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Please switch to my new blog

April 28, 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 http://www.thefreedomtoroam.com

If you’ve been following my old blog Over the Hills (at http://www.stravaigerjohn.wordpress.com) 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!

Robin Hood

April 26, 2015

My new historical novel “Loxley – The Chronicles of Robin Hood” is out today in paperback and eBook.

Do click on the link at the bottom of this post and take a look.

A hooded man has come to the forest.
Sherwood Forest.

Come to fight for the poor and desperate. Come to fight for freedom against the overlords imposing tyranny on those who can’t fight back.

Robin of Loxley has already been proclaimed an outlaw and rebel in Richard the Lionheart’s England.

Embittered after a failed rebellion, armed with a longbow and a sword, Robin faces his greatest challenge – defeating the despotic Sheriff of Nottingham, the deadly Sir Guy of Gisborne and the cruel Master of Newark Castle Sir Brian du Bois.

Proclaimed wolfshead in Sherwood, Robin of Loxley becomes Robin Hood.

Sherwood Forest his only refuge.

In the struggle against injustice Robin Hood fights alongside the other wolfsheads of Sherwood – Will Scarlet, Little John, Much and a renegade monk called Tuck. And a mysterious archer who kills tyrants in the greenwood.

Their deeds will become legendary.

Loxley – complete in itself – is the first in a four-part sequence The Chronicles of Robin Hood.

There is also an historical note by the author on the origins of the Robin Hood legend. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Loxley-Chronicles-Robin-John-Bainbridge-ebook/dp/B00WMJXRUC/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1430035681&sr=1-1&keywords=Loxley

See my new blog

April 22, 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 http://www.thefreedomtoroam.com

If you’ve been following my old blog Over the Hills (at http://www.stravaigerjohn.wordpress.com) 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!

Hawl i grwydro (freedom to roam)

April 21, 2015

Always pleased to see a mention of Bryce.

CampaignerKate

I was in Oriel College, Oxford, last week and passed this portrait of college fellow James Bryce, by George Reid, on the stairs.  When he was MP for South Aberdeen, James Bryce promoted his Access to Mountains Bill (1884). Unfortunately, although he reintroduced it many times, it never became an act.

James Bryce by George Reid James Bryce by George Reid

His efforts were followed by those of the Liberal MP for Meirionnydd,  north Wales, Tom Ellis.  In 1888 he introduced The Mountain-Access and Footpath Bill for Wales.  He was private secretary to John Brunner who was at that time treasurer of the Commons Preservation Society and MP for Northwich in Cheshire.

Archive
I was interested to find an article in The Spectator archive, somewhat to the left of where it is now, which reports on Ellis’s bill.

The Elan Valley near Rhayader: public access was won here in 1892. Photo: Liz Fleming-Williams The Elan Valley near Rhayader: public access was won here in 1892. Photo: Liz Fleming-Williams

It is evident that…

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Please move to my new blog

April 12, 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 http://www.thefreedomtoroam.com

If you’ve been following my old blog Over the Hills (at http://www.stravaigerjohn.wordpress.com) 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!

Please move to my new blog site

April 3, 2015

I hope if you’ve followed my blogs so far that you’ll switch to my new one as 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 http://www.thefreedomtoroam.com

If you’ve been following my old blog Over the Hills (at http://www.stravaigerjohn.wordpress.com) 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!

A Corpse Road in Swaledale

March 27, 2015

There was a thick mist as we made out way over from Kirkby Stephen to Keld in Swaledale, but by the time we reached the tiny village, which is on both the Pennine Way and the Coast to Coast Path, it had melted away, leaving clear views down the dale and over the lonely and seemingly endless stretches of moorland.

Keld, (c) John Bainbridge 2015

Keld, (c) John Bainbridge 2015

We had come to walk part of the corpse road, along which the dead of Keld were carried the twelve miles to the parish church of Grinton, to be buried. And a wild journey it must have been in bad weather, for the stretch that we walked, between Keld and Muker is both high and exposed.

Keld itself feels like the village on the edge of the world. As Wainwright says in his Coast to Coast Guide “a sundial records the hours, but time is measured in centuries in Keld.” On the lane out of the village is the war memorial, commemorating the four men of the district who died in the Great War. But were they to come back they would hardly believe they had been away at all, so unchanged in this village.

The Corpse Road on Kisdon Hill (c) John Bainbridge 2015

The Corpse Road on Kisdon Hill (c) John Bainbridge 2015

The corpse road is a well-defined track climbing the western side of Kisdon Hill, offering grand views over this quiet and unspoilt land. Now as you’ll know from previous blogs, I have a great interest in corpse roads. But this seems a particularly unspoiled example. If you met a corpse-carrying party who’ve wandered in from the Middle Ages you wouldn’t feel terribly surprised.

But this day we saw no ghosts. Just a solitary shepherd feeding his sheep and a great many lapwings.

The path goes steeply downhill to the little village of Muker (pronounced Moo-Ker). A tad bigger than Keld, but not much bigger. The church is delightful in its simplicity. Built in the 1580s – one of the few in England dating from the reign of Elizabeth I – and thus making much of the corpse road redundant, offering a decent burial ground for the people at the head of Swaledale. We liked the stained glass, showing Christ as a shepherd and the appropriate 23 sheep – all of the Swaledale Breed.

Muker from the Corpse Road (c) John Bainbridge 2015

Muker from the Corpse Road (c) John Bainbridge 2015

On then to the River Swale itself. Here there are lots of signs of lead-mining, though nature has healed the scars. The miners, who would work a long day at the mining and then farm as well, used the system of mining known as hushing. Holding back water in huge dams on the hill-tops. Then releasing it in one mighty surge to wash away the topsoil, making the ore more visible.

There are the ruins of a smelting mill with some delightful waterfalls at Swinner Gill, with fine views back over Kisdon Hill. Then past Crackpot Hall, now a ruin, abandoned due to subsidence in 1953.

The name Keld comes from the old Norse word for water, and there’s certainly a lot of it about. There are a great many waterfalls on the Swale itself and its tributary becks. Just before you hit Keld again are a beautiful series of falls known as East Gill Force – a lovely spot to linger.

East Gill Force (c) John Bainbridge 2015

East Gill Force (c) John Bainbridge 2015

If you fancy a walk that’s lost in time with a great deal of history, then this is the walk for you.

I hope to feature more about the corpse road in a future blog.