds
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The Hoo Peninsula, Kent

Clare Balding is walking in someone else’s shoes for this edition of Ramblings. She’s joined, on the Hoo Peninsula in Kent, by the artist, Clare Patey and the author, Roman Krznaric. They are – respectively – the Director and Founder of The Empathy Museum. On their walk from Gravesend Station to the Cliffe Pools Nature Reserve, Clare and Roman describe one of the Empathy Museum’s projects: “A Mile in My Shoes”. Inspired by the saying: “Never judge a man until you have walked a mile in his moccasins” the project travels the UK, and the world, in a shipping container which is decorated as a gigantic shoe-box. Inside are rows of other people’s shoes, and audio-recordings of their own personal stories. The idea is that visitors wear a pair of shoes, and go for a walk, while listening to the shoe owner’s story. The stories range from a Herefordshire farmer discussing his search for love (you wear a pair of his old work boots to walk and listen) to a former sex worker (red high
20/09/201824 minutes 40 seconds
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Clare Balding walks on Hergest Ridge in Herefordshire with Dr. Kate Harding, who has a moving story to tell. This is the second time Clare has walked with Kate. Their first ramble was around five years ago. The run-up to that recording had been stressful and Clare wasn't really up for it. She recalls - 'I was grumpy with the weather and grumpy with life. Not myself at all'. However, when Kate and Clare started that walk, Clare realised it was what she needed most. Kate's advice about the power of mindfulness resonated strongly. It's an encounter that Clare has never forgotten. Now, Clare is returning to Herefordshire to walk with Kate once more. However, Kate's circumstances have changed significantly. Last year, her husband killed himself. A consultant anaesthetist and specialist in intensive care, he had been suffering from crippling depression. Kate and her teenage children have, obviously, been left devastated. They had emigrated to New Zealand as a family of four. Shortly afte
13/09/201825 minutes 16 seconds
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A musical walk around the Cairngorms National Park with the self-taught composer, Alexander Chapman-Campbell. Alexander's latest album is inspired by a 650km pilgrimage through Norway in the summer of 2015. He had intended to have a break from composition but, en route and completely by chance, Alexander came across pianos in the farmhouses he stayed in, and the churches he visited. So began the instinctive process of creating an album, 'Journey to Nidaros' (Nidaros is the Cathedral in Trondheim, where his trek ended.) He recounts this adventure to Clare, as they walk in the Cairngorms National Park, a place that reminds him very much of Norway. Their walk is a five mile circular route around the Glen Tanar estate, near Aboyne, a village on the edge of the highlands, just 26 miles west of Aberdeen. Producer: Karen Gregor.
21/06/201824 minutes 27 seconds
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Clare Balding walks in beautiful sunshine with one of the longest standing groups we've had on Ramblings. For over 30 years, Derek Fawcett and friends have met for an annual walk. They've known each other since they were at medical school and, despite going into different specialities, have retained a strong connection; they say this is best enjoyed while out walking. Today, they are in Laugharne in south west Wales. They follow a route from Laugharne Castle which takes in Dylan Thomas's former home. Thomas once described Laugharne as the 'strangest town in Wales' and based Llareggub in Under Milk Wood ('bugger all' spelt backwards) on the place. Producer: Karen Gregor.
14/06/201824 minutes 30 seconds
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Up to the Dashwood Mausoleum

Clare Balding walks to the extraordinary Dashwood Mausoleum, near High Wycombe, with Julia and Lee Clements and their daughter, Cerys. Cerys is nearly six years old and has cerebral palsy, so joins the walk in her off-road buggy. Together Julia and Lee discuss how they have adapted to life with a profoundly disabled child; Julia says she has become a 'fighter', especially for the right to give her daughter blended 'real' food, through the tube in her stomach, and not just formula milk which is the accepted norm. Lee says he once defined himself by his achievements at work, or in running marathons, or going for very long walks whereas, now, he values even the shortest of outings with Cerys - navigating kissing-gates, or pushing her weighty buggy uphill is a joy and a challenge in itself. Producer: Karen Gregor.
07/06/201824 minutes 22 seconds
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Church Stretton

Clare Balding is off to Little Switzerland in this week's programme, but she's not travelling far: Church Stretton, in Shropshire, earned its nick-name in Victorian times because of the area's Alpine feel. Her companions are Mark and Debbie, who met after both lost their spouses to cancer. Together with Ted, the wire haired Dachshund, they are attempting to complete every route listed in the book "50 walks in Shropshire". They have just passed the 20 mark. Today's walk takes them to the trig point of the Long Mynd, from there they retrace their steps back to the top of Town Brook Hollow and return over the top of Yearlet Hill and Ashlet Hill and back into Church Stretton. Producer: Karen Gregor.
31/05/201824 minutes 35 seconds
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Reigate, Surrey

Today Clare is walking in Surrey with a group of asylum seekers who are former detainees of the Gatwick Immigration Removal Centres. Alongside them are volunteers from "Refugee Tales" which is a project run by the Gatwick Detainees Welfare Group; it involves monthly walks as well as an annual event which combines walking and storytelling. The idea, they say, is to "reclaim the landscape for the language of welcome". Over 50% of those held in Immigration Removal Centres are released back into the UK community though their cases may be unresolved, their living conditions precarious, and their future uncertain. These walks give the former detainees a chance to meet up with their friends, enjoy the countryside and - for just a few hours - forget their challenging and unknown future. Today the group is in Reigate. The group will walk from the station to the top of Reigate Hill, then along the North Downs ridge where there are views towards Gatwick and the detention centres. They then work
24/05/201824 minutes 42 seconds
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Hembury Fort, Honiton

A chaotic and lively dog-walk on Hembury Fort near Honiton in Devon kicks off the new series. Nigel, the rebellious Golden Doodle, upstages Clare Balding and guests. Clare's human companions are Amy, Jenny, and Anna. They met at the school-gate and formed a strong bond that has helped them through many health challenges. Jenny's thyroid problems led unexpectedly to her launching a successful dog-walking business. They take Clare on one of their regular walks, across Hembury Fort near Honiton, and explain what friendship through walking means to them. Produced in Bristol by Karen Gregor.
17/05/201824 minutes 38 seconds
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Purton, Gloucestershire

Clare Balding takes a walk along the banks of the Severn in the company of the country's most prolific travel writers, Christopher Somerville who's also the walking correspondent of The Times. They begin their six and a half mile walk in the Gloucestershire village of Purton which lies on the east bank of the River Severn, Christopher's childhood village of Leigh is not far upstream. He talks to Clare about the role walking has played in his life and how it became a way that he could reconnect with his late father. The route can be found on OS Explorer OL 14 , map ref for the starting point : SO 684021 Producer Lucy Lunt.
29/03/201824 minutes 51 seconds
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Clare Balding joins Gill Callow, a teacher from York who takes her on a favourite six mile route around the city. Walking has always been an important part of Gill's life; a joy to share with friends, a way to appreciate the wonders of the British countryside, a stress - buster from intense days in the classroom and now vital to help her come to terms with the loss of her partner, Martin. Gill talks to Clare about how she introduced him to the joys of walking , the long distance routes they tackled and the plans they had for the future. She finds walking a good way to remember him and the many happy times they shared. Producer Lucy Lunt.
22/03/201824 minutes 44 seconds
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Black Men's Walking for Health Group

Clare Balding walks in the Peaks with Maxwell Ayamba, who founded a rambling group for other black men, from Sheffield, to help improve their health and well being. Clare joins the group as they leave the Moorland Discovery Centre and set off across the Moors. They explain to Clare how the group has helped improve their relationships as well as their health and Maxwell describes the art of riding crocodiles. Producer: Lucy Lunt.
16/03/201824 minutes 21 seconds
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Crouch End to Bloomsbury, London

Clare Balding joins archaeologist, Charlotte Frearson and her dog, Indy, on their daily, five mile walk to work. A few years ago Charlotte was suffering from crippling anxiety, her doctor suggested medication or a dog. After detailed research Charlotte decided a whippet would be better than drugs and she bought Indy, short , of course, for Indiana Jones. Everyday they walk from their home in Crouch End, across London to UCL's Institute of Archaeology in Bloomsbury. It's hard to know who enjoys the walk more as Charlotte has the chance to reflect on the antiquities that might lie beneath their feet and Indy has the chance to hunt out tasty morsels on the pavement. As they take their favourite route from park to park Charlotte explains to Clare how Indy is now being assessed to be a Pet As Therapy dog, not just for her but for the students who sometimes find it easier to talk to him than their tutors. Producer Lucy Lunt.
08/03/201824 minutes 38 seconds
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Aberlady Bay

Clare explores the beautiful beaches of Aberlady Bay, East of Edinburgh. She joins the pupils, parents and staff of Saltersgate school which supports children and young people who have additional learning needs. Mary Higgins is the outdoor learning teacher and she's discovered that for some pupils, a long walk on a Monday morning sets them up for the week. She's thrilled by how far and well they ramble and joy they derive from being outside whatever the weather. With special dispensation, some of the parents come along to explain to Clare the pleasure and benefit their non-verbal sons gain from this weekly adventure. Producer: Lucy Lunt.
02/03/201824 minutes 45 seconds
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Greens Norton, Northamptonshire

Clare Balding joins Christina Edwards as she returns to her childhood home in Greens Norton, Northamptonshire, to retrace the walk she took most nights as a teenager, when suffering from anorexia. Christina lived with her mother in a small cottage on the village green. At seventeen Christina stopped eating and as she explains to Clare, as hunger would wake her in the middle of the night, she'd slip out of the house, always accompanied by their dog Jamie and set off on a long walk around the village to try and tire herself out and soothe her mind. Jamie would never leave her side as she strode across the fields and along footpaths, always listening to the same album on her Walkman, The Waterboys, This is the Sea. Christina now lives in New Zealand with her husband and three children, she talks to Clare about the strength it took to overcome her condition and how she still needs to battle with it today. If you need support with eating disorders, help and support is available. Visit the
22/02/201824 minutes 36 seconds
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Stanton Moor and Robin Hood's Stride from Winster

Clare Balding joins comedian Ed Byrne as he takes her for one of his favourite walks in the Peak District; to Stanton Moor and Robin Hood's Stride from Winster. They discuss how he became an enthusiastic hill walker and a passionate Munro bagger. Munro bagging is the ideal hobby for Ed as it combines a love of the outdoors and his nerdy desire to tick things off lists. Ed and Clare compare notes on their passion for kit, walking clothing and gadgets. The route for their seven mile walk can be found on OL 24 , grid reference SK241605. Producer Lucy Lunt.
15/02/201824 minutes 36 seconds
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Listeners' Walks: Stoke-on-Trent

Clare Balding meets a group of five friends from Stoke on Trent who have been walking The Two Saints Way , a route that's taken them from Chester to Lichfield. All retired or semi-retired professional women, they all have very personal reasons for taking this pilgrimage. They like to mark various stages of the walk with a song, taking it in turns to decide on the type of music required for the particular location. They are accompanied by Buddy, a Border Terrier cross Jack Russell who has been with them for every step of the way. They women call themselves The Fast Girls Walking Group on account of the brisk pace they like to keep, so Clare will not be dawdling as they explain to her their love of their home town and why they believe The Potteries are wrongly overlooked as a great walking area. The route can be found on OS Explorer 258 Stoke on Trent and Newcastle Under Lyme . The walk takes them from Stoke Minster to Lord Sutherland's Monument. Ful Producer: Luc
19/10/201724 minutes 32 seconds
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Listeners' Walks: Isle of Man, Kallow Point

Clare Balding continues her exploration of The Isle of Man by travelling south to walk the coastal path from Kallow Point to the Sound. She's joined by locals Jane and Peter Gunn and archaeologist, Andrew Foxon. Despite the wind and rain setting in, there are still wonderful views to be had of the Calf of Man and Jane explains the many vagaries of living on the island, she appears to know everyone or at least all those they meet en route. Producer: Lucy Lunt.
12/10/201724 minutes 34 seconds
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Listeners' Walks: Isle of Man, Glen Dhoo

