RamblingsAuthor: BBC Radio 4
18 Feb 2019

Ramblings

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Clare Balding joins notable and interesting people for a walk through the countryside

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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, before climbing a steep hill which takes us back to where we started at Whittles Farm. Elaine's love of mapping comes from her father. He was Harold Fullard, a renowned cartographer who was Editor of the Phillip's Modern School Atlas, the blue-canvas book that generations of school-children used to learn about the world. Elaine recalls earning a little pocket money by helping to create the index at home... it was a painstaking process. If you are reading this on the Radio 4 website, you can scroll further down to see links to Elaine's books, Mapledurham Water Mill and some photos of the walk. Producer: Karen Gregor

  • Posted on 14 Feb 2019

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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

  • Posted on 16 Oct 2018

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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

  • Posted on 16 Oct 2018

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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

  • Posted on 16 Oct 2018

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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.

  • Posted on 27 Sep 2018

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