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Walk ON! MAY 10

DISCOVER Pembrokeshire Join our trip to the Pembrokeshire stunning costal walks and spring flowers

WELCOME

The ďŹ rst online version of the Walkfree Breakfree magazine. After months of planning, the website is ready and we are raring to go.


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Introduction W

elcome to Walkfree Breakfree Ltd and to the first edition of Walk On! our on line magazine and brochure. 2010 is a truly exciting year for us and Walk On! is a very appropriate title for this publication as we move forward during the year taking our many years of experience with Bucks New University Outdoor Club and developing our very own walking, cycling and outdoor activities business. In spirit and action our ethos will be as always which is to encourage one and all, whether new starters, improvers or those experienced in walking, cycling, mountaineering and other outdoor activities, with simply participation being the name of our game. For us the outdoors and walking is not a solitarily activity, rather it is about companionship, fun, exploration and inspiration, seeing new places and enjoying memorable experiences. Our business aim is to deliver a fabulous group experience direct to groups of friends, family or work colleagues or to individuals and couples participating on our Simply Active and Active Learning short breaks and holidays. Helping you to participate in the great outdoors, walking onwards, moving forwards that is our objective. You have seen the fabulous television shows, our stunning coast and country, the forests and fields, mountains, tarns, rivers and glens. With our inclusive packages it is just so easy to participate, to make these first steps or do more - no hassle - no worries – just enjoy our guided walks and organised activities with your transport, food and accommodation needs catered for. And budget should not be a barrier, during the year we will be offering cheap walking and outdoor activity weekends via our Club Experience programme and if that helps you get out more often and enjoy even more trips with us we will be happy. Located near High Wycombe, south east England we are well placed to whisk you off from home, your work place, or airport to stunning locations on inclusive short breaks and holidays or alternatively meeting you at our chosen destination for a unbeatable experience in the great outdoors. If you visit our website www.walkfreebreakfree.co.uk you can enjoy information on many of the destinations and

activities we will be offering during the coming year and more offers will be under constant development. Do let us know your interests, for it is our intention to take you to beautiful and inspiring locations, to the magical and wild. As Robert Macfarlane in his book “The Wild Places” “which was a wonderful evocation of Britain’s natural beauty and a reminder of our need to connect with the wilderness” The Times mentions - wilderness can be found in surprising and not so distant locations. It is our own personal senses, the mix of history, memory and landscape that is all important and we here at Walkfree Breakfree will endeavour to help you on your own journeys throughout our isles. Our aim is to deliver short breaks and holidays that offer community fun for all ages and lasting social relationships, memories and experiences that will stand the test of time as you step out in truly stunning locations in the UK and at times beyond. We are determined that our new business, as we so successfully achieved before, will blend all ages, gender and race to deliver an outstanding community experience. Our first edition of Walk On! focuses on our budget walking weekends during the year delivered via our Club Experience programme and a flavour of our Simply Active and Active Learning offers which are ideal for singles and couples who want a group and community experience. But please do remember that although we encourage participation and the benefits of a group experience above all else, every weekend and holiday is about your personal enjoyment and relaxation so dipping out of organised walks or activities and simply doing your own thing is perfectly acceptable. Do enjoy our magazine which includes a number of articles from those who participated on our walking weekends and holidays before we became Walkfree Breakfree Ltd and have an enjoyable year in the great outdoors. My very best regards, Iain Thomson, Director - Walkfree Breakfree iain@walkfreebreakfree.co.uk

Iain

WE SHALL NOT CEASE from exploration, And the end of all our exploring Will be to arrive where we started And know the place for the first time. T.S.Elliot

Keep up to date with all things Walkfree Breakfree by joining our Facebook group. Find us on Facebook by searching for Walkfree Breakfree Walk ON! is a magazine produced by Simply Designs on behalf of Walkfree Breakfree. No part of this magazine can be re-produced. All content within this magazine is correct at time of production and Walkfree Breakfree cannot be held responsible for any changes to planned trips advertised within this publication. Please check our website for ALL up to date information and activities © Walkfree Breakfree 2010