Clare Balding's long-held wish, to sample the walking delights of the Isle of Man, is finally satisfied as she heads to the north of the Island to explore Glen Dhoo and Ravensdale. She walks in the company of local artist, Michael Starkey and guide Chris Callow, two proud Manxmen. The walk can be found on 0S Landranger 95. Producer Lucy Lunt.
05/10/201724 minutes 42 seconds
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Overton Hill, The Ridgeway

Clare Balding joins Multiple sclerosis sufferer, Jo Fielder, on a training walk, just before she attempted to cover the entire length of the Ridgeway in just seven days. They were joined by Jo's husband, Jake and former track and field athlete, David Hemery. Winner of the 400 metres hurdles in the 1968 summer Olympics in Mexico City, David has been a source of inspiration and training advice to Jo as she prepares for this challenge. Tune in to find out if she made it. Map ref: SU 09358 68848 OS Explorer 157 Marlborough and Savernake Forest. Producer: Lucy Lunt.
02/10/201724 minutes 41 seconds
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Listeners' Walks: Blaenau Ffestiniog

In this series of Ramblings, Clare Balding is walking with people or in places recommended by listeners. Eryl Davies wrote to the programme suggesting a walk in the hills of North Wales with her father, Tegid. He lives near Blaenau Ffestiniog and loves to explore the area every day, usually alone with his dog Twm. Not that unusual except that Tegid has no sight and relies on his memory and his canine companion to find the way. He has always loved walking and when he can, likes to share his passion with the rest of the family. Today he's joined by Eryl and his sixteen year old grandson, Llewellyn. Their route can be found on OS Outdoor Leisure map 18 Producer: Lucy Lunt.
21/09/201724 minutes 39 seconds
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Listeners' Walks: Cornwall

Clare Balding takes the Cornish coastal path from Constantine Bay to Harlyn, in the company of two women for whom walking has been the cement in their friendship. Sarah Rossiter and Rebecca Newsom met at university and although their lives have taken them in very different directions; Sarah works for an investment bank , Rebecca for Greenpeace, they try to ensure they get together every few months to do some challenging hiking while putting the world to rights. In this repeat from earlier in 2017, Clare will be walking with listeners who have recommended people or places the programme should feature. Sarah wrote to Ramblings wishing to share their enthusiasm for walking and walking together. The route they take can be found on OS Explorer 106 Newquay and Padstow. Producer: Lucy Lunt.
14/09/201724 minutes 28 seconds
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The Nidderdale Way: Brimham Rocks to Pateley Bridge

Clare Balding sadly says goodbye to The Nidderdale Way as she embarks on the last leg of this fifty three mile circular walking route. Her guides for the day, Margaret Lawrenson, Chris Bennett and John Byrom, persuade her to take a small detour to explore Brimham Rocks, an enchanted natural play park for children and a nightmare for grandparents. Once back on track they walk through some of the most picturesque villages and hamlets of North Yorkshire to arrive back in Pateley Bridge once more. Clare receives a badge for her efforts. Producer Lucy Lunt.
22/06/201724 minutes 32 seconds
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The Nidderdale Way: Birstwith to Thornton Moor

Clare Balding nears the end of her walk along The Nidderdale Way, a fifty three mile route, that starts and finishes in Pateley Bridge. Today she walks the most easterly stretch passing through the Ripley Estate, home to the Ingilby family for over seven hundred years. Sir Thomas Ingilby a keen long distance walker, and his wife Lady Emma, explain how they welcome ramblers through the estate and have constructed new paths to ease their way. Producer Lucy Lunt.
15/06/201724 minutes 34 seconds
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The Nidderdale Way: Bewerley to Dacre Banks

Clare Balding is walking The Nidderdale Way in North Yorkshire for this series and here she completes the fourth leg of the route from Bewerley to Dacre Banks. She's accompanied by three members of the Tordoff family. Keith, came to the town of Pateley Bridge, that lies in the centre of the dale, twenty five years ago with his wife, Gloria. He gave up the stress of being a police officer in Leeds and took to running the local sweetshop, the oldest in the country. He is now a spokesman for the town and the area and does all he can to promote it, concerned as he is, that small rural towns like this, can die without the whole community pulling together. His son Alex is a local fireman and his partner Kirsty also works in the family business. Kirsty and Alex explain to Clare that their love of walking has taken them traveling all over the world, while Keith explains his love of Pateley Bridge means he no longer wishes to go anywhere else. Their walk starts at Bewerley Grange Chapel where K
08/06/201724 minutes 28 seconds
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The Nidderdale Way: Gouthwaite to Bewerley

Clare Balding is walking the whole of The Nidderdale Way, a circular fifty three mile walking route in North Yorkshire. In this edition she walks from Heathfield to Bewerley in the company of Robin Hermes and Simon Dunn, two self-styled, grumpy old men. They have been walking together, along with their friend Richard, every month for over thirty-five years and this is the first time they've actually invited anyone to join them. The Ramblings team don't make the most auspicious start by being several minutes late, a sin Robin holds against them right until the end when the joys of the afternoon allow him to forgive and forget! This section of the walk takes in the site of the disused lead mines at Ashfold Side Beck. Robin and Simon discuss their walking history with Clare, their favourite and least favourite routes and how they score the perfect walk. The route can be found on OS Explorer 298 Producer Lucy Lunt.
01/06/201724 minutes 36 seconds
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The Nidderdale Way: Scar House Reservoir to Ramsgill

Clare Balding embarks on the second leg of the Nidderdale Way , a 53 mile circular walk that begins and ends in the North Yorkshire town of Pateley Bridge. Today she's joined by the Rev Darryl Hall and Methodist minister, Mike Poole, who work and walk together regularly , known locally as the Ant and Dec of the church. Mike's wife Julia also comes along with the map to ensure they stay on track. This section of the walk takes them through the small hill village of Middlesmoor. Its church, St Chads, boasts of having one of the best views in Britain and Clare believes the community can also brag about their very excellent public conveniences. For this series Clare is using OS Explorer 298, starting reference for this walk 066 766, and the Harvey map of The Nidderdale Way. Producer: Lucy Lunt.
25/05/201724 minutes 31 seconds
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The Nidderdale Way: Pateley Bridge to Scar House Reservoir

In this series Clare Balding will walk the Nidderdale Way, a spectacular fifty- three mile route in North Yorkshire, encircling the valley of the River Nidd. On this first section from Pateley Bridge to Scar House Reservoir, she's joined by local walking expert, Stephen Spellman and Michelin star chef, Frances Atkins. Frances is one of only six female chefs in the UK to have a Michelin Star, her restaurant is en route at Ramsgill . She explains how important walking is for her as a source of inspiration and relaxation from the stresses of the kitchen. Stephen advises Clare on the right equipment to have when tackling consecutive days of walking. They're also joined by Frances's black Labrador, Polly. While something of a law unto herself, Polly clearly loves this landscape of moorland, rolling green fields, dry stone walls and remote farm houses as much as her three companions. Producer : Lucy Lunt.
18/05/201724 minutes 20 seconds
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Mount Edgcumbe, Plymouth

Clare Balding joins some of the members of START - Students and Refugees Together, to explore some of the beautiful countryside in easy access of Plymouth. START is a small charity that works with refugees in the city by putting them together with student volunteers to help them become self-reliant and active contributors to their local community. Walks are an important part of the organisation, encouraging refugees to get to know the city and some of the countryside that surrounds it as well as being a way to make friends and practise their English. Clare talks to social worker, Avril Bellinger, who initiated the scheme, about the benefits walking has bought to the group and to the students and refugees who have built such a bond. Producer Lucy Lunt.
30/03/201724 minutes 16 seconds
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Isaac's Tea Trail, Allendale

Clare Balding returns to her favourite county, Northumberland, to walk part of Isaac's Tea Trail, a thirty-six mile (58km) circular route, starting from Allendale. This long distance path, launched in 2002, was inspired by the tale of Isaac Holden, an itinerant tea seller and philanthropist who in Victorian times was a familiar figure on the rough tracks over Allendale Common and Alston Moor. Clare is accompanied on her walk by Roger Morris who devised and maintains the route, Andy Lees ,from The north Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and retired journalist Anne Leuchars, who blogs about the route and has walked it all . She explains why the area is her adopted home and the very special role Isaac played in the local community. The walk starts at Keenley Wesleyan Methodist Church and ends at Holden Hearse house. Grid Ref : NY803567 End ref at NY782523 Producer Lucy Lunt.
23/03/201724 minutes 28 seconds
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Hampshire Jane Austen

Clare Balding walks in the footsteps of Jane Austen as she takes a path regularly taken by Jane, from her home in Chawton, now a museum, to Farringdon, to visit her friends. Clare is joined by husband and wife, Martyn and Sue Dell. Both work as volunteers at the museum, fulfilling a long held ambition of Sue's. She fell in love with Austen as a teenager upon first reading Pride and Prejudice and has fancied herself as Elizabeth Bennet ever since. Sue promised herself she would work at the museum once she retired from teaching. Martyn is a trustee and steward and talks about the importance of the house to visitors from all over the world, especially this year which marks the 200 th anniversary of Austen's death. They are also joined by the Museum Administrator, Gill Stanton. The walk can be found on OS Explorer 133 Haslemere and Petersfield. Starting at the house in Chawton and walking to Farringdon, across the fields as Jane would have done and then back along the old disused railway,
16/03/201724 minutes 16 seconds
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Clwyd Hillforts

Clare Balding heads for the Clwyd Hills in North Wales as she joins the county's Archaeologist, Fiona Gale, to find out more about the many Iron Age hill forts that are so prevalent along the range. They start at Moel Arthur , walking along to Penycloddiau, one of the largest sites. They are joined by two of Fiona's colleagues. David Shiel and Helen Mrowiec, all three of whom are passionate about the area and the leisure opportunities it offers. While they all discuss the marks left on the landscape by past generations, Clare and her companions become united in their hatred of a twenty first century scar, the plastic dog poo bag, filled and left hanging on branches or in bushes. Clare is now on a mission to eradicate these eyesores from the countryside. You can follow the walk on Explorer no 265 Clwydian Range/Bryniau Clwyd. Starting grid ref , SJ146657 Producer Lucy Lunt.
09/03/201724 minutes 26 seconds
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Great Hucklow, Derbyshire

Clare Balding is in the Derbyshire Peak District to meet a group of women who call themselves the Hucklow Howlers. They've been walking and running together for twenty five years. They meet up each year to walk from Great Hucklow and they now take Clare on one of their favourite circular routes from Great Hucklow via Bradwell . They explain to Clare how much the group means to them and how staying fit in later life, by walking and running, has allowed them to enjoy a happy and enjoyable retirement. Starting Grid ref: 179 779 at Great Hucklow OL24 The Peak District/White Peak and OL1 The Peak District/Dark Producer: Lucy Lunt.
02/03/201724 minutes 15 seconds
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Derrigimlagh, Ireland

Clare Balding explores a new pathway just outside Clifden in County Galway. This walking route, across the Derrigimlagh Bog, is a mosaic of tiny lakes and peat rich flora and fauna. Its a fairly lonely spot, as walking guide, Paul Phelan explains but its the place where two truly remarkable events of the twentieth century took place. In October 1907 the first commercial transatlantic message was transmitted from Marconi's wireless telegraphy station on the bog, to Glace Bay, Newfoundland, Canada. In 1919, aviators, Alcock and Brown crash landed there at the end of the first non-stop flight across the Atlantic. Historian, Mike Cronin joins Clare and Paul to explain the significance of both events and they discuss why this wild and dramatic landscape means so much to them. Producer: Lucy Lunt.
23/02/201724 minutes 22 seconds
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The Doolough Famine Walk, County Mayo

