With summer well underway and autumn just around the corner, self-guided walking holiday specialist Celtic Trails has unveiled its favourite walks to book now for the season ahead, both at home and away.
From English woodland walks painted in rich reds, golds and ambers to sun-soaked strolls alone Italy’s coastline these itineraries- with flexible departure dates- combine active days with the chance to hike, explore historic houses and visit harvest festivals en-route.
The holidays are available from £500pp and suit a variety of walking abilities, each coming with Celtic Trails’ expert easy-to-follow route plans and pre-arranged luggage transfers.
Old Shepherd’s Paths and Local Tipples – Italy’s Heel of Puglia
7x Nights, 44 Miles, Easy to Moderate
Ideal for those that aren’t ready to give up the sun, this week-long itinerary explores Italy’s heel whilst traversing rugged coastal paths and old ‘traturri’ shepherd routes, discovering Roman masterpieces and exploring some of Puglia’s most unspoilt natural areas such as the Sentiero delle Cipolliane with its spectacular caves and rural coastal routes including Marina Serra. What’s more, autumn in Puglia brings a myriad of local wine festivals to the towns and villages dotted along the path, with the chance to taste local cheeses and sip Primitivo di Manduria before taking a quick dip in the Med (surprisingly warm in September and October) and settling down in cosy Agriturismo farmhouses.
7x nights (from Lecce- Gagliano del Capo) available from £660pp based on two sharing a double room on a B&B basis including accommodation, detailed route descriptions, maps and luggage transfers. Price excludes flights.
Harvest Festivals and Hilltop Towns – Tuscany’s Val D’Orcia
7x Nights, 58 Miles, Easy to Moderate
The Val D’Orcia is a paradise for those wishing to spend their autumn getaway combining gentle hikes with food, festivals, wine and a rural landscape dotted with hilltop towns. Daily distances are all under ten miles and the emphasis is on taking in the surroundings at a relaxed pace; getting up close to vineyards and olive groves of the Brunello wine region with opportunities to sample the local red en route. Walkers can also spend time in the Renaissance UNESCO city of Pienza, explore the medieval city of Siena and take in various wine, mediaeval and food festivals in the region, including the Pecorino cheese festival in Pienza called Fiera del Cacio Pienza that runs from the end of August to the middle of September.
7x nights (from Montepulciano- Siena) available from £765pp based on two sharing a double room on a B&B basis including accommodation, detailed route descriptions, maps and luggage transfers. Price excludes flights.
Forest Colours and Autumnal Views – The Wye Valley Walk
6x Nights, 53 Miles, Easy to Moderate
Boasting some of Britain’s most dramatic scenery, this popular 53m walk is known for its high vantage points and far-reaching views over the surrounding Wye Valley woodland (an official AONB) with many autumnal photo opportunities en-route from the Kymin Tower, Devils Pulpit and Eagles Nest. Starting in Chepstow and ending in Hereford (with the chance to extend to Hay-on-Wye or Rhyd y Benwch in mid-Wales) this walk leads guests through limestone gorges and woodland lit in brown and gold hues with the chance to visit the ruins of Tintern Abbey and spot rare red kites, peregrines and herons soar above.
6x nights (from Chepstow – Hereford) available from £500pp based on two sharing a double room on a B&B basis including accommodation, detailed route descriptions, maps and private luggage transfers.
Gardens, Villages and Arboretums – The Cotswold Round
5x Nights, 51 Miles, Easy to Moderate
This round-route starting and ending in Moreton-in-Marsh links some of the most picturesque villages in the Cotswolds, with extensive gardens and arboretums en-route that come alive with the changing season and colours. Walking along golden forest tracks, through kissing gates and across wildflower meadows walkers can explore the market town of Stow-on-the-Wold, Saxon town Winchcombe, the famous Sudeley Castle and Stanway House (the filming locations of Vanity Fair), Broadway, Chipping Campden and Bourton-on-the-Water, before ending the day relaxing fireside in a traditional pub and enjoying warming local dishes.
5x nights (round-trip from Moreton-in-Marsh) available from £435pp based on two sharing a double room on a B&B basis including accommodation, detailed route descriptions, maps and private luggage transfers.
Woodland Paths and Roaring Fires – The Coleridge Way
4x Nights, 35 Miles, Easy to Moderate
What better time to visit a landscape that provided inspiration to the poets of the 19th century than in autumn, when it’s at its most dramatic and vibrant. This walk leads hikers through the woods and valleys of Exmoor to some of the places that inspired Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s most famous poems (like Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Kubla Kahn) via golden woodland paths and crossing a landscape scattered with picturesque thatched cottages and stonework pubs with roaring fires, from Somerset towards the Quantocks (England’s first recognised AONB), the Brendon Hills and Exmoor National Park before reaching the bracing sea air at Lynmouth.
5x nights (from Nether Stowey- Lynmouth) available from £500pp based on two sharing a double room on a B&B basis including accommodation, detailed route descriptions, maps and luggage transfers.
Guided Walking Holidays
Perfect for those travelling alone or those that simply prefer walking in the company of others, Celtic Trails’ sister company Langdale Walking Holidays offers a variety of guided group trips throughout the year. This October it is offering the chance to join a three-night tour of the Lake District, stopping off at UNESCO sites, historic houses and pretty villages en-route:
Autumn in the Lake District: Guided Walking Holiday
3x Nights: 21-24 October 2018
This is a weekend of guided fell-walking amongst spectacular Lakeland scenery, recently designated a UNESCO world heritage site. Based at the Wordsworth Hotel and Spa in the pretty village of Grasmere (a renowned walkers paradise, surrounded by mountains) guests will have the chance to head out on day walks as well as stopping en-route to explore a variety of historic housing including Dove Cottage where poet William Wordsworth penned some of his best creations. Depending on the level of fitness of the group (and weather conditions) there will be a choice of walking to the Easdale Tarn, Silver How, Rydal Water, Loughrigg Fell and Helm Crag- known locally as the Lion and the Lamb- reaching between 5-10 miles per day. Evenings are best spent relaxing in the hotel’s heated pool and spa (with sauna, whirlpool and gym) and dinner in the restaurant.
3x nights (21-24 October 2018) are available from £580pp based on two sharing a double room at the Wordsworth Hotel and Spa on a half-board basis- breakfast and dinner- including welcome reception and all guided walks.
Mark Bibby Jackson
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