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features

Scotland Changing seasons Words and photographs by Ann White

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inter is the best time in the Scottish hills. Although the days are short and often dreich nothing can beat a walk in the hills on a clear day when the snow sparkles under a brilliant blue sky. Waterfalls hang petrified and the wind carves strange shapes from the ice and snow. Although the hills look empty, tracks of mountain hare, fox, deer and ptarmigan bear witness to the life that struggles to survive in the arctic conditions. The days gradually lengthen but the hills still carry patches of snow late into spring. But look down instead and search for the alpine flowers that hide between the rocks and amongst the tufts of grass, perfect stars of

white and yellow, carpets of pink and nodding heads of blue. With very few hours of darkness summer is the time for long walks along mountain ridges or deep into remote glens. Take a tent and experience the absolute peace and quiet of the evening. Wake early to birdsong and a burn gurgling over rocks and enjoy another great day in the hills. The autumn landscape turns from green to orange and brown, the mist gathers and the stags roar their warnings in the glens. Huge flocks of geese arrive for the winter. The rowan trees are laden with berries and there is the promise of snow to come. AW

Scotland in autumn

Scotland in winter

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features

Great British Birds Great British birds I have known (feathered)... a personal memoir. Words by Danny Walsh

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’m not sure which came first, the bird watching or the walking. My dad used to walk us down to the woods every Sunday afternoon and an uncle took me to the local gravel pits one boxing day after I had been given a pair of binoculars for Christmas. Little did I know what a perfect combination the two would be. I must have been about 12 and I wasn’t one for sitting about in hides all day, I had to be on the move, but neither could I see the point in just walking from A to B for the sake of it. So there evolved a combination of lengthy birding walks with a couple of mates. It was a blend of the best of both worlds. The desire to see new birds has taken me to places I otherwise wouldn’t have explored and that in turn has fired my love of those remote less frequented

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corners of the country. I guess that’s why I love the hills so much, the higher you go the wilder it becomes. You need to be on the top of the Cairngorms to catch the Dotterel, you need to be in the upland cloughs and ravines to share a slice of the Ring Ouzel’s life. But it’s not just the hills…… you need to be out on a bleak winters marsh at dusk to see the skeins of geese go honking overhead to their roosting grounds….. that still makes my hair stand on end. A barn owl wafting effortlessly along a dyke ignoring me and sailing inches over my head as I try not to move, does it for me too. But then hearing the first cuckoo of the year is a thrill too. Peering over the edge of a cliff face looking at the seabirds packed like sardines on the ledges and watching the antics of the puffins and the graceful dives of the gannets…………..


and that seabird stink of guano……….. marvellous! Then as I got older walking took over for a while and I got seriously into long distance paths……….. but the journeys were always that much more inspiring if you took the time to check the birds and the other wildlife such as the flowers. You get a sense of things being ordered and a great sense of satisfaction at correctly identifying a flower or a fern. You soon develop a sense of habitat and come to know what to expect to see in different places. Then occasionally you come across spectacular wildlife events which leave you in awe and drive you on to explore more and see more. Out on the mudflats a peregrine falcon scything through a flock of waders creating mass panic as it seeks its breakfast. The sight of thousands of starlings swooping

in unison, ever changing their shape, for minutes on end, and then suddenly dropping down into the trees to roost. The first time you hear a nightingale and wonder how it makes that amazing bubbling sound. It’s not just the rare birds either, you begin to look at the antics of common birds and come to understand aspects of their behaviour that previously had you puzzled. The greatest thrill, of course, is seeing something you have never seen before and it still happens regularly, you just never know what might turn up. The seasonal variation is more marked if you take note of the arrival of the summer migrants and winter visitors. If you add these thrills and layers to what was already a great walk anyway, then you double the pleasure. I have to make certain

