With so many of our beautiful holiday cottages benefitting from a prime countryside location, it’s easy to see why walking is such a popular activity for our patrons throughout the year. If walking is exactly what you’re looking forward to during a cottage holiday in the New Forest, Dorset, Hampshire or Wiltshire, here’s our guide to help you make the most of your experience.
What equipment do I need?
It pays to have the right equipment to really enjoy your discovery of England on foot and from sturdy shoes to the right-sized pole, it will all make a considerable difference when you’re roaming the great outdoors.
Get a Waterproof Backpack from OverBoard
As anyone who lives in Britain will know, one thing that we can never be completely sure of is the weather; even in the height of summer there’s always the chance of a sudden downpour. It’s for this reason that the waterproof backpacks from OverBoard are the perfect choice when it comes to walking equipment. The leading name in waterproof backpacks and other products, there’s no better method of keeping all your belongings dry.
The bag we recommend is the Pro-Sports Waterproof Backpack, a 100 per cent waterproof backpack which is constructed for the toughest environments; it’s the perfect match for your walking holiday in England. With either 20 or 30 litres of storage space, a super ventilated back panel and plenty of D rings to keep all of your gear safely attached, you’ll be asking yourself why you haven’t purchased one sooner.
Here’s a quote from OverBoard saying why the Pro-Sports backpack is the ultimate product for your walking holiday:
“Perfect for hiking and all types of activities, the 30 Litre and 20 Litre OverBoard Waterproof Backpack protects your gear from water, sand, dirt and dust. Thanks to a unique seamless construction and a 2-way roll top sealing system, our backpack is 100% waterproof and suitable for quick submersion so you can use it in all weather conditions. We’ve stuffed this waterproof bag full of handy features too, like a large internal zip pocket (no more rooting around for keys!), elasticated front webbing ideal for attaching wet items to dry, two side mesh pockets that are perfect for water bottles, chest and waist straps for added support and new vented shoulder straps that don’t absorb water and allow your body to breath on long, hot trips but still give excellent comfort. ”
We got in contact with Overboard to find out their top three ingredients needed for a perfect walking holiday, for which they said the location you choose, the people you do it with and the gear you take!
Get Scarpa walking boots for unbeatable protection
Like we’ve already mentioned, a decent pair of walking boots is of paramount importance on any walking holiday – especially if you’re planning on racking up the miles. Of all the names in the business, Scarpa is certainly among the best. A brand renowned for high-quality products that deliver on both performance and comfort, their boots can be worn all year around and are sure to take you safely across all types of terrain other than deep water. Each of their products are suited to a certain type of walking, meaning customers can easily find the perfect boot for their walk.
Keep your feet snug with Bridgedale Socks
As well as unbeatable shoes, a decent pair of walking socks are an essential product for any walking trip, and when it comes to unbeatable walking socks, Bridgedale is a name you can rely on for quality and performance. Having crafted socks of the highest quality for over 40 years, they set out to create the most comfortable walking socks on the market and whatever time of the year you’re planning to walk on your countryside cottage break, they have the perfect product for your needs.
Among their best products are the MerinoFusion lines, mixing the finest merino wool with technical fibres to provide the highest level of comfort and performance. Not only do these products provide unbeatable insulation and luxury, the composition of the technical fibres help to remove moisture quickly to keep feet as dry as possible. MerinoFusion is found in around 80 per cent of their products.
We got in touch with Bridgedale to find out exactly why their MerinoFusion socks are the perfect choice for your walking holiday:
“They’re made in the UK to cope with any climate and terrain our isles can throw at you, but their adaptability means they’ll also take you as far afield as you want to go. And they’re guaranteed for three years, so there’s miles of adventure in every pair you buy.
So if you’re going to wild places, take MerinoFusion socks. They’re born for it.” – Steve Fowler, Bridgedale
Perfect your walking with the Pacerpole
Looking at walking from a mobility sense, it’s important that you ensure that you are walking in the correct way. This may sound silly to suggest, but in terms of posture and foot strike, not doing these in the correct way could result in serious injury to their body.
If you want to make sure you’re walking in the best way possible, a product you may wish to consider purchasing is the Pacerpole. Designed by physiotherapist Heather Rhodes, the Pacerpole was designed through anatomical and biomechanical analysis. By controlling the arm stride action, it can help to lift your torso upwards to reinforce better posture, propulsion, support and heightened stability.
We also got in contact with Heather Rhodes, creator of the Pacerpole, to find out why it’s such a great product to take on a walking holiday, and this was her response:
“Pacerpoles are unique; they are the only poles to address walking performance from an anatomical/bio mechanical perspective. This sets them apart from conventional sticks and poles from the ski industry (trekking poles, walking poles, or the more recent nordic walking ones). These all perpetuate primitive man's solution of using a branch from a tree as a portable prop - without understanding the biomechanics of the walking gait we want to improve, or the anatomy of the hand - through which our body load is being transmitted stride after stride.”
- Heather Rhodes, Pacerpole
Advice from the Experts
Walks and Walking
To help make this guide as informative as possible, we thought we should also get in contact with an expert on walking, and what better name than David Knockton from Walks and Walking? From step-by-step walking routes and general walking advice to comprehensive reviews of walking boots and other essential walking equipment, Walks and Walking is the number one website for all your walking needs.
We asked David what he feels are the most important things to consider for any walking trip, and here’s what he had to say:
"Absolutely be prepared for anything and always over-pack because you never know what may happen on a walk, or how the weather will change when you're out there.
If you're using mobile Apps take a paper version and compass with you anyway - batteries can die and you can't always get a signal to know exactly where you are.
Broadly sketch out where you're planning to go for a walk in advance, and if you're on a walking holiday tell the cottage owner or hotel manager where you're going and roughly what time you'll be back."
- David Knockton, Walks and Walking
We were also able to hear from Mike Law from Walking-books.com, the perfect website for those looking for all manner of information relating to walking trips all over the UK. We asked Mike what his top tips for preparing for a walking holiday were, and here’s what he had to say on the matter:
“When considering a walking break there are important things to remember that will make the most of your time exploring our wonderful countryside. I always find preparing for a walk is half the fun and that means having the right clothing, footwear and of course a decent map and guide covering the area you are visiting. When designing my website I wanted to make it as user-friendly as possible and that's why I used a map-based system for customers to use and explore the maps and guides we offer by areas of the country.
It is also well worth learning to read maps and a compass, which will ensure you know exactly where you are on your walk at all times. If I was to offer one last word of advice it would be to walk within your limits - there is no point in setting off on a ten-mile walk when 5 is your physical limit.”
- Mike Law – Walking-Books.com
As a website specialising in the sale of walking books, maps and general outdoor guides, we asked him for some recommendations for walking books for people to use while holidaying with us; The Cotswolds Pack, The South Downs Way and the Cotswold Way were all among his favourites.
Image Credit: Matthew Hillier (Flickr.com) this picture has been edited from the original. Overboard, Bridgedale, Pacerpole, Walks and Walking, Walking-Books.com