Clare Balding travels to Ireland, County Mayo, to retrace the steps of those who walked from Louisburg to Delphi, in 1849 at the height of the potato famine, in the hope of receiving aid. Now known as The Doolough Tragedy Famine Walk, hundreds of people come from all over the world to walk the twelve miles each year in memory of those who died of starvation along the route. Clare talks to Joe Murray from Afri (Action from Ireland) on whose behalf he organises the annual pilgrimage, which not only remembers those who died of hunger but also those, across the world, who now live in hunger and struggle with a shortage of food. They're joined by Mary O'Malley whose forebears suffered during the Great Hunger, or An Gorta Mor, and by Prof John Maguire who puts the famine into historical context. The music used in the programme, Turned Away, was an original piece written for the walk by Imogen Gunner. Producer: Lucy Lunt.
16/02/201724 minutes 33 seconds
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Suffolk with Geoff Nicholson

Clare Balding walks in Suffolk with the writer Geoff Nicholson. They talk of the history of walking, of flaneurs, pedestrianism and psychogeography. Geoff has delighted in walking all his life; from the daily walk to school,to trips with his father to the Peak District to the rambles he now takes around his new home of Los Angeles. He explains to Clare that his favourite walk is always his next one. Producer: Lucy Lunt.
20/10/201624 minutes 24 seconds
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The South Downs Way

Clare Balding walks the The South Downs, from Bo Peep to Alfriston, in the company of writers June Goodfield and Lynne Truss. They've both been involved in a project for local people to write a new version of Eleanor Farjeon's poem, A Sussex Alphabet. Eleanor may be best known for the words to the much loved hymn Morning Has Broken. June and Lynne adore the South Downs although Lynne admits to being something of a timid walker, happier to be in a group and to carry a big stick. The day's walk inspired Clare to add her own contribution to the enterprise, after Amanda Elms of the South Downs National Park, explains the lifecycle of the Damselfly D is for Damselfly Summer's golden glow started to fade With a walk ancient footsteps had made Regular steps along the grassy path To the rythmic beat of a wooden staff. Gentle chat as we looked far beyond When we spotted a stray from the nearby pond A long insect lying on the ground Not making a movement or a sound. Pairs of bright blue s
13/10/201624 minutes 23 seconds
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Ripon to Ripley

Clare Balding marks the eightieth anniversary of the Jarrow crusade, when two hundred men walked from Tyneside to London to petition the British government to bring back industry to their town. The the closure of the main employer, Palmer's shipyard. in 1934 had led to most of the population of Jarrow being plunged into poverty.Clare has three companions on this walk ; Robert Colls, professor of Cultural History at de Montfort university who explains the role marching has played in modern politics , Helen Antrobus from the People Museum in Manchester , who tells the story of the one woman allowed on the march, the indomitable local MP, Ellen Wilkinson and local walker Margaret Laurenson, who devised the route they take. in the programme we also hear archive recording of one of the marchers talking about the overwhelming reception they received in the mainly Tory town of Harrogate. Producer: Lucy Lunt.
06/10/201624 minutes 34 seconds
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Hebden Bridge

Clare Balding continues her series of talking to, or about, those who have a real passion for walking. As a teacher, heavily involved with the Duke of Edinburgh Awards scheme, Lynn had always known how beneficial it was for young people to get out into the countryside but when she and her partner Jacqueline, adopted three siblings, who had all experienced emotional difficulties, walking took on a new significance. While the three children, all under ten, find it difficult to be in a confined space together, when out walking they become more co-operative, calmer and can begin to enjoy all it means to be a family. They take Clare on one of their favourite walks from their home in Hebden Bridge. Producer: Lucy Lunt.
29/09/201624 minutes 25 seconds
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The Pilgrims Way

Clare Balding explores part of The Pilgrims Way in the company of Canon Clare Edwards, who, as a member of the clergy at Canterbury Cathedral has the job of looking after all pilgrims en route from Winchester to Canterbury or Canterbury to Rome. They're joined by Jackie McAll who intends to complete the one hundred and thirty mile walk this month in gratitude for five years of sobriety, following years of alcoholism. She explains to Clare how she managed to overcome her addiction and find a new and fulfilled life. Canon Clare gives advice on the route which is not always as well signposted as she would like. As always, on Ramblings, there is much talk of food, weather and suitable clothing. This walk can be found on OS Landranger map 187, Dorking and Reigate , or Explorer 146. The starting grid reference is TQ 16986 503 Producer: Lucy Lunt.
22/09/201624 minutes 36 seconds
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Passionate Walkers: David Nicholls

In this new series of Ramblings, Clare Balding talks to those for whom walking is more than a leisure activity but a passion that's vital to their lives. In this first programme she goes to Thursley in Surrey to meet the novelist and screenwriter, David Nicholls. His first novel, 'Starter for Ten' was followed by the much acclaimed 'One Day', and as David admits to Clare. its success took him a little by surprise. They take an eight mile circular route around The Devils Punchbowl. David explains how important walking is to his creative process, although he always worries its a bit of a skive ! However, he finds it the ideal way to listen to and absorb a novel when he's adapting one of the classics for TV, as he did with 'Far From the Madding Crowd'. He talks to Clare about how he loves exploring new cities by foot and the techniques he uses to encourage his children to walk. The walk Clare and David took can be found on OS Explorer map OL33 & 145 or Landranger 186, the map reference is
15/09/201624 minutes 22 seconds
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Northumberland: Bothy Bagging

Clare Balding meets Phoebe Smith, an expert in planning long walks and bagging bothies.
23/06/201624 minutes 35 seconds
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The Cotswold Way

Clare Balding joins Graham Hoyland and his partner, Gina Waggott, as they retrace the steps they took in 2015 along the Cotswold Way as part of their three month epic walk of 500 miles, following the progress of the spring as it spread up England from the south coast to Gretna Green. They planted an acorn every mile and are thrilled to discover some of them have grown. They talk to Clare about the joy they felt in sharing this journey, their favourite rucksack snacks and their future walking plans. Producer: Lucy Lunt First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in June 2016.
16/06/201624 minutes 31 seconds
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Severn Way with Lucy Newcombe

Clare Balding continues this series of epic walks by meeting up with a retired RAF officer, Lucy Newcombe, who started walking round the coast of Britain last summer. By the time her journey ends she expects to have covered over six thousand miles. Lucy and Clare discuss the kindness of strangers, their love of the British countryside, home-made cake and the best way to deal with dogs. They walk for six miles along the Severn Way and are joined by Lucy's sister in law, Laura, who, as she lives locally, has been operating as landlady, laundress and taxi driver for the past two weeks. She tells Clare about the changes this journey has made to Lucy, once a loner, now discovering that she likes the company of her fellow man. Lucy however insists she's not walking alone to discover herself, find her inner voice or to make plans for a new career. Lucy walks for the joy of it and the chance to see more of the country she loves. Producer: Lucy Lunt.
09/06/201624 minutes 32 seconds
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Wayfarers Walk with Nigel Clifford

Clare Balding and the head of Ordnance Survey, Nigel Clifford walk along Wayfarers Walk from Coombe Gibbet to Highclere, on the Berkshire, Hampshire Border. In this series Clare talks to those involved in epic walks of many consecutive days and covering many hundreds of miles. Clare and Nigel talk about the joy of poring over maps while planning such adventures. They are accompanied by Clare's dog Archie, who particularly enjoys their lunch stop. Producer: Lucy Lunt.
02/06/201623 minutes 52 seconds
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The Essex Way

Clare Balding continues her series exploring epic walks, by joining four women as they take their final training walk before they set off to complete the eighty-two mile Essex Way, in just three days. Rebecca Rose and her friends have been training since Christmas to walk from Epping to Harwich. They're walking in aid of a local charity close to their hearts, Essex and Herts Air Ambulance. Four years ago Rebecca's daughter Katy's fiancé was involved in an accident at work, he was treated and air lifted to a London hospital by the local air ambulance. Although he sadly died, the family remain very grateful that they attended, as they know he received the best possible care. Katy was pregnant at the time and grandson, Oscar will be there to encourage the walkers at the beginning and end of the walk. Producer Lucy Lunt.
26/05/201624 minutes 15 seconds
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Glyndwr's Way with Ursula Martin

Clare Balding gets serious in this new series of Ramblings as she discovers what it takes to be a more adventurous walker. Today she joins Ursula Martin who walked over three thousand, seven hundred miles, around Wales in an eighteen month period. After being treated for ovarian cancer she decided to walk to her medical appointments from her home in mid-Wales to the hospital in Bristol. Ursula then just carried on walking, raising money for research into the condition and spreading the word about diagnosis. Today she takes Clare on small section of her favourite walk, along Glyndwr's Way in Powys, Mid Wales, starting just outside Llangadfan, they walk for about eight miles to Llanbrynmawr, just west of Welshpool , a few miles south of Snowdonia National park. The route takes them through farmland, onto open moorland and into a pine forest, where the moss covered trees allow their imaginations to run wild. Ursula spent many nights rough sleeping but she also describes the incredible kin
19/05/201624 minutes 29 seconds
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Isle of Dogs

An unusual urban walk to finish the series: Clare Balding is in London on the Isle of Dogs for a ramble along the banks of the River Thames. It's not a true island, rather it's enclosed on three sides by the river, and has a rich and fascinating history. Clare is joined by Sarah Wynne, her sister and a friend. Sarah moved to the Isle of Dogs when she was six and grew up there. People are intrigued when she tells them this, they want to know what her childhood entailed: did she ever play outside, or go to the countryside, how did she get to school? For Sarah, walking gives her a breathing space in fast-paced London life. She often walks with only a vague idea of where she is going, and likes to see where she'll end up. She finds it empowering to simply follow her instincts about which direction to take. Producer: Karen Gregor.
31/03/201624 minutes 26 seconds
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Eyam, Derbyshire

Clare Balding walks to Eyam this week - the Derbyshire village best known for its heroic approach to the bubonic plague in the 17th century. She rambles along the brand-new Peak Pilgrimage long distance footpath, devised to commemorate the 350th anniversary of the plague, during which Eyam famously put itself into quarantine to stop the disease spreading further. Producer: Karen Gregor.
24/03/201624 minutes 29 seconds
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Oxfordshire: In Memory of Catherine

Clare Balding joins a group of women in Oxfordshire, who meet every year to remember their friend Catherine, who died of breast cancer at forty-five. Some in the group knew each other before Catherine's death; others have met, and become good friends since. There are her friends from her school days, her book club and from her career as a nurse. Catherine would have been fifty this year and her daughter Sarah now sixteen explains how she has derived comfort from helping to raise money for research into the disease and by getting together with her mother's friends to share memories while walking together. Producer Lucy Lunt.
17/03/201624 minutes 24 seconds
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Trent, Dorset

Clare joins a lively primary school walking club as they ramble through the Dorset countryside. Pupils, teachers, local farmers and parents join the group which has been helping to draw the local community together for twelve years. Starting at a farm near the school, Trent Young's C of E near Sherborne, they walk on footpaths and over private farmland - made accessible by the farmers who help lead the walk - learning about the countryside as they go. Producer: Karen Gregor.
10/03/201624 minutes 33 seconds
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Clare Balding walks from the famous dragon at Bures on the Essex/Suffolk border to Assington in Suffolk. Joining her is a group of volunteers from the Colchester branch of the Samaritans charity. It's a supportive walking-group which helps volunteers to bond and decompress, something that's necessary in an emotionally challenging although rewarding role. Producer: Karen Gregor.
03/03/201624 minutes 11 seconds
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Loughrigg Fell - Simon Ingram

Clare Balding explores Loughrigg Fell, in Cumbria with the writer and journalist, Simon Ingram. With all the passion of a convert, he explains to Clare how he became bitten by the mountain climbing bug and why he wants to pass on his obsession to anyone who'll listen. In the space of a morning they are hit with torrential rain and howling winds but nothing deters them from their walk and Simon also explains how to stay safe while enjoying the mountains of Britain, no matter what the weather. Producer Lucy Lunt.
25/02/201624 minutes 24 seconds
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Walking with a Purpose: The Surrey Hills