pilgrimages each year and I often can’t fit them in, but some are sacred. These are things I have to see again because they give me such a buzz. For example, I have to get up high in Scotland every winter, nothing gets in the way of that. But my most pressing yearly summer engagement is to walk across a certain Suffolk heathland just as it is getting so dark you can hardly see. Then listening for a faint churring sound and homing in on it slowly until you catch a glimpse of a ghostly, faint image of a bird. You can just make out the two white spots on its wings that could be eyes and which have scarred countless people in the past. The Nightjar claps its wings together in display and fades as mysteriously as it came. I wander along to find another, the hair on my neck raised and a huge smile on my face. DW walkfreebreakfree.co.uk // WALK On! 7


walkfree breakfree trips

Pembrokeshire Stunning coastal walks and spring flowers

Pembrokeshire, Wales FROM ÂŁ115 PER PERSON Friday 7th - Sunday 9th May 2010 - 2 NIGHTS

Code:PEMB001

Staying at: Caerhafod Lodge

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ho can forget our last visit of some years back, stunning coastal walks with truly magical displays of alpine style flowers and views from high cliffs of dolphins and seals in the sea far below.

We will be staying at the Caerhafod Lodge which is ideally situated between the famous cathedral city of St David’s and the Irish ferry port of Fishguard. It overlooks the spectacular Pembrokeshire coastline and is within easy walking distance of the well known Sloop Inn at Porthgain and the internationally renowned Coastal Path.

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Photo: Pembrokeshire Coast

Photo: Pembrokeshire puffin

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Photo: Pembrokeshire Coast

STUNNINg COASTAL WALKS BEAUTIFUL FLOWERS WILDLIFE & BIRDS


walkfree breakfree trips

High PENNINES Bring on Summer - Walks Galore in the High Pennines of Northern England

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Photo: a very old roadsign in the Pennines

Pennines, Co.Durham

FROM £245-£275 PER PERSON

Thursday 1st - Monday 5th July 2010 - 4 NIGHTS

Code:PENN001

Staying at: Blackton Grange

£20 discount if booked by 3rd May

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njoy our annual long weekend in Northern England – explore the remote High Pennines of County Durham, Northumbria and Hadrian’s Wall staying in a truly remote location close to the splendid Bernard Castle, ancient villages, castles and beautiful walking on our doorstep. Photo: glaciated valley in the High Pennines

Of course it’s different from the romance of Rum – but this is an opportunity to enjoy and explore areas often by-passed as we head northwards. With our usual dedication we will develop a programme that offers walks, great food and fun during a weekend that as always will leave you breathless. We will be staying in the unique Blackton grange – with superb facilities including a fantastic lounge (it even has Sky providing access to the world cup football matches if you want to watch matches – although if you don’t activities will be available on hand!) and it is doggy friendly -but only if you camp. It truly is the place to be this summer – not one to be missed!

SO CLOSE BUT SO REMOTE A STUNNINg LOCATION A LONg WEEKEND OF WALKS, FUN THAT WILL LEAvE YOU BREATHLESS walkfreebreakfree.co.uk // WALK On! 11


walkfree breakfree trips

Snowdon for all Fun and adventure ExPLORE AND ENJOY WALKS OF ALL LEvELS THE MAgIC OF SNOWDONIA SCENERY THAT NEvER TIRES

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Snowdon, North Wales FROM ÂŁ115 PER PERSON Friday 10th - Sunday 13th September 2010 - 2 NIGHTS

Code:SNOW001

Staying at: Lledr House

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emember our early days, exploring Snowdonia, the excitement of high walks, scrambles or exploring high plateaus; or easy walking along simply stunning valleys or coastline. Well its back – a late summer adventure that can be enjoyed equally by the inexperienced and those seeking challenge and adventure. With scenery that never tires, a remote hostel location and as always community space for fun and fine food this is a date for a great cheap late summer walking break. Simply just fantastic fun.

