Have you done Choose Your Pace Hiking in England's National Parks?

If so, I would love to communicate with you. Specifically, I would like to know if  you would consider any of the easier trails to be dangerous? (i.e., cliffs, eroded paths, creek crossings, etc.) I signed up for this program for April 2019 but I'm having second thoughts. I had a nearly catastrophic fall doing Hiking in Cinque Terre and I'm gun shy. Any info is welcome.

  • I'm sorry no one has seen your question who has taken the trip.

    I have done the one that stays in Salisbury and Bath (Ancient Pathways) so no help as far as trail status but I do suggest you call the RS office and ask what hiking company runs this trip. Footpath Holidays runs several in Southern England (the Ancient Paths one and they used to run the one on the Thames River path but I don't see it listed for next year) and before I went I emailed them to ask about boots vs athletic shoes. So perhaps if they'll give you the company name you can communicate directly with them without RS being in the middle to find out if this trip would work for you.

    I have a fear of heights and would never be able to do those CT paths. Just looking at the one going up out of Monterosso to Vernazza gave me the willies. Sorry you had a terrible fall. I can see that happening easily.

    Without knowing if you've been to England in April, I'd say plan on it being wet. I'd want waterproof boots and rain pants/hat. You'll no doubt have a waterproof rain jacket.

  • In reply to PamInIdaho:

    Hi Pam, thanks so much for the reply. I noticed Footpath Holidays was mentioned in a couple of the reviews for this trip so I had asked RS if FH were the ones actually running the hikes. RS said no, that 2019 is the first year RS's own people will be leading the hikes. Not sure if that's good or bad. At any rate, you're right, I should probe a bit more to learn the specifics of the trails. By the way, I'm curious to know your impression of Ancient Footpaths? I looked at that trip also. It involves hiking, or at least some vigorous walking, doesn't it? Was there anything particularly dangerous in your opinion?
  • In reply to Mary_A:

    No, nothing dangerous at all and believe me I'm a total chicken so I'd tell you. No drop off or sheer areas altho it was quite hilly. The mileage was more than advertised and this seemed to be the general opinion of everyone on the trip, not just me. For instance, the first walking day was supposed to be about 5 miles and it was 8+ miles. The leader's comment was that he'd measured and that all our pedometers/fitbits, etc were incorrect. Ummm, ok. If I were doing another one I'd work up to a fitness level where I could do 8 miles with some hilly stretches pretty easily.

    I missed a number of the hikes as I had fallen in London and hurt my knee (so swollen I could barely get my jeans on!), then had a plantar fasciitis flare from favoring the hurt knee. The year I did it the focus was on Ancient Hill forts. They've changed that a bit which is good. I thought this was going to be a fascinating topic but I discovered that basically seen one, seen them all, lol! That sounds harsh but they were really so similar it was pretty repetitive. It looks like they've still got some included but not all.

    I DID love staying in Salisbury and Bath particularly since I didn't participate every day I could easily explore both cities on my own.

    BTW, the picture shown for the Ancient Footpaths program when you do the search for programs in England is actually not a sight on this tour. What's shown is the Yew trees by the North doors of the church in Stow-on-the-Wold. Apparently Tolkien used to come to Stow from Oxford and the conjecture is he used this image for the Hobbit House!


    Altho I have not done the Cornwall walking tour, I understood from one of the folks on another tour that there were some quite sheer areas on that walk. After having been to Cornwall a couple of times since and looked at the Coastal path a time or two I can well believe that. I'm such a chicken I couldn't even go across the bridge at Tintagel because there was too much drop.


  • In reply to PamInIdaho:

    Pam, thanks so much for the all the information. The program you took is actually rated more strenuous than the one I'm taking in April so it gives me some comfort that you didn't think it was dangerous. ( I don't mind long hikes as long as they're not on a cliff or up a mountain.) I am a huge chicken as well as a klutz. Sorry to hear about your fall in London. Hope your knee healed well and there was no oermabent damage.
    Thanks again for the info and I hope we'll meet sometime on a RS program.
    Mary Ann
  • In reply to Mary_A:

    I'm guessing since RS staff will be doing this trip the mileage will be closer to advertised. I like the way they have it set up for different levels.!

    Hope you have a terrific time! Yes, maybe we'll meet up sometime!

  • I have signed up for this trip for May and have some similar concerns. (Too bad we will not be on the same trip to give each other moral support!) I was seriously considering the trip "Walking in the Lake District and Scotland" too and just learned from RS that the hikes might be more manageable than the other one. Has anyone been on that trip? It seems to go to wonderful places. It's strange, but none of the dates are sold out on that one and I'm wondering why.
  • Just returned from the July 2019 National Parks hiking trip. Fantastic hikes in gorgeous country! Also great fun to hike and dine with Brits on the same program. The "easier" level 1 hikes averaged about 7 miles -- no cliffs or mountains but plenty of hills (usually gentle) and slippery muddy tracks after a rain. The hikes were led by HF guides; our RS leader accompanied the level 1 group and made sure than slower walkers didn't get left behind. Some of us level 1 people expressed a need for an "0.5" level with more frequent rest stops -- even 5 minutes to sit down would have helped. Still, we all made it without injuries. A few of us also took a day off from hiking for a boat ride and sightseeing in Coniston. This is a relatively new RS program and I think they're still working on coordinating with HF. Training on inclines and descents would help; also sturdy ankle-support boots and hiking poles are essential.
  • In reply to kgreen1925102633:

    Thanks so much for coming back with a report! It's very good to know what you found. To me 7 miles is a lot for a Level 1, so completely understand asking for a "0.5" lol!