Clare Balding joins Jenni Williams and her disabled three year old daughter, Eve, as they take their daily walk in the Surrey Hills. These walks are the highlight of their day as both enjoy being outside, admiring the views and watching the antics of their young and exuberant, golden retriever, Scout. Jenni talks candidly to Clare about how she and her husband, Steve have come to terms with Eve's condition and how they feel blessed to have such a happy and life affirming child. Producer Lucy Lunt.
18/02/201624 minutes 39 seconds
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Artists' Ways - North Somerset

Clare Balding walks with Carolyn Savidge in the final programme of this series which has been themed Artists' Ways. In the first programme she walked with an artist who created outdoor artworks to help her to come to terms with never having had children. In this final programme, Carolyn explains how walking and art have helped her deal with the loss of her husband. Carolyn's walk leaves from her front door in the village of Bleadon in North Somerset, and takes her out onto the hills and levels of north Somerset. On the way she describes the written, photographic and sound based project she has created since losing her husband to cancer. It's a moving walk, but also very uplifting as Carolyn describes how embracing the landscape has helped her begin to move forward with her life. Producer: Karen Gregor.
22/10/201524 minutes 42 seconds
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Artists' Ways - Wiltshire

Clare Balding has been exploring Artists' Ways in this series of Ramblings. This week she walks with Matthew Hopwood whose project 'A Human Love Story' takes him walking through England as a pilgrim, seeking hospitality where it is offered, meeting people where they are; on the path, in the pub, around the corner, on the street, in prison, in church, on the towpath. The people he meets share their love stories, which Matthew records and publishes on his online audio archive. Producer: Karen Gregor.
16/10/201524 minutes 40 seconds
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Nun Appleton House, North Yorkshire

Clare Balding goes in search of Nun Appleton House in North Yorkshire, the subject of one of Andrew Marvells most famous poems. She's accompanied by contemporary landscape poet, John Wedgwood Clarke and Stewart Mottram a Lecturer in Medieval and Renaissance Literature at Hull University. Producer Lucy Lunt.
14/10/201524 minutes 31 seconds
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Artists' Ways - Falkirk

Clare Balding walks along the Forth and Clyde canal to the spectacular Kelpies - 30 metre high statues of horses' heads, modelled on Clydesdales. Walking with her is a group led by Jan Bee Brown - the Reader in Residence at Falkirk Libraries. Producer: Karen Gregor.
01/10/201524 minutes 33 seconds
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Windsor Great Park with Bill Bryson

Clare Balding heads out across Windsor Great Park in the company of writer and prolific walker, Bill Bryson. He explains how he developed a passion for exploring both Britain and parts of America on foot. They discuss how ones notion of distance changes dramatically when you walk. 'A mile becomes a long way, two miles literally considerable, ten miles whopping, fifty miles at the very limits of conception. The world, you realize, is enormous in a way that only you and a small community of fellow hikers know. Planetary scale is your little secret.' Bill takes Clare on one of his very favourite walks around Windsor Park, a place he has enjoyed walking with his family. Producer Lucy Lunt.
22/09/201524 minutes 24 seconds
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Artists Ways: Louise Ann Wilson, Warnscale

Clare Balding discovers the essential role walking plays in contemporary artist's work. In this programme she walks with Louise Ann Wilson, a sceneographer, who has created a walking guide and artbook specific to, and created in, Warnscale, an area of fells to the south of Buttermere Lake. Louise explains to Clare that this 9 kilometer walk and the accompanying guide, are aimed at women who are childless by circumstance. Society offers no rituals or rites of passage through which women who have missed the life-event of biological motherhood can be acknowledged and can come to terms with that absence. Louise created this project to offer imaginative and creative ways through which women can engage with landscape to reflect upon and even transform their experience of this circumstance. It provides a multi-layered yet non-prescriptive means for the walker - whether walking alone, with a partner, friend or in a group - to make and perform their own journey, and can also be used by others w
17/09/201524 minutes 27 seconds
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Edge Hill

Clare Balding revisits the English Civil War by walking round Edge hill in the company of a group of fathers who've been walking together for twenty years.
30/06/201524 minutes 21 seconds
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The Red Ramblers in Dorset

Clare Balding joins The Red Ramblers, members of the local Labour party, who instead of being downhearted after the general election result, are glad to be striding out across the beautiful Dorset countryside, after months of trudging on pavements delivering leaflets. They walk from Symondsbury, near Dorchester, regaling Clare with their campaigning exploits as well as their plans for the future. They explain that walking together creates a bond for when the political going gets tough. Producer Lucy Lunt.
30/06/201524 minutes 30 seconds
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The Malvern Hills

Clare Balding joins Team Zulu, a group of walkers, led by Tarquin Shaw- Young, who prepare for long distance charity walks by training on the majestic Malvern hills. Tarquin became obsessed by the 1964 epic war film, depicting the Battle of Rorke's Drift, as a small child and now uses Zulu as the motif for bringing friends and family together to embark, each year, on completing the Worcestershire Way. As Clare marches across the hills with the group she talks to Tarquin's wife, Kelly about what it means to be married to a man who turned up at their wedding in a pith helmet. Producer Lucy Lunt.
11/06/201524 minutes 44 seconds
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Lyke Wake Walk

Clare Balding undertakes a section of the Lyke Wake Walk on the North York Moors. The route was originally devised sixty years ago by a local farmer who issued a challenge in the Dalesman magazine. He thought it might be possible to cross 40 miles of the Moors from near Osmotherley to Ravenscar in 24 hours, crossing only one or two roads. A club was formed following the first successful crossing, and with a blackly humorous nod to the pain and suffering endured by walkers, a tradition grew of reciting an ancient song known as the Lyke-Wake Dirge which tells of the soul's journey from earth to purgatory. The route was named after this dirge. Clare is joined by veterans and newcomers to the walk, who are known - depending on the number of crossings they've made - as Dirgers, Witches, Doctors of Dolefulness, Masters of Misery or, the most senior of all, Past Masters or Mistresses. Producer: Karen Gregor.
04/06/201524 minutes 28 seconds
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Old Birds, Pegsdon Hills

Clare Balding walks in the Pegsdon Hills, Bedfordshire, with a group of female birders who call themselves the 'Old Birds'. The group initially bonded over their mutual love of nature, but also have many members who have been widowed, so find the gatherings a source of support as well as a way of exploring the local countryside. Producer: Karen Gregor.
28/05/201524 minutes 31 seconds
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Royal Greenwich Park

In the first of a new series of Ramblings, Clare Balding meets a group of parents who regularly share uplifting walks in Royal Greenwich Park. The walkers each have children with special needs and find that rambling in one of London's most beautiful parks is both joyful and supportive. Producer: Karen Gregor.
21/05/201524 minutes 22 seconds
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Derbyshire - Family Walk

Clare Balding travels to Derbyshire this week to ramble with a group of families who gather once a month for a long walk and a pub lunch. Paul Cotton, along with his wife and children, meet with up to seventeen other families - neighbours, colleagues and friends - in any weather, all year round, to share their mutual love of the outdoors. Producer: Karen Gregor.
26/03/201524 minutes 19 seconds
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Nordic Walking in Bramcote Park, Nottingham

Clare Balding takes a lesson in Nordic Walking as she joins national coach, Catherine Hughes, in one of her classes in Bramcote Park in Nottingham. Some of those who regularly attend, are a group of mothers with their daughters, all of whom have learning difficulties. Nordic walking has proved to be an ideal activity for them all to enjoy. The poles give confidence to those who find walking difficult, the fresh air is beneficial to all and the chance for mothers and daughters to be able to exercise together has made the group very popular. Producer Lucy Lunt.
19/03/201524 minutes 25 seconds
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Hertfordshire - Bell-Ringers

The theme of this series of Ramblings is 'bonding' and this week Clare walks with a group who bond, not just through walking, but through their shared passion for bell-ringing. Twice a year, Janet Betham and a fellow Janet organise what have become known as "Janets' Jaunts", where a number of bell-ringers gather together for a ramble between two churches. They ring bells at the start of the walk, stop for a pub-lunch mid-way, and ring again at their destination bell-tower. Join Clare Balding for one of her most unusual Ramblings to date. Producer: Karen Gregor.
12/03/201524 minutes 21 seconds
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Philip Marsden, Truro, Cornwall

Clare Balding walks with the writer Philip Marsden from his home near the banks of the River Fal out to the Cornish coastal path. Clare and Philip discuss why we react so strongly to certain places and why layers of stories and meaning build up around particular features in the landscape. Producer: Lucy Lunt.
09/03/201524 minutes 30 seconds
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Cardiac Walkers

In today's programme Clare Balding walks with a group of medics who have all suffered - as they put it - a 'cardiac event'. With good humour and no real restraint, they gather as often as possible to explore new and familiar routes for friendship and health. The group is made up of GPs, hospital doctors, surgeons and a psychiatrist, and their cardiac experiences range from living with angina to surviving a severe heart-attack. They joke about whose turn it is to carry the defibrillator, but the truth is, they don't let their medical conditions get in the way of a good ramble. Producer: Karen Gregor.
05/03/201524 minutes 19 seconds
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Bonding Walks: Stiperstones, Shropshire

In this new series of Ramblings, Clare Balding explores the way walking can help us bond with other people, the countryside and our history. In this first programme she's invited to take part in the 20th annual walk up to the top of the Stiperstones in Shropshire with a group of men who came together to bond as fathers. Quentin Shaw started the tradition when his sons were at primary school as a way of encouraging the men to get to know each other. The group has grown from the original five fathers to about fifty men, from teenagers to some in their seventies: fathers, colleagues, friends, sons, friends of sons. The aim is now to keep the group as diverse as possible, introducing men who would not otherwise meet: men working in mental health, children's services, housing, health, education, ex-army, scouting, craftsmen, tradesman etc. Quentin explains to Clare that overall ethos has always been to celebrate fatherhood and friendship in a low key way, and to give men a reason for a day
19/02/201524 minutes 36 seconds
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The Dales Way, Part Six

Clare Balding enjoys the final leg of The Dales Way in the company of one of the men who designed it, Colin Spearman. Colin, joined by his wife Fleur, explains his intention of linking the industrial conurbations of West Yorkshire with the Lake District. As they walk from Staveley to Bowness, Clare reflects on her experience of the route and how much it has meant to her. Colin , Fleur and Clare celebrate the end of the journey with ice cream and a paddle in Lake Windermere. Producer Lucy Lunt.
23/10/201424 minutes 14 seconds
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The Dales Way, Part Five

Clare Balding is now really into her stride as she comes close to the end of her journey along The Dales Way, walking from Dent to Sedbergh. The route is one of the most popular in England and enjoyed by thousands every year, mainly thanks to the enthusiastic group of volunteers who run The Dales Way Association. Today she walks with two of their members, Chris Grogan and Kath Doyle who explain why this route means so much to them. Producer: Lucy Lunt.
16/10/201424 minutes 11 seconds
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The Dales Way, Part Four

Clare Balding reaches one of the most beautiful stretches of the Dales Way, setting out from Buckden to Beckermonds, in the company of the Chairman of the Long Distance Walking Association, John Sparshatt and his Californian born friend, Randal Metzger. Despite being very familiar with this part of the route, both men infect Clare with their passion for this landscape and their commitment to ensuring as many people as possible can enjoy walking the path. Producer: Lucy Lunt.
09/10/201424 minutes 23 seconds
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The Dales Way, Part Three

Clare Balding continues her journey along The Dales Way, hiking from Grassington to Kettlewell in the company of two experienced long distance walkers, Aileen Strangham and Brenda Dodd. Clare enjoys their company so much and their tales of taking part in every Great North Run, that they wander off track and have to use all their combined map reading skills to get themselves back onto the right route.
02/10/201423 minutes 57 seconds
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The Dales Way, Part Two

Clare Balding embarks on the second leg of her journey along The Dales Way, one of England's most loved long distance walking paths. This week she walks from Cavendish Pavilion to Burnsall Bridge in the company of Phil Richards, Access Ranger for the Yorkshire Dales National Park and photographer and blogger, Charles Hawes. Producer Karen Gregor.
25/09/201423 minutes 55 seconds
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The Dales Way, Part One