Photo: mountain lake in Snowdon, Wales walkfreebreakfree.co.uk // WALK On! 13


walkfree breakfree trips

Isle of Wight Explore the cliffs, beaches and walks of the Isle of Wight

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Isle of Wight FROM £120 PER PERSON Friday 22nd - Sunday 24th October 2010 - 2 NIGHTS

Code:ISLE001

Staying at: YHA - Totland Bay

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ur first ever visit to the Isle of Wight to enjoy autumn walks on an island that has variety galore, easy walks, long distance, downland cliffs and quiet country walks. Staying in the YHA at Totland Bay we have immediate access to the Needles, Alum Bay and Tennyson Downs and in the hostel space for comfort. Forget work – lose that stress - come and join us for a simply great weekend for all in a new found location for Walkfree Breakfree.

vARIETY gALORE ISLAND FUN EASY WALKS

Photo: signpost on the Isle of Wight walkfreebreakfree.co.uk // WALK On! 15


walkfree breakfree trips

Festive fun in the Breacon Beacons EASY MOUNTAIN WALKS YOMP ACROSS HIgH TOPS EARLY CHRISTMAS FESTIvE FUN

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Breacon Beacons FROM ÂŁ110 PER PERSON Friday 3rd - Sunday 5th December 2010 - 2 NIGHTS

Code:BREA001

Staying at: Cantref Farm

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oin us in an early festive celebration to enjoy walks and an early Christmas Dinner in the lovely Brecon Beacons our most accessible mountains of south Wales.

Staying in the excellent bunkhouse at Cantref Farm we are close to the central beacons and the town of Brecon itself. Canal and country walks or yomping across the high tops, the choice is yours and with turkey and trimmings galore, and no doubt a glass or two on the Saturday evening and spirit to match it will be a lovely start to the joys of Christmas

Photo: Eira falls, Breacon Beacons National Park, Wales walkfreebreakfree.co.uk // WALK On! 17


walkfree breakfree trips

Our Walkfree Breakfree Simply Active short breaks and holiday’s aim to delivering our service ethos to singles and couples, giving them an opportunity to enjoy the benefits of group experiences and the fantastic community spirit we seek to achieve. Less hassle, more fun and as always affordability and value for money will be at the heart of what we offer. We seek to be innovative and different from our competitors. For example, Coast to Coast and Hadrian’s Wall classic Long Distance Walks are often considered a solitary activity for the stubborn, extremely fit and determined, who have ample time available to do weeks of research and book endless nights of accommodation in differing locations. Not with us, we break the walk down into sections minimising the number of accommodation partners required, dropping you off each morning and collecting

you daily from specific points. A daily bus ride is a small price to pay for the added freedom and flexibility, no worries over blisters or injuries, no stress or disagreements with partners, as we can facilitate walks or tourist jaunts for partners who perhaps do not want to walk the entire route. With the added bonus of group friendship and social experience and an unbeatable celebration dinner and party at the end of the walk our way simply is the best. It offers an unbeatable experience that works wonders for the heart and soul and one that can also be done as a main holiday or over a series of long weekends! Join our mailing list now and look out for some of the great Simply Active trips some of which are mentioned below which we will be offering during the year and if you have a favoured date let us know now on iain@ walkfreebreakfree.co.uk and we might be able to make it happen soon.

With our university ethos and roots, we seek to deliver learning opportunities that are conducted mainly outside the classroom and delivered in a way that combines a little exercise and outdoor activity. Our objective will be to encourage learning and expand knowledge in culture, heritage and in all areas of the natural and outdoor environment, but to do so in a way that ensures activity and community are equal partners to the academic subject. Learning, activity, fun and community will be our priorities rather than developing a specialised expert knowledge, as that can remain the preserve of other providers. Whenever we can, we will focus our Active Learning Short breaks and holidays on your personal needs and health, encouraging well being and learning, enabling you

for a while to escape the hustle and bustle of modern life and its exhausting impact on mind and body. Our Active Learning Breaks and Holidays will enable you to combine a passion or hobby with a little exercise and outdoor activity making your choice of what to do during your all important weekend break or holiday that much easier. Two for the price of one – what could be better! Look out for some of the great trips mentioned mentioned on our website which we will be offering during the year and if you have a favoured date let us know now on iain@ walkfreebreakfree.co.uk and we might be able to make it happen soon.

