Spring walks with an historical and cultural twist

Spring is almost upon us. It really is! We may not be able to trust our delicate flowers to the possibility of a late frost just yet, but it’s not far off. Soon we will be able to bid goodbye to full winter body armour, and skip outdoors to look at that illusive yellow thing in the sky.
But where to go? At BCH Camping we know our customers are outdoor enthusiasts so we thought we would whet your appetite with some tasty spring walks that will help you embrace all that spring has to offer, particularly as this is the best time of year to see nature and wildlife in bloom.
These walks are all a little bit different to your standard get-up-and-go adventures with a particular focus on historical and cultural places of interest, but then we know our customers like to be inspired!
As always, for all of these walks BCH Camping can provide the necessary clothing, footwear and equipment you need for back-packing. Your walk may be a designated highlight of a camping holiday, for which we can supply everything you need. Whatever the length of your walk, don’t forget to layer during the weather’s most unpredictable time of year!
Gelert’s Grave Walk
Starting with an easy walk that’s just a mile long, Gelert’s Grave Walk is in Craflwyn, Snowdonia, post code LL55.
It’s a riverside walk that takes you through many places of historical interest, including Gelert’s Grave. Gelert was the “faithful hound” of Llewelyn The Great, the Medieval prince of North Wales who killed his dog upon seeing it covered in blood, assuming it had killed his absent son. As it turned out, Gelert had saved his son by killing the wolf, the remains of which were found next to the crying boy minutes after the dog had been killed by Gelert’s sword. Legend has it that Llewelyn never smiled again, and built a grave for Gelert so that he would never be forgotten.
The walk begins as you turn right before the footbridge over the River Glaslyn to follow the designated footpath with the church of St Mary on your right. The 'clawdd' or boundary that follows part of the route is probably one of the earliest boundaries and tells much about how land was skilfully managed centuries ago. It is an important haven for plants and wildlife today. Soon afterwards you will come across Gelert’s Grave and further along the walk on the way to Beudy Buarth Gwyn you will find the bronze cast of Gelert.
The River Glaslyn is an important spawning river for salmon, and downstream is the stunning gorge of Aberglaslyn Pass with the imposing Craig u Llan above. Towards the end of the walk you come across the picnic site at Cae Gel which was commissioned in tribute to Alfred Bestall who illustrated the Rupert the Bear cartoons and lived in a nearby cottage.
There is so much to take in within one mile! They always say the best things come in small packages, and this is particularly true of this historical walk.
Holy Island, Arran
The Holy Isle is one of a group of islands known as Holy Island, located in the Firth of Clyde off the west coast of Scotland, inside Lamlash Bay on the larger island of Arran. The island is approximately 3 kilometres by 1 kilometre. The walk is just over 4 miles long and should take 3 to 3.5 hours to complete.
With its community of Tibetan Buddhists, Holy Island offers a tranquil contrast to the complex geology of the Isle of Arran. To reach the start, walkers take the ferry from Lamlash, KA27, to the northern jetty where they’re met by a volunteer who explains the rules of the island and offers information about the resident wildlife and nature. There is also an information centre if needed.
The moorland path is rough in places, merging into rocky terrain, making this a fairly strenuous walk that leads up to the summit, returning via the easy shoreline path.

The walk takes in many interesting landmarks including St Molaise’s Cave, the Holy Well and the Tibetan rock paintings, finishing at The Boat House information centre which is staffed by community volunteers providing refreshments until the ferry arrives for the return journey.
Chatsworth Park Circular Walk, Derbyshire Peak District
Chatsworth Park has 1000 acres of parkland to explore. This walk starts in the town of Bakewell, famous for its Bakewell Pudding which you could be forgiven for indulging if you’re about to embark on the 9 mile hike!

Parking is available at the Agricultural Centre near the River Wye, DE45 1AQ, over which looms the five-arched Bakewell Bridge which marks the starting point. The ascent from Bakewell rewards you with stunning views of Chatsworth House and the Hunting Tower. The village of Edensor is your first village thereafter, famously visited by John F Kennedy in 1963, paying his respects to his sister Kathleen who is buried in the grounds of St Peter’s church.
The walk takes you across the three-arched bridge over the River Derwent, at which point there is a photo opportunity to capture the 18th century bridge with Chatsworth House in the distance. The walk continues to Calton Lees where it leaves Chatsworth Park and carries on to Rowsley and back along the River Wye to Bakewell.
A very mixed hike, walkers are treated to woodland, villages, historic landmarks, meadows and the riverside where nature takes centre stage during the onset of spring.
Ightham Mote’s Circular Walk to Wilmot Hill, Kent
At 5.5 miles, this walk takes in the history of Ightham Mote, a 700 year-old moated manor house which, in its time, has been owned by Medieval knights, courtiers to Henry VIII and high society Victorians. You would therefore expect this walk to be steeped in historical landmarks, and you wouldn’t be wrong!
The route begins at Ightham Mote visitor reception, TN15 0NT, and takes you along the periphery of the 580-acre Ightham Mote estate. If you like woodland, you get a good mix of it on this walk as you pass through Scathes Wood, the Greensand Way, Wilmot Hill and Broadhoath Wood.

In addition to the woodland, there is a mixture of footpaths, bridleways and fields with ascents and descents throughout the walk, and some busy roads to negotiate.
The route takes you up Oldbury Hill, at the summit of which is the site of an Iron Age hill fort, which has substantial earth ramparts dating from between 150 and 50 BC. It provided a powerfully defensive position and is one of the finest Iron Age hill forts in the area.
As you progress, you’re treated to stunning views of the Kentish countryside, an old quarry and fish ponds thought to date back to the Roman period. There are a number of paths available to explore Oldbury Hill, but this walk follows the peripheral route around the site.
We hope these walks have inspired you to start planning your spring adventures. If you would like any information on how BCH Camping can help you to prepare for these or any other hikes, please do get in touch. Likewise, if you complete any of these walks we’d love to hear how you got on!