Clare Balding embarks on her first leg of The Dales Way, in the company of Sarah Howcroft. Sarah, an enthusiastic walker and climber for many years, along with her husband founded one of the foremost outdoor clothing companies. The Dales Way is an 82 mile route, starting at Ilkey in Yorkshire. Sarah and Clare walk along the River Wharfe to Bolton Abbey. Producer Lucy Lunt.
18/09/201424 minutes 34 seconds
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The Diamond Ramblers, Otterton

Clare Balding has a sparkling day out joining The Diamond Ramblers for a circular walk from the South Devon village of Otterton. The group came together after meeting up at a local slimming club and deciding to accelerate their weight lose by starting walking. Having now been together for just over two years, the eleven have lost more than thirty-six stone between them and despite most of the members being over sixty they now walk for miles together, cementing their friendship and their resolve to remain fit and healthy. With Clare, they share some of their thoughts on dieting, being overweight and the tremendous value they've found in walking out together. Producer: Lucy Lunt.
26/06/201424 minutes 30 seconds
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Arundel, West Sussex

Tristan Gooley is the self-styled 'Natural Navigator' who makes his living teaching people how to orient themselves by using clues and signs within the landscape. On today's Ramblings he takes Clare on one of his favourite walks, near Arundel in West Sussex. En route they take their bearings from the most fascinating and unlikely natural sources, and Clare hears where Tristan's passion for the outdoors began at the age of 10, on a sailing course on the Isle of Wight, and how that eventually led to his current career. Tristan is an adventurer and explorer who has led expeditions across five continents. He's the only living person to have both flown solo and sailed singlehanded across the Atlantic.
19/06/201424 minutes 31 seconds
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Fingle Bridge to Castle Drogo

Clare Balding completes one of her very favourite walks in South Devon, Fingle Bridge to Castle Drogo. Today she's in the company of a U3A local walking group, Stride Out.
12/06/201424 minutes 31 seconds
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The Doward

This series of Ramblings is themed 'waterways' and in the second of two programmes based on the banks of the River Wye, Clare Balding walks with Nadia Smith on the Doward, near Ross-on-Wye. Nadia has a grown-up son with cerebral palsy; when he was younger she needed to lift him a great deal, something she thinks contributed to osteoarthritis, which eventually led to two partial hip-replacements. She fought having these metal-hips for a long time, fearful that she would lose fitness and mobility. However, following the first operation, she followed a programme of gentle exercise and learned to adapt her walking posture. Nadia now feels as fit and active as before. Join Clare and Nadia as they walk along a stretch of the Wye close to Nadia's home. Producer: Karen Gregor.
05/06/201424 minutes 36 seconds
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Today on Ramblings, Clare Balding walks with a group of women who met while on a horse-trekking trip in Outer Mongolia. Firm friendships were formed on that adventure, and since then the group has met many times. For the past five years they've been walking Offa's Dyke bit-by-bit, and they've now reached the section that runs close to Hay on Wye, which is where Ramblings is based this week. The theme for this series of Ramblings is 'water ways'. This week and next, we explore two different sections of the River Wye. Producer: Karen Gregor.
29/05/201424 minutes 27 seconds
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Thundersley, Essex

There's a watery theme to this new series of Ramblings, as Clare Balding walks along rivers, lakes and streams. In this first programme we find her exploring part of the Thames estuary in Essex, with local enthusiast, Eileen Peck. Eileen's written a book of local walks around her village of Thundersley trying to encourage locals to enjoy walking in their own area, rather than feeling they have to travel further a field. Producer: Lucy Lunt.
22/05/201424 minutes 24 seconds
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Over the Hill walkers, Windsor Great Park

This series is themed 'Ramblings Revisited' as Clare Balding walks again with some of her favourite and most memorable guests. In the spring of 2006, Clare went rambling with a female hockey team who had been walking together for 15 years. In this time they'd developed enduring friendships on as well as off the pitch. Now, eight years on - and with most of the original walkers now retired - Clare is going back to catch up with the 'Over the Hill' club. The group started-up after an advertisement was placed on the hockey club wall; it stipulated that the requirements of those attending were 'A sense of humour, walking boots or strong shoes, haversack, waterproof clothing and approximately £65 plus beer and lunch money'. The group walk in a different location each time they gather, this week they'll be in Windsor Great Park. Producer: Karen Gregor.
20/03/201424 minutes 14 seconds
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Tennyson Down, Isle of Wight

In this series of Ramblings, Clare Balding revisits some of her favourite walks and walkers. After thirteen years she returns to the Isle of Wight to meet Elizabeth Hutchings who introduced her to the Tennyson Trail. Elizabeth's late husband, Richard, was the founder of the Farringford Tennyson Society, so it was only fitting that he should have a bench, placed in his memory, under the poet's monument on top of the Down. But when Clare last visited this National Trust site, it was their policy not to have memorial plaques on benches, a disappointment to Elizabeth. But thanks to the likes of Head Ranger Robin Lang, they have reversed their position and now the bench has an inscription, to Richard, carved into the wood. Although now in her mid eighties and unable to make the steep climb onto the Down, with the help of Robin's four by four, Elizabeth and Clare once again visit the monument , the Down and Richard's seat and discuss the role walking has played in Elizabeth's long and even
13/03/201424 minutes 12 seconds
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Mental Health Walking Group, Shrewsbury

This series of Ramblings is themed 'Ramblings Revisited' as Clare catches up with people she walked with once before. In 2005 Clare rambled with a group based at the Radbrook Day Service centre in Shrewsbury, for people with mental health difficulties. The group had been running for ten years at the time of the original programme, but in the intervening years the Day Service centre was closed and the walking group folded. However one of the walkers in the original programme, clinical psychologist Penny Priest, has continued her interest in the mental health benefits of walking and introduces Clare to psychologist Guy Holmes who began a similar 'walk and talk' group in Shrewsbury which allowed original members to continue walking, and also brought new members on board. Producer: Karen Gregor.
06/03/201424 minutes 30 seconds
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Hopetoun with the Monday Walkers

In this series Clare Balding revisits some of her favourite walks and walkers from past programmes. Here she travels to the Hopetoun Estate, just west of Edinburgh to meet up with a group of women she first met twelve years ago. The Monday walkers have been together for over twenty five years, when they first met Clare, their average age was early sixties, now it's mid seventies. They explain that although walking still keeps them fit, they do now tailor their routes to take account of the passing years. A wee dram may still be part of their days outings but skinny dipping is accepted as a past pleasure. Producer: Lucy Lunt.
27/02/201424 minutes 22 seconds
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Rachael Kiddey, Avon Estuary

This series is themed 'Ramblings Revisited' as Clare Balding walks again with some of her favourite and most memorable guests. In March of 2006 Clare Balding went rambling with Rosie Barrett and her two children, Rachael and Rob. They took her on their local walk around the Avon Estuary in south Devon. It had always been part of their lives, as a route for venting teenage tantrums or simply as a ramble to the pub, but after Rosie's other son, Hugh, died of cancer at the age of 19 the walk took on a deeper significance. The family, and a hundred others, planted trees in Hugh's memory on a nearby hillside and a new section of the walk was created through dense woodland. For this programme Clare revisits Rachael and Rosie and follows the same route. Rob can't make it this time, but in his place is Jonno, Rosie's husband. It's now 11 years since Hugh died and of course the trees have grown; meanwhile Rachael now works in academia where her speciality is - appropriately enough - memory, l
20/02/201424 minutes 21 seconds
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Tom Isaacs, Chorley Wood

In this new series Clare Balding revisits some of her favourite and most memorable guests. Eleven years ago she joined Tom Isaacs in West Wales as he walked the entire coastline of Britain in an attempt to raise money and awareness for research into a cure for Parkinson's disease. Tom had been diagnosed at the exceptionally young age of twenty-seven but has always been determined not to let his condition get in the way of him leading a fulfilling and productive life. Clare now walks with Tom and his wife Lyndsey, along the river Chess, close to their home just outside London. Producer Lucy Lunt.
13/02/201424 minutes 16 seconds
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John McCarthy walks with volunteer rangers on the South Downs

John McCarthy is this week's guest presenter, while Clare is away. The theme of this series of Ramblings is listeners' walks .Today's guests are volunteer rangers on the South Downs Way, Anni Townend and Ian Lock. Anni wrote to the programme to suggest we walk with her on a six mile stretch of the Way from Housedean Farm to Southease. This is her 'patch', which - as a ranger - she walks every month carrying out conservation work including scrub clearance and hedge laying, as well as improving public access and surveying wildlife and plantlife. OS Explorer 122 South Downs Way, Steyning to Newhaven 1:25,000 Producer: Karen Gregor.
24/10/201324 minutes 7 seconds
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The Same Walk 365 Times

This week's walk is a little unusual. The guest, Cathy Dreyer, wrote to the programme to suggest we join her on a short, local route which she has chosen to walk 365 times. Cathy began her project after reading the first few pages of Robert Macfarlane's book, 'The Old Ways'. She was filled with envy at his freedom to walk in exciting, far flung places. But rather than moan about her domestic responsibilities, Cathy thought she'd respond by doing a very short walk, 365 times over. Cathy says she is using the walk to examine "what's really there" in both the natural world and in her domestic life as a parent which is repetitive and intimate, going over and over the same worn but wonderful ground. Motherhood and work means it's taking longer than a year to complete the project, something Cathy is chronicling in a blog The theme of this series of Ramblings is listeners' walks, and this week's presenter is a previous Ramblings' guest: the broadcaster,
17/10/201324 minutes 28 seconds
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Newbiggin on Lune to Kirkby Stephen

This week's Ramblings is presented by the broadcaster and musician, Dougie Vipond, who took over the map and microphone on a beautiful July day when Clare Balding was away. Dougie joined an amazing young girl, ten year old Annabelle Asher, on a stretch of the Coast to Coast walk from Newbiggin on Lune to Kirkby Stephen. With her parents' support, Annabelle spent the first couple of weeks of her summer holidays walking the entire 190 mile route in order to raise money for the Welsh Guards Afghanistan Appeal. Lieutenant Colonel Rupert Thorneloe, was the highest ranking officer to die in Afghanistan. He was a pupil at the boarding school where Annabelle's parents teach, and where Annabelle lives. When Annabelle found out what had happened to Lieutenant Colonel Thorneloe, she was determined to raise money in his memory. Always a keen walker - once turning down a trip to Disney, for the chance to climb Snowdon - Annabelle completed the Cotswold Way last year (for the same charity), and
10/10/201324 minutes 24 seconds
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Durham with Maggie and Keith Bell

Clare Balding is in Durham for today's edition of Radio4's walking series, when she joins Maggie and Keith Bell. They take her on one of their favourite routes from their home, Crook Hall, through the outskirts of the city and along the river. The couple now use walking as a time to catch up, hold business meetings and relive memories of their courtship, when they both arrived in the city over thirty years ago as students. Producer: Lucy Lunt.
03/10/201324 minutes 40 seconds
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Werca's Folk, Warkworth in Northumberland

Clare Balding is in Northumberland to join the walking group from the local women's choir, Wercas Folk. It was formed over eighteen years ago by the well- known folk singer and composer, Sandra Kerr. They set off from the village she lives in and loves very much, Warkworth. Wercas Folk, an unauditioned group, specialise in singing new and traditional folk songs about the area, its people and its history. Many of the original founder members are still in the choir and they explain it's not just the singing that keeps them turning up week after week. The group have developed a collaborative and mutually supportive ethos that has forged strong friendships, resulting in them enjoying social time together even away from the rehearsal room and concert hall. They regularly escape from home and family for weekends away to walk, talk and indulge in the odd glass of wine. As they set off on a circular route around the village they talk to Clare about the role the choir plays in their lives and
02/10/201324 minutes 44 seconds
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The Tuesday Walkers of North Devon