In our next Walk On magazine we will have full details of our Summer & Autumn Simply Active & Active Learning short breaks and holidays. They will include:

Pembrokeshire Coast Path

Lincolnshire Wolds - walks, churches and Tennyson

The Brecon’s of South Wales – walking and multiactivity weekends

The Lincolnshire Wolds I promise will surprise they offer fantastic walking country from open hilltops to sheltered valleys with hidden villages, long lost hamlets and churches to delight set in rolling chalk lands of a superb Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It is also Tennyson’s land and walks can be customised to suit lovers of the poets work.

The Brecon National Park of South Wales with their relatively low height and ready accessibility to those of us living in the South East offer great hill walking start to those a little wary of venturing onto hills and yet can offer challenging walks for the experienced.. With horse-riding and a host of outdoor adventures it is a great location for adventurous multi-activity weekends.

Join our mailing list - register your interest now to reserve a place – no commitment

Join our mailing list - register your interest now to reserve a place – no commitment

Long Distance Paths & National Trails To be available as 7, 5 or 3 night breaks. We will stay in one or two locations and you will be transported to start points each day and be picked up at agreed daily end points where you recommence the walk on the next day. Offering great flexibility and alternative walking options for partners this make long distance walking breaks a great option for all. Join our mailing list - register your interest now to reserve a place – no commitment

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MEMORABLE. ADVENTURE. OUTDOORS. SOCIAL. FUN.

Iain knows exactly how to organise the whole package: bringing people, nature, exercise and great food together and infusing everything with the spice of adventure - John

Groups

Look This Way – We have the Views You Need We offer inclusive walking and outdoor activity packages customised exactly to your needs. Accommodation, transport, food, leaders, amazing destinations in one simple package. Tailored exactly to your budget our trips offer unbeatable value and memorable experiences for all. Fun and activity for groups of all kinds – amazing social experiences for friends and family, work based charity challenges, employee or club organisers we can get you outdoors without the hassle. With us it can be from door to door as we can pick you up from the location of your choice including airports and whisk you to stunning destinations throughout the UK. We make it easy for groups to get outdoors to enjoy the views, the fun, the adventure and great socialising opportunities. Visit our website www.walkfreebreakfree.co.uk. Join our mailing list now!

For further information visit our website: www.walkfreebreakfree.co.uk

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walkfree breakfree - NATURES CALENDAR

Natures Calender April – Norfolk

Now the breeding season is at it’s height - all the birds are singing and flowers are blooming. This is the month to enjoy the dawn chorus in full swing!

But the highlight is the seabirds nesting on the cliffs. You can easily see puffins, kittiwakes, guillemots, fulmars, razorbills, gannets and possibly choughs.

In Pembrokeshire - the yellow gorse flower fills the air with a coconut scent. As you drive along, a wash of white cow parsley foam lines your route. The hedges are clotted with hawthorn blossom.

Who will be hear the first cuckoo of spring? Or be the first to see the screaming swifts over the rooftops? This is also the time to watch the spectacular aerobatic displays of lapwings and skylarks especially.

By Andrew Macneil

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July - Upper Teesdale

May - Pembrokeshire

This is one of the best places to birdwatch in the UK. You could see: • Awe inspiring skeins of wild geese - pinkfoots and brent. • Ducks you have never seen before - widgeon, gadwall, shoveller pochard and goldeneye. • Masses of waders packed together and easy to see at high tide - dunlin, sanderling, redshank and knot. • Ghostly white barn owls hunting in broad daylight. • Big marsh harriers quartering reed beds

Where the river Tees rampages off the Pennines and cuts through and exposes soft sugar limestone - you suddenly see a paradise of internationally famous alpine flowers among the bleak acid moorland. A good place to start is the visitor centre at Bowlees. Here are pink birdseye primrose, mountain pansy, alpine bistort, dark red helleborine, the delicate deep blue alpine forgetme-not and possibly the last of the spring gentians.

