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Please Switch to my New Blog

April 11, 2018

Over the Hills has now been archived.

Please do switch to my new blog:


Please switch to the new blog

August 30, 2015

Over the Hills is now just an archive blog, so there will be no more updates,

But I’d be thrilled if you would follow my NEW outdoor blog at

Just click on the link and press follow at the top of the page.

There is also my writing blog at:

and, if you like crime, thriller and mystery stories please also follow us at:

John’s New Blog

August 7, 2015

Please do visit my NEW outdoors blog at

My Writing blog is now at

And we feature our crime and thriller writing at

Not so benign?

July 26, 2015


Last week I went to a reception at the House of Lords to celebrate England’s national parks. It was held in the Attlee Room, under the shrewdly benign gaze of Clem Attlee whose portrait hung on the wall.  Since he was prime minister at the time of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949, this seemed entirely appropriate.

Clem Attlee Clem Attlee

I recalled an event organised by the Outdoor Industries’ Association in 2012 in the Strangers’ dining room.  There hangs a fine painting of Chequers by Marcus May, who was commissioned to paint official residences.  That too was relevant for the event, for it features Beacon Hill behind Chequers where, with some difficulty, we won the freedom to roam under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000.

Chequers by Marcus May, with Beacon Hill behind Chequers by Marcus May, with Beacon Hill behind

Last week’s reception, called Love your national parks, was organised by National Parks England…

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Flawed at Fawley

July 26, 2015


On Thursday 2 July I decided to take a stroll on the Buckinghamshire side of the River Thames on Fawley footpath 12.  It runs from Henley along the west bank of the river, across a stream on a footbridge, and a meadow with a fine view of the magnificent seventeenth-century Fawley Court (which, with its 27 acres of grounds, is valued at £22 million).  It then enters Temple Island Meadow site of special scientific interest and joins the A4155 Marlow road.

Fawley Court from the footpath Fawley Court from the footpath

Henley regatta was in full flow.  When I reached the meadow after the footbridge I found a sign, ‘Private property, no trespassers’, and a blue rope funnelling walkers around the edge of the field.

Photo 1, misleading sign

Naturally I kept walking on the definitive path straight across the meadow, and was accosted by two security men from Dynamic Protection who claimed that I was trespassing and that…

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Please switch to the new blog

May 24, 2015

I hope if you’ve followed my blogs so far that you’ll switch to my new one as below. Over the Hills won’t be updated from now on but will continue only as an archive.

I really enjoy hearing your comments so please do click Follow on the new blog and come along for the walk.

Freedom to Roam is the new blog of the writer and access campaigner John Bainbridge.

The address to find us is

If you’ve been following my old blog Over the Hills (at you’ll know what to expect.

Lots of content about country walking, hill-tramping and stravaiging.

Plus news and views on threats to the countryside.

Given the threats to countryside protection legislation and new challenges to YOUR right to walk in our countryside, I feel we need to up the campaigning game.

So this site will also be calling for the Right to Roam across much of Britain.

And we’ll be nudging access and conservation organisations to do more active campaigning.

My views on this are set out in full in my book “The Compleat Trespasser”. See the page link above for further information on how to order a copy.

If you want to see my Over the Hills blog for lots of ideas on walking it will be staying in existence as an archive blog.

So if you love to walk in Britain, please click Follow and come along for the walk!

David Sharp, father of the Thames

May 13, 2015


David Sharp—designer, illustrator, writer, campaigner, organiser, walker, vice-president of the Ramblers and much else—has died aged 89.  He was a great man in many respects—and all the greater for his self-effacing modesty. 

His work was the public face of the Ramblers through the 1960s to 1980s.  Chris Hall, who was secretary of the Ramblers from 1969-74, wrote in Making Tracks, published for the Ramblers fiftieth jubilee in 1985: ‘A professional designer and artist David has done more than any single person to give the RA a crisp public visual image over the years.’

RA logoDavid produced countless logos and leaflets—the Ramblers’ trademark rucksack logo, the series of policy documents Briefs for the Countryside, the logo for national footpaths week, the leaflet for national parks day 1972.  He designed and wrote much of South Eastern Rambler and its successor South East Walker, packed with regional news and very popular…

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