Clare Balding walks in Somerset as the guest of The Tuesday Walkers of North Devon. Meeting at the village of Exford on Exmoor, they set out on a six mile circular route, which, like all of the group's walks, begins and ends at a pub. All the members are retired and take their Tuesday hike as an important weekly date in their diaries. While enjoying the scenery, the company and the exercise all have good advice to offer Clare, on how to ensure a fit, healthy, active and happy retirement. Producer: Lucy Lunt.
19/09/201324 minutes 46 seconds
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Tara Bariana recalls his long walk home to India

Clare Balding walks on Cannock Chase with Tara Bariana who recalls his extraordinary walk home to India. Tara Bariana was born in Punjab, and at the age of 13 came to the UK with his mother. His father and older brother had arrived four years earlier, in 1958. In 1995 Tara decided he needed an adventure and made the decision to walk from the Midlands - where he'd grown up, married and settled - back to his home village in India. He walked to Southampton where he caught the ferry to Cherbourg. There he realised he didn't speak any French, he couldn't even say 'bonjour'... but, despite being hit by the reality of what he'd decided to do, he couldn't turn back. Nineteen months later, of almost non-stop walking, he arrived in his home village but instead of returning home, remembers thinking 'is that it?', and stayed in India for a further 18 months. On this walk, around Cannock Chase in Staffordshire, Tara is accompanied by his son, Clive, Clive's wife, Jodie, and their two children.
27/06/201324 minutes 27 seconds
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West Highland Way from Balmaha

Clare Balding walks a section of the West Highland Way, north from Balmaha, with twin sisters Pauline Walker and Fiona Rennie. Pauline and Fiona are both 'ultra runners' and they haven't, before, walked the West Highland Way. However they have run the entire route, non-stop, several times. It's one of their favourite challenges on the ultra-runner calendar; running through the night, dealing with hallucinations, and pushing themselves to the limit is all part of the experience. Clare hears about their adventures, their close and supportive relationship, and Fiona's recent battle with mouth cancer as they slow to an unfamiliar pace to enjoy the beautiful scenery north of Balmaha. Producer: Karen Gregor.
20/06/201324 minutes 24 seconds
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In Search of the Old Ways

Clare Balding walks with the celebrated author and academic, Robert Macfarlane who takes her from his home in Cambridge out onto the Icknield Way. For a man known to love mountains, Robert explains how he's slowly come to love the tame lowlands of Cambridgeshire and how he now relies on climbing trees to give him height and views. While Clare is not tempted to join him at the top of an accommodating beech tree, she's happy to admire the graffiti left on the bark. Walking out in the summer sunshine Robert shares his fascination for the ancient tracks, drove-roads and sea paths that criss-cross the British Countryside. Producer Lucy Lunt.
13/06/201324 minutes 22 seconds
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George Monbiot in search of the wild

Clare Balding goes rambling, near Machynlleth, with the writer and environmentalist, George Monbiot. The theme of this series of Ramblings is 'In Search Of.' and, together, George and Clare are walking in search of wildness. George's new book, 'Feral', is partly a personal story about his attempt to stave off the monochrome nature of modern-day life: "I could not continue just sitting and writing, looking after my daughter and my house, running merely to stay fit, watching the seasons cycling past without ever quite belonging to them. I was, I believed, ecologically bored". In this walk, George explains how he has attempted to 'rewild' his own life and describes what he believes needs to be done in order to reintroduce true wildness to our countryside through the large-scale restoration of ecosystems. He says "researching it felt like stepping through the back of the wardrobe". Using OS Explorer OL23 - Cadair Idris and Llyn Tegid - George takes Clare to his favourite place in mid-Wa
06/06/201324 minutes 26 seconds
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In Search of Love

Clare Balding meets those who have found love and companionship through walking when she joins a group to walk a section of the Greensand Way in Surrey. She speaks to Liz and James who explain how walking side-by-side took the awkwardness out of their first meeting. Liz said she knew James liked her when he started flirting like a teenager over lunch, even though she was wearing her Mum's over-sized waterproof at the time. Margaret explains how walking transformed her retirement and led to a wider range of social activities. She adds, "London can be very lonely when you live on your own". Clare hears how walk-leader Roger met his wife Sue thirty years ago on a walk, and that this history can provide a map of a relationship both literally and metaphorically. Although they walk at a different pace, Sue's keen to point out that Roger never forgets she's on the walk. Producer: Toby Field.
30/05/201324 minutes 24 seconds
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Chilterns American Women's Club hiking group

In this new series of Ramblings, Clare Balding will be walking in search of new places, new people and new experiences. In this first programme she joins the Chilterns American Women's Club hiking group, who walk in search of learning more about their new home and meeting other ex-pat spouses. The club offers a range of activities for ex-American and International women who find themselves living in Britain but the walking group is one of the most popular allowing them to discover and explore their adopted home. Later in the series Clare talks to people who walk in search of a new partner, to discover more about the environment and she walks with the celebrated author Robert MacFarlane who walks to discover the old routes. Producer Lucy Lunt.
23/05/201324 minutes 21 seconds
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Michael Weltike - Barefoot Walker

Michael Weltike tries to persuade Clare Balding of the benefits of barefoot walking on a wintry wander in the West Country. They meet at the church of St Andrew in Compton Bishop, near Weston-super-Mare, and walk from there to Crook Peak. Accompanied by Michael's permanently barefoot companion, Woody, Clare and Michael strip off from the ankles down and revel in the unusual pleasure of walking barefoot. Michael is certain that by 'earthing' himself regularly he maintains a high level of health and well-being. Producer: Karen Gregor.
14/03/201324 minutes 24 seconds
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David Sedaris

David Sedaris, the American author and comedian, takes Clare Balding on a litter-picking walk in West Sussex. When David Sedaris was a child he would clear up around the house, and keep his own bedroom perfectly tidy. This obsession has, in recent years, been transferred to the outdoors and Sedaris is now a devoted daily litter-picker, cleaning the roadside verges of Pulborough and the surrounding area. Clare imagined that this edition of Ramblings might take her across the South Downs, occasionally reaching for a stray bottle or piece of paper. In reality it involved walking less than two miles, and filling six bin bags full to bursting with all manner of filthy rubbish. All while wearing a fetching hi-viz jacket. A very unusual edition of Ramblings!
07/03/201324 minutes 21 seconds
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Toyah Willcox

Actress and singer, Toyah Willcox, takes Clare Balding for a walk in rural Worcestershire. The theme for this series of Ramblings is 'self-improvement' and for Toyah - who has always had problems with her joints, including a recent hip replacement - walking is the perfect exercise. She says it helps her keep her weight down and remain active. Clare met Toyah at Croome Landscape Park, a National Trust Property famous for its stunning grounds designed by Capability Brown. Unfortunately Toyah was injured - 97 pantomime performances over Christmas had taken their toll - but, crutch in hand, the ramble went ahead. By the end of the walk, during which Toyah discussed her serendipitous route into show business and forthcoming performance in a 'bawdy' show called Hormonal Housewives, she actually felt better. Proof, she said, that walking is one of the best ways to remain healthy. Producer: Karen Gregor.
28/02/201324 minutes 38 seconds
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Walking with friends

Clare Balding explores the beautiful Longdendale Trail in Derbyshire, joining long -term friends, Tracey Standring and Christine Valentine. They explain the vital role walking has played in their lives, cementing their friendship and keeping them sane and healthy. They've been walking together for over a year now and they explore new places each week. Neither are keen or particularly competent map readers and Clare tries to convert them with her own expertise, although with a gale blowing along the valley, it's not all that easy. Producer Lucy Lunt.
21/02/201323 minutes 48 seconds
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Walking for Spiritual Renewal

Clare Balding is walking for self improvement in this series of Ramblings and today she hopes to find a new inner calm with the help of Dr Kate Kirkwood. Kate attempts to lead Clare on a path of spiritual renewal by teaching her to walk silently. Silence is not a state that comes naturally to Clare but as she and Kate walk where the mood takes them, in the Herefordshire countryside just outside Hay on Wye, they discover why walking can be one of the bet forms of stress relief. Producer: Lucy Lunt.
16/02/201324 minutes 22 seconds
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The Walking Book Group

Clare Balding is walking for self improvement in this new series of Ramblings; in six weeks time she hopes to be smarter, fitter, calmer and cleverer. In this first programme she joins a walking book group in North London, who find wandering on Hampstead Heath much more conducive to discussing literature than sitting round a coffee table. The walking book group is the brainchild of Emily Rhodes from the local Daunt book shop.Emily explains to Clare how she chooses the books each month and why she thinks the group attracts a growing and enthusiastic following. The book under discussion today is Elizabeth Taylor's Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont. Clare, an English graduate, joins in enthusiastically with her opinions on the novel as well as discussing with fellow group members the issues of aging, loneliness and retirement homes. Archie, her Tibetan Terrier accompanies Clare but is sadly, not improved by the experience. Producer: Lucy Lunt.
09/02/201324 minutes 33 seconds
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Steve Backshall

Clare Balding walks with naturalist, author & TV presenter, Steve Backshall. Together they stroll along his favourite stretch of the Thames from Bourne End to Boulter's Lock in Buckinghamshire. Steve is best known for presenting CBBC's 'Deadly 60', and has recently started writing children's fiction - his first book is 'Tiger Wars', about a group of renegade children who become involved with tiger poaching in India. He spends a lot of time filming abroad so Clare was lucky to catch up with him on his home patch. As they wander along the Thames, Steve explains that his love of the outdoors began when - as a child - his parents sent him and his sister out to play and told them not to come back until it was dark. This kind of 'feral' (as he put it) freedom developed in him an enduring passion for the natural world. Producer: Karen Gregor.
25/10/201224 minutes 18 seconds
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Simon Evans of the Wye and Usk Foundation

Clare Balding walks with Simon Evans and his family along a tributary of the Usk, in the shadow of the Sugar Loaf. Simon is a passionate fisherman and river conservationist who works for the Wye and Usk Foundation. Simon's wife Hazel and their two children - Freya and Arlo - also joined in... Freya contributing musical accompaniment (Peter Rabbit had a fly upon his nose...) and Arlo narrowly avoiding tree-branches from his elevated position in Simon's backpack. A highlight was discovering otter spraint under a bridge - concrete evidence of recent otter activity. It's lilac-scented although perhaps not (as Clare pointed out) enough to warrant taking it home and putting it in her chest of drawers... An extraordinary 1000 year old sweet chestnut tree loomed into view towards the end of the walk... one of the boughs as big as a sizable tree. Clare's attempts to create a human circle ended in tears.. not her's... rather Freya's nose got rather too close to the trunk. We started at the Re
18/10/201224 minutes 22 seconds
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Samuel West at Rainham Marshes in Essex

Clare Balding walks with the actor, and passionate bird-watcher, Samuel West around one of his favourite birding spots, the RSPB reserve at Rainham Marshes in Essex. Currently in rehearsals for a West End production of Uncle Vanya, Samuel West takes a day off to share with Clare Balding his deep love of birding. He's drawn to birdlife because, he says, it reflects human-nature so well, "birds interact with the world through colour and song, both of which we - as humans - really get." A trip to Kenya at the age of 14 ignited this passion; "In Britain, birds were 3 inches long and brown.. in Kenya they were 7ft tall and couldn't fly, or bright blue... they were easy to tell apart... that's where it all started". Producer: Karen Gregor.
11/10/201224 minutes 40 seconds
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Dublin Bay with Eanna Ni Lamhna

Clare Balding continues her series of wildlife walks with a visit to the Irish Coast. Today it's "Ramblings reunited", as she is joined again by Irish naturalist and broadcaster Eanna Ni Lamhna and her husband John Harding. Clare Balding last walked with her on a 'holiday hike' in the Wicklow mountains in September 2002. Today expert naturalist and broadcaster Eanna, takes her on a beautiful tour of the diverse wildlife havens of her home city, Dublin. They dig for lugworms and talk Ulysses in Sandymount strand. They discover the unlikely winter stopover of flocks of thousands of Brent geese - Fontenoy Football Club (the geese have a taste for the well mown turf!) On they walk to Ringsend Nature Reserve. In this a wonderful elevated wooded area, built on reclaimed builders rubble, they find a haven for linnets, goldfinches, blackbirds, wrens, curlews and egrets in the surrounded by wonderful views of the Dublin mountains and city spires. As they walk, they revisit their walk,
04/10/201224 minutes 27 seconds
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The Wicklow Mountains with Eanna Ni Lamhna