On gravel islands on the river grow the egg ypol yellow flowers of the rare shrubby cinquefoil. You can also find a gnarled old juniper forest, globeflowers and thousands of orchids. Turning to birds - by the river - watch the amazing dipper - as it suddenly disappears underwater to “swim” upstream.…and, if you tire of this, nearby is another universe in the limestone pavements of Malham Cove with it’s own special flowers, insects and birds.


The Chilterns Just visiting London & The Southeast? Want a walk or sight-seeing tour to escape the hustle and bustle? We have the answer in the Chilterns where an escape to the countryside is within easy reach of London - superb views - quiet hamlets, stately homes, heritage and culture are all on offer. Being based in the beautiful Chilterns an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty we can offer visitors an interesting and varied range of day walks in the area groups we can pick you up direct from your accommodation and take you on an enjoyable day out in the Chilterns, a totally flexible service dedicated to your interests and needs.

We have titles to inspire: *Pleasant strolls around the Quaker Villages of the Chilterns *Disraeli and his trusty axe - fine woodland walks in the Chilterns *Hamlet to meadows and enjoy the soaring red kites of the Chilterns *Adventurous walks in the Chilterns

Join our mailing list TODAY! No boots or waterproofs - dont despair - we may be able to help you!!

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All Inclusive fishing holidays in the Ukraine in a comfortable and pleasant environment.

Tel: + 44 7710 910117 For further info visit:

www.fishandchizh.com

To advertise in Walk On please contact Iain Thomson on iain@walkfreebreakfree. co.uk. Special discounts available


The sense of community is great; Ive made so many friends and we all encourage and help each other if the going gets tough - Chrissie

Our programme is fast developing – join our mailing list now – don’t dally catch the views get outdoors. For further information visit our website: www.walkfreebreakfree.co.uk

Singles & Couples

We offer you walking and outdoor activities that focus on delivering an inspiring group experience for all ages - fun, community, memories, and friendship are our key focus. Changing your views - getting you outdoors in more ways than one is our mission. WE OFFER * Inclusive BUDGET Weekends and short breaks throughout the UK and beyond on our club experience programme - simply a great way to get into walking with groups and at our prices your views will change that much faster. New participants are genuinely very welcome indeed. * Simply Active short breaks and holidays for those seeking a great group and social experience - meet new friends, be active and have fun - no barriers whatever your age or skill level. * Active learning walks - enjoy a walk and enhance your knowledge on a specialist topic with a knowledgeable walk leader - to add more - to encourage and expand - to learn but not at an expert level, we leave that for others as with us the walk, the fun and community are equal partners. Enjoy a walk alongside another activity, passion or hobby - it makes great sense and offers such good value for money. * FREE DAY WALKS - being based in the beautiful Chilterns hills; easily accessible by public transport from London we will be delivering a range of local walks during the year to explore the footpaths, woodlands and hamlets of this wonderful area. Perfect opportunities to enjoy walking in a group, suitable for one and all, friends, grannies, kids and the dog - watch that website and join our mailing list.


DON’T MISS OUT - JOIN OUR MAILING LIST NOW! www.walkfreebreakfree.co.uk

CHANGE YOUR VIEW GET OUTDOORS With Walkfree Breakfree with us it is for all - beginners, the experienced or those seeking a challenge * Great walking experiences for all throughout the UK and locally in the Chilterns * Budget weekends (our Club Experience programme) in stunning locations * Customised inclusive packages for groups and clubs of all kinds tailored exactly to your requirements and budget to offer unbeatable value * Short breaks & holidays * A range of Bus Tours - walking and sightseeing

For further information visit our website:

www.walkfreebreakfree.co.uk info@walkfreebreakfree.co.uk // 0844 3572505

First edition of the Walk On magazine  

First edition of Walk On a quarterly magazine offering great...