Environmentalist and well-known broadcaster Eanna Ni Lamhna takes Clare into the fabulous walking country of the Wicklow Mountains. She's a mine of information on many subjects and keeps Clare entertained as they climb - to be rewarded by a view of the lakes of Glendalough.
04/10/201227 minutes 53 seconds
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Taxidermists in Boston Spa, West Yorkshire

In this series Clare Balding is going on wildlife walks around the UK. Today Clare meets taxidermists and life long friends Dave Astley, Mike Gadd and James Dickinson. They follow Mike's daily route along the river Wharfe in West Yorkshire to observe the rich variety of local animals, insects and birds. Taxidermists might not be the first people who spring to mind when you think about wildlife-lovers. However, the intimate knowledge of the anatomy and behaviour of birds and animals that a successful taxidermist needs, can only be developed through detailed observation of the natural world. So for a taxidermist a walk can become a valuable research trip. Dave, James and Mike are three of the UK's leading taxidermists. They have worked with exotic animals, repaired museum specimens of extinct creatures and worked with international British Fine artists. They've even created mythical beasts. Over 20 years the trio have worked and walked together. Clare joins them to find out more a
27/09/201224 minutes 39 seconds
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Richmond Park, London, with Artist Nicola Hicks

In this series of Ramblings Clare Balding is going on wildlife walks around the UK. Today she is in Richmond Park in London with internationally renowned sculptor and artist Nicola Hicks M.B.E. Nicola's work focuses on animals sculpted in straw and clay and drawn on huge sheets of paper. Dynamic and distinctive, it has gained wide critical and public acclaim. Her statues of a dog in Battersea Park and a giant beetle in Bristol have become local landmarks. Twenty years ago, Hicks grew tired of the pressures of the London art scene and decided to make her artistic love of wildlife a reality. She decided to move her growing family to Cumbria and become a sheep farmer. It was steep learning curve with many joys and setbacks. As Clare and Nicola explore the surprisingly rich wildlife habitats of Richmond Park, she discusses her acclaimed artwork, her deep love of British countryside and wildlife and the highs and lows of adapting to rural living. Having just taken the decision to sell
20/09/201224 minutes 22 seconds
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Whitley Bay with Barry Stone

Clare Balding is walking with dogs (and their owners) throughout this series of Ramblings. Prog 6 - Whitley Bay with Barry Stone In this week's programme Clare Balding meets author Barry Stone, his partner Paul and their dog, Bonzo the black Lab. Barry's childhood was coloured by the secret of his father's homosexuality and alcoholism; both parents had been traumatised by their experiences during the second world war and Barry had a deep personal struggle in coming to terms with his own sexuality. Over the years he attempted to write his story - eventually burning one manuscript of 300,000 words - and it was only at his mother's funeral that he was struck by the need to write through the 'voice' of Brucie (his childhood pet dog). The resulting book, a semi-autobiographical novel called 'Barking at Winston' was initially self-published with local distribution but was quickly picked up commercially and is now selling successfully around the country. Barry and Paul take Clare on a
28/06/201224 minutes 42 seconds
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Pen Farthing on Dartmoor

Clare Balding is walking with dogs (and their owners) throughout this series of Ramblings. Prog 5: Pen Farthing on Dartmoor Pen Farthing is a former Royal Marine; while serving in Afghanistan he rescued an Afghan fighting dog which he named NowZad after the village where his unit was based. He brought NowZad back to the UK (which in itself required military-style planning) and when he left the Marines started a charity which runs a shelter in Afghanistan for stray and abandoned animals. The central aim of the charity is to catch, neuter and release stray dogs to prevent the population growing yet further. Pen lives in Tiverton in Devon and, for this edition of Ramblings, he takes Clare Balding on a wild walk across Dartmoor. Accompanying them is Patchdog (a massive Afghan Kuchi) and Maxchap (rescued from Iraq). Sadly Nowzad is a little old for such a long walk, but his story is central. Producer Karen Gregor.
21/06/201224 minutes 31 seconds
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Larkhall, South Lanarkshire

Clare Balding is walking with dogs (and their owners) throughout this series of Ramblings. Prog 4: Larkhall, South Lanarkshire. This week Clare Balding travels to Larkhall in South Lanarkshire to meet Scott Cunningham. A veteran of some of Britain's long-distance walks (including the West Highland Way, the Pennine Way and the Southern Upland Way) as well as the bagger of multiple Munroes, he never walks without the dog, he describes as his 'best-mate', Travis. On this walk around the Larkhall area, he describes the intensity of their relationship and the joy of his companionship. This will be a particularly moving walk for Scott, as Travis - who is a guide-dog - is retiring the following day, and a new dog, Milo, will take over. Scott was awarded an MBE last year for his achievements, which include raising over £150,000 for Guide Dogs for the Blind. Producer Karen Gregor.
14/06/201224 minutes 44 seconds
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Alnmouth, Northumberland

Clare Balding is walking with dogs (and their owners) in this series of Ramblings. Programme 3: Alnmouth, Northumberland If you go walking with a dog, something extraordinary happens: complete strangers will talk to you. Sometimes this doesn't go any further than a regular 'good morning' but occasionally strong friendships are formed. On this week's Ramblings Clare Balding goes walking in rural Northumberland with Kelly Smith and her friend Carolyn Ryan. They met while dog-walking and struck up a close friendship which is mirrored by the incredibly strong connection between their dogs: Mel the Border Terrier and Kizzy the Lurcher. The walk begins in Kelly's kitchen, where her partner (the author Val McDermid) explains why a Border Terrier was such an obvious choice of dog for this neck of the woods. Then (leaving Val behind to make bacon sandwiches for their return), Clare, Kelly and Carolyn head down to the beach for a bracing, uplifting walk. Kelly and Carolyn explain how thei
07/06/201224 minutes 32 seconds
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Clare Balding is walking with dogs (and their owners) in this new series of Ramblings. Prog 5: Dartmoor with Alex Lyons who is a search and rescue dog handler. Alex Lyons is a dog handler with the Tavistock-Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team. He and several members of his team - and their dogs - take Clare for a wild, wet and windy walk on Dartmoor. Clare sees how the rescue dogs work, and asks why anyone would want to spend their leisure time doing a voluntary job which is exhausting and occasionally upsetting. The answer? A sense of fulfilment, the opportunity to spend time in beautiful and remote countryside, and - of course - the joy of working with highly trained and intelligent dogs (who make their presence felt, and heard, throughout the programme). Producer Karen Gregor.
31/05/201224 minutes 44 seconds
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Flamborough Head to Bridlington

Clare Balding is walking with dogs (and their owners) in this new series of Ramblings. Programme 1: Flamborough Head to Bridlington with Stuart Jessup, Kate Atkin and Poppy the springer spaniel. Stuart Jessup and his springer spaniel, Poppy, started an 8 month, 2,500 mile walk around the English coast in October 2011. Occasionally joined by Stuart's wife, Kate, Stuart is walking as part of a campaign to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness, and to raise money for Sane and Anxiety UK. Clare Balding joined Stuart, Kate and Poppy for a stretch of the walk from Flamborough Head to Bridlington on the Yorkshire Coast, to hear more about his adventures. Poppy has been central to the success of the walk; her friendliness encourages conversations between Stuart and other walkers, who often reveal their own problems with depression - both parties leaving the encounter enriched. Producer Karen Gregor.
31/05/201224 minutes 51 seconds
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Sir Andrew Motion

In the final programme in a series of inspirational walks, Clare Balding is joined by the former poet laureate, Sir Andrew Motion, to walk around the village of Stisted in Essex. As they walk around the village, Sir Andrew tells Clare about his memories of growing up in the village where he was first inspired to write poetry. Presenter: Clare Balding Producer: Helen Chetwynd.
15/03/201224 minutes 34 seconds
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Brecon Beacons - Art in the Park

Clare Balding walks part of the Beacons Way in the Brecon Beacons National Park to find out how people are being inspired to create their own response to the surrounding landscape. The Park's landscape has inspired artists for generations and today Clare is joined by Robert Macdonald, one of 8 artists to create a series of images which are set into stone along sections of the footpath as part of a project called 'Art in the Park'. Groups from schools and colleges, as well as people from outside of the Park boundaries, have been encouraged to walk sections of the Beacons Way and gain inspiration themselves from the art work and from the landscape around them. Leading the walk today are some of the people involved with the project from both National Park and the Brecon Beacons Park Society and, as they walk, Clare talks to members of a group from Drugaid Cymru to find out how the project is helping, and inspiring, them. Presenter: Clare Balding Producer: Helen Chetwynd.
08/03/201224 minutes 27 seconds
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Kinder Scout

Almost 80 years since the Mass Trespass on Kinder Scout, Clare Balding joins ramblers from Manchester and Sheffield to mark this inspirational moment in walking history. On April 24th 1932, around 400 ramblers from Lancashire set off from Bowden Bridge quarry near Hayfield to walk up onto the plateau of Kinder Scout, the highest point in the Derbyshire Peak District, in protest at the lack of the right to roam on open land. As they scrambled upwards towards the moorland plateau of Kinder, the trespassers were met and confronted by the Duke of Devonshire's gamekeepers. A group of ramblers from Sheffield, who had also set off that morning from Edale, did eventually reach the plateau and the two groups met up before turning and retracing their steps. The following day six of the Manchester ramblers were arrested and imprisoned, a move which was to outrage many people and serve only to highlight and sympathise with the ramblers cause, resulting finally in the Countryside and Rights of Wa
01/03/201224 minutes 46 seconds
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Storytelling in Cornwall

In the third in a series of inspirational walks for Ramblings, Clare Balding is in Cornwall where she is joined by writer and storyteller, Anna Maria Murphy. Inspired by the story of Mary Kelynack, an 84 year old Cornish fishwife who walked from Newlyn to London in 1851, Anna decided to walk all over Cornwall meeting people along the way and gathering stories to inspire her writing. Using ancient routes and seldom used footpaths, Anna set off with a notebook and pen and describes her journey as possibly the single most inspirational thing she has ever done in her life. Today, Clare joins Anna to walk from the small coastal fishing town of Looe to Polperro, the village where Anna was born. Although this route usually forms part of the popular South West Coast Path, Clare and Anna choose to head inland following woodland footpaths and the 'roads less travelled' of Cornwall before heading to Talland Bay where they pick up the coast path for the last section of the walk. Who will they mee
23/02/201224 minutes 44 seconds
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Northern Ireland - The Wee Binnians

In the second in a series of inspirational walks, Clare Balding joins members of the Wee Binnians, Northern Ireland's biggest walking club. The walking club was set up in 1987 by Veronica McCann who, over the years, has inspired countless people to join her in walking the hills and valleys of Northern Ireland's Mourne Mountains. Described by Veronica as 'a social group that walks, the Wee Binnians Walking Club is open to anyone over 16 and the club is the embodiment of a cross-community, cross-border group whose members share a passion for walking. Today Clare joins just some of the 300 club members to climb to the summit of Slieve Binnian, the third highest mountain in Northern Ireland. She hears from Veronica, a self-confessed non-walker beforehand, about what inspired her to set up the group, why it is so important to her and then from some of the members about what the club - and Veronica - mean to them. Presenter: Clare Balding Producer: Helen Chetwynd.
16/02/201224 minutes 45 seconds
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Kent - Octavia Hill Centenary Trail

Clare Balding returns with a new series of Ramblings in which she joins people who have either been inspired, or have inspired others, to walk in the British countryside. In the first of the series Clare joins keen walker and Director General of the National Trust, Dame Fiona Reynolds, to walk a section of the new Octavia Hill Centenary Trail in Kent. Co-founder of the National Trust, Octavia Hill passionately believed that green space was essential for a healthy lifestyle and spent her life campaigning to save these disappearing open spaces from development. Beginning at Toys Hill in Kent, one of the places that Octavia managed to save, Clare and Fiona set off to walk part of the Trail which has been created to mark the centenary of Octavia's death. A keen walker herself, Fiona tells Clare why she finds Octavia Hill's legacy so inspirational and why walking and the British landscape is so important to her. Presenter: Clare Balding Producer: Helen Chetwynd.
09/02/201224 minutes 53 seconds
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Devon - Hope Cove to Salcombe

Clare Balding joins Gordon and Caroline Luff and their son, Sam, to walk a section of the South West Coastal Path from Hope Cove to Salcombe. This is thought to be one of the most beautiful stretches of the 630 mile long distance footpath where kestrels and peregrine falcons can be seen flying above the cliffs and seals can sometimes be seen down below. The walk is one that Gordon and Caroline have done several times but, after surviving breast cancer in 2001, Caroline then faced agonising back pain resulting in spinal surgery in 2010. Throughout both her treatment for cancer and surgery on her back, Caroline was determined to continue with the walking that she loves. The last time Gordon and Caroline walked from Hope Cove to Salcombe ended in tears with Caroline convinced that she would never walk again. Along with their son Sam, Clare joins Gordon and Caroline as they return to the aptly named Hope Cove to walk the route to Salcombe, something that Caroline can now do pain-free. And
22/10/201124 minutes 44 seconds
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Lincolnshire - The Wolds

In the fifth of this series of listener's walks, Clare Blading sets out three people who live in Lincolnshire and share a passion for the Wolds. Listener, Mike Garrs, invited Clare to join him in the landscape that he loves and where he walks regularly with friends. They are joined by Pete Skipworth, who has traced his ancestry in the Lincolnshire Wolds back to the fourteenth century and who has also been walking the area for 30 years, and Louise Niekirk from the Lincolnshire Countryside Service which organises the annual Lincolnshire Walking Festival. In a walk which begins in the village of Tealby and passes through Walesby and the centuries-old Ramblers Church before arriving at Normanby-le-Wold, Clare discovers that Lincolnshire is not as flat as most people think as the path reaches the dizzy heights of around 500 feet with stunning views across the landscape. Presenter: Clare Balding Producer: Helen Chetwynd.
15/10/201124 minutes 44 seconds
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Discovering Kent from Chilham to Wye

In the fourth in a series of listener suggestions for Ramblings, Clare Balding walks part of the ancient track of the Pilgrim's Way in Kent. Often thought of as a 'corridor', the county that travellers pass through en route to somewhere else, the Kent countryside has much to offer, as Clare discovers . Clare joins a group of friend who, since retiring, meet regularly to walk some of the 4,000 miles of footpaths that Kent has to offer. To date, the group have walked around half of these and today they follow the ancient Pilgrim's Way over the North Downs from Chilham to Wye. The Pilgrim's Way is the historic route supposed to have been taken by pilgrims from Winchester in Hampshire, to the shrine of Thomas Becket at Canterbury in Kent. Visited by tourists worldwide, Chilham is located in the valley of the Great Stour river. It is well known for its beauty and has been the location of choice for several film locations and tv dramas. The walk then goes on to Kings Wood, home in spring t
08/10/201124 minutes 37 seconds
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Dales Way

In the third programme in a series of walks suggested by listeners, Clare Balding joins Colin Speakman, creator of the Dales Way and campaigner for walkers' rights. The Dales Way is one of Britain's most popular and cherished routes and for over 40 years walkers have followed its route from Ilkley in Yorkshire to Bowness-on-Windermere, passing through the heart of the Yorkshire Dales National Park and the foothills of southern Lakeland. Clare and Colin are joined by Colin's wife, Fleur and listener Chris Grogan who, along with husband Tony, created the Dales Highway, a sister route to the Dales Way which does what it says on the tin and follows a higher level route from Saltaire to Appleby-in-Westmoreland. As they follow the course of the River Wharf, through the dale of the same name, Clare hears from Colin and Chris about their passion for walking in this landscape. Colin explains about the imagination of the Romantic writers who who inspired generations of people to enjoy the count
01/10/201124 minutes 50 seconds
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The Roaches and Lud's Church

In the second of a series of walks suggested by listeners to Ramblings, Clare Balding explores the area around the gritstone escarpment of The Roaches on the edge of the Peak District. The Roaches form a prominent rocky ridge situated above Leek in Staffordshire and this spectacular rocky escarpment, worn into weird and wonderful shapes over centuries by the elements, almost seems to stand guard over all below it. On a clear day from the summit of the Roaches it is possible to look out over the Cheshire Plain towards the Welsh Hills with spectacular views all around. Clare is joined by listener, Professor Mike Bode, and local author and historian, Doug Pickford, both of whom were born and brought up in Leek and share a passion for this landscape. Steven Bell, from the Peak District National Park, also guides Clare on the first part of her journey as she climbs up on to the gritstone edge of the Roaches. Before beginning the ascent, Clare visits the Bawdstone, where it is said that p
24/09/201124 minutes 44 seconds
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John Jones - Walking & Gigging

Clare Balding returns with a new series of walks based on suggestions from listeners to the programme. The series begins as Clare joins John Jones, lead singer and melodeon player of the folk rock group, Oysterband. Back in 2009, John decided to bring together the two passions in his life, walking and music. Marrying the private and public for the first time, he set off on the Feet Don't Fail Me Tour, in which he walked from gig to gig sometimes covering up to 20 miles a day before arriving in the next town for the next evening's show. Since then, John has completed two further walking tours, the latest being the "Spine of England" in May 2011 during which he walked with his group the Reluctant Ramblers across the Pennines. Playing gigs in and around the Peak District, he picked up friends, fans and fellow musicians along the way. Today Clare joins John high up in the Chiltern Hills. They take one of the most spectacular paths down the chalk escarpment and on to the Ridgeway, walking t
20/09/201124 minutes 50 seconds
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Alderley Edge - Alan Garner

Alan Garner spent his early childhood in Alderley Edge, Cheshire, England, and he remains associated with the area. Many of his works, including The Weirdstone of Brisingamen and The Moon of Gomrath, are drawn from local legends and locations. Clare Balding walks with him to hear more about the area and how it inspired his writing.
25/06/201124 minutes 29 seconds
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Daphne Du Maurier - Fowey

Daphne Du Maurier lived and worked in Cornwall and the area surrounding Fowey features in many of her novels. Today the town is home to the annual Daphne Du Maurier festival and this year is it's 10th anniversary. Clare Balding discovers how the area inspired many features of Du Mauriers work and meets local experts including Du Maurier's son.
18/06/201124 minutes 32 seconds
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Darwin - Quantock Hills

Inspired by Richard Dawkins book 'The Ancestor's tale: a pilgrimage to the dawn of life' the 'Ancestor's Trail' is intended as a celebration of evolution. Darwin's Tree is represented by footpaths over the Quantock hills and whilst some walkers will begin the 13 mile hike representing the human journey others may join as elephants, reptiles or even jellyfish further down the line. Clare Balding meets those taking part in the celebrations and finds out why they feel evolution itself should be celebrated.
11/06/201124 minutes 25 seconds
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Malcolm Saville - Shropshire

Clare Balding joins walkers and members of the Malcolm Saville society in the Shropshire Hills where the author of children's fiction based his Lone Pine series.
04/06/201124 minutes 24 seconds
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Hereford - Bruce Chatwin

Clare Balding walks on the Black Hill near to Hereford in the footsteps of novelist Bruce Chatwin who explored the border between Wales and England for his eponymous novel. She's joined by local writer and walker Bill Laws.
28/05/201124 minutes 24 seconds
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Heptonstall - Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath

Clare Balding is back with a new series of walks with a literary theme, beginning in Heptonstall, the childhood home of poet Ted Hughes, and the burial place of his wife, Sylvia Plath. The rugged landscape influenced not only their work but many other poets. Clare joins John Billingsley a keen rambler and Hughes enthusiast, as well as other writers and walkers to experience the harsh beauty of Bronte Country.
21/05/201124 minutes 33 seconds
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Birmingham - Lickey Hills

In the last programme of the series, Stuart Maconie walks the Lickey Hills overlooking Birmingham with a group of first time walkers, from the inner city.
12/03/201124 minutes 25 seconds
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Manchester - Marsden

Stuart Maconie takes in the Manchester skyline with poet Simon Armitage on his home turf.
05/03/201124 minutes 44 seconds
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Wales - Garth

Continuing his series of short walks for winter days that take in city skylines, Stuart Maconie walks the Garth outside of Cardiff with a group who call themselves Welsh Women Walking. As they admire spectacular views of the city and over the Bristol Channel to Somerset and Devon, Stuart hears from one woman who says these walks with her friends, saved her life and sanity after the death of her son.
26/02/201124 minutes 20 seconds
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Lancaster - Slyne

Broadcaster, journalist and keen walker Stuart Maconie continues this series of Ramblings, finding walks that are perfect for short winter days and which offer skyline views of British cities. Today, he's setting out from the village of Slyne in Lancashire and heading to look over the historical city of Lancaster. Producer: Helen Chetwynd.
19/02/201124 minutes 50 seconds
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Ireland - Belfast Hills

Journalist and keen walker Stuart Maconie is presenting this series of Ramblings and is setting out to find accessible walks that offer great city views, perfect for people who want to get out and walk on these short, dark winter days. Among the cities he has in his sights are Belfast, Bath and Cardiff.
12/02/201124 minutes 41 seconds
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Somerset - Bath Skyline

Journalist and passionate hiker, Stuart Maconie hosts this series of Ramblings on Radio 4, embarking on the first of six city skyline walks, perfect for first time walkers or for those who don't want to venture too far on these short winter days, but who still want to enjoy the fresh air. In this first programme, Stuart takes in the stunning views on the Bath Skyline Walk.
05/02/201124 minutes 31 seconds
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Scotland - Glasgow Necropolis

Clare Balding walks through the magnificent Glasgow Necropolis, a green oasis in the heart of the city.
23/10/201024 minutes 24 seconds
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Scotland - Pentland Hills

Clare Balding walks with the Friends of the Pentland Hills near Edinburgh, a group who share a love of what the writer Robert Louis Stevenson referred to as 'the hills of home'.
16/10/201024 minutes 19 seconds
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Derbyshire - Wardlow

Clare Balding walks with a group of women who have produced their own book of walks in the Peak District called 'Women's Ways' that celebrates their friendships and the countryside around their home city of Sheffield. Producer: Maggie Ayre.
09/10/201024 minutes 29 seconds
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Gloucestershire - Forest of Dean

Clare Balding is in the Forest of Dean with a group who've been walking through the county of Gloucestershire for two months with donkeys. As part of the Cultural Olympiad Sarah Blowers, along with various artists, children and people who've just tagged along, set off to discover the beauty of the countryside at a slow pace, setting camp at the end of each day's walk. Everyone Clare meets as she joins them at Soudley to walk through the forest is enthusiastic about the gentle pace of life they're experiencing walking with the donkeys carrying their provisions. Producer: Maggie Ayre.
02/10/201024 minutes 18 seconds
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Wiltshire - Swindon

Clare Balding walks through the Wiltshire countryside with a Swindon based group of people with early onset dementia. The support they give one another on their weekly walks means they feel less isolated and more positive about the condition, and so what if they occasionally get lost. Producer: Maggie Ayre.
25/09/201024 minutes 27 seconds
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London - Hampstead Heath

Clare Balding takes a walk on Hampstead Heath with a group of inner city Londoners who are being encouraged to discover the green places of their city, often for the first time. The residents of the Harrow Road are mainly non white, so there has been a special drive to help them discover the joys of walking called 'It's My Country'.
18/09/201024 minutes 32 seconds