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Discover England’s Great Literary Walks

Some of the greatest writers were inspired by the natural landscapes around them. It’s no surprise to me; we all feel our emotions awakened as we explore the great outdoors and our hearts are stirred. I guess the difference is that, whilst some of us are left speechless by the beauty revealed to us, the literary greats find their voices...



fountain penWhy not follow in the footsteps of writers and poets with our collection of literary walks on iFootpath? From Winnie-the-Pooh to Dracula, Jane Eyre to Sherlock Holmes and Merlin to Gandalf, some of our best-loved characters have their roots in England’s towns, villages and countryside.

Pick your favourite or schedule all 16 into your adventures this year. Who knows, an iFootpath walk might even inspire you to pen a classic novel of your own...

Whitby Dracula Trail, 4.5 mile circular, North Yorkshire

Bram Stoker, who wrote Dracula in 1897, stayed at 7 Royal Crescent, Whitby in the summer of 1890 and set chapters 6-8 of the novel around Whitby, the fishing port on the mouth of the River Esk. There is a Bram Stoker Memorial seat, commemorating the view that inspired Stoker’s Whitby scenes. From here one can see the ruins of the Abbey, the Church and the stone steps and the cliffs to the left where the Russian ship ‘Demeter’ came ashore in a violent storm. Take some garlic around with you...just to be sure.


From Chawton in the Footsteps of Jane Austen, 5 mile circular, Hampshire

Jane Austen lived in Chawton from 1809 to 1817 and it was in her Chawton home that she penned the novels Mansfield Park, Emma and Persuasion. Jane and her sister spent a lot of time entertaining their nieces and nephews, playing the piano, sewing and walking both for pleasure and to visit friends. Today Chawton is home to the Jane Austen Museum and also the Centre for the Study of Early English Women's Writing, 1600-1830.


In the pawsteps of Winnie-the-Pooh, 5.5 mile circular, East Sussex

A trail around Ashdown Forest, the setting for the Winnie-the-Pooh stories written by AA Milne. The route gives you chance to immerse yourself in the world of Pooh and his friends. Play Poohsticks at Pooh Bridge, explore the 100 Aker Wood and visit Eeyore’s Gloomy Place.


The Kipling Roedean and Rottingdean Trail, 4.5 mile circular, East Sussex

A stroll along the south coast near Brighton, taking in the beautiful undercliff path, the pretty village of Rottingdean and then climbing up to Beacon Hill for the return leg across the Downs. Rottingdean was home to Rudyard Kipling from 1897 to 1902. It was here that Kipling wrote Kim and some of the Just So Stories.


Hurst Green and the Ribble Valley, 5.5 mile circular, Lancashire

A trail around the spectacular Ribble Valley in the Forest of Bowland. There are beautiful views throughout as you take in this peaceful and tranquil setting which, some speculate, could have been Tolkien’s inspiration for the Shires in the Lord of the Rings novels. Tolkien spent long periods in the area while his son taught classics at Stoneyhurst College.


Lawrence of Arabia Trail, 7.5 mile circular, Dorset

A trail from the Bovington Tank Museum in Dorset giving walkers the opportunity to visit both the former home and the final resting place of T. E. Lawrence, also known as Lawrence of Arabia. He first came to Bovington in 1923 where he joined the Tank Corps, buying the nearby retreat Clouds Hill in an attempt to escape the public eye. After a spell in the RAF he retired to Clouds Hill in 1935, but sadly only a few months later he was fatally injured in a motorbike accident. In literary terms he is best known for his account of his war experiences, Seven Pillars of Wisdom.


Tintagel and Barras Nose, 3.5 mile circular, Cornwall

A cliff top route along the Cornish coast with spectacular views across this section of the Atlantic coast and chance to learn more of the famous myths and legends surrounding King Arthur and the knights of the Round Table. 


Broadstairs to Margate: The Turner and Dickens Trail, 6 miles linear (train return), Kent

Broadstairs has strong connections with the writer Charles Dickens and Margate is closely associated the artist JMW Turner and throughout the walk you’ll have chance to learn more about these two icons of British cultural history.


Bronte Waterfalls, 4 mile circular, West Yorkshire

This area of West Yorkshire is known as Bronte Country, famous for its association with the Bronte sisters. The Bronte waterfall was a favourite of Anne and Charlotte. In 1854 Charlotte wrote, ‘It was fine indeed; a perfect torrent racing over the rocks, white and beautiful!’


Grantchester Village and Meadows, 6 mile circular, Cambridgeshire

Explore the old haunts of two of our finest poets, the war poet Rupert Brooke and Lord Byron of the Romantic Movement. In this quintessentially English village it is easy to imagine the two of them taking tea and swimming in the pools.


North Lees, Dennis Knoll and Stanage Edge, 3 mile circular, Derbyshire

North Lees Estate was once owned by the Eyre family and it is said that Charlotte Bronte visited the nearby North Lees Hall and that this is where she got her inspiration for her novel Jane Eyre.


Reading Town, River and Canal, 3 mile circular, Berkshire

This walk takes you past many of Reading’s landmarks, old and new, including Reading Goal, which is most famous for housing Oscar Wilde who languished there for 18 months between 1895 and 1897. On his release from gaol he wrote the famous poem The Ballard of Reading Gaol.


The White Hart and Shave Wood, 5 mile circular, Hampshire

This pub walk leads you through the New Forest to reach the nearby village of Minstead where you’ll have chance to visit the final resting place of Sherlock Holmes’ creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.


Dorchester Town Trail, 2 mile circular, Dorset

In his novel The Mayor of Casterbridge, Thomas Hardy created the fictional town of Casterbridge based on the town of Dorchester. The trail takes you past many of the modern day locations mentioned in the novel including the Maumbury Rings and the Mayor of Casterbridge’s house.


Ampthill and Maulden Trail, 5.5 mile circular, Bedfordshire

Enjoy the rolling landscape of the Bedfordshire hills plus visit the ruins of Houghton House, said to be the inspiration for House Beautiful in John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress. 


Marsden Bay and Cleadon Hills, 5 miles circular, Tyne and Wear

There’s something for everyone on this walk with meadows, windmills and the dramatic coast. Part of the route follows Bede’s Way, walking in the footsteps of 7th century pilgrims, from the twin monastery sites of St Peter’s in Wearmouth to St Paul’s in Jarrow. Bede was educated at the monastery from the age of seven and became a well-known scholar and author, his work gaining him the title of The Father of English History.  


Map of all iFootpath Great Literary Walks  


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Friday, 19 January 2018
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Introduction to iFootpath

iFootpath provides a mechanism to capture and share details of walks, but it is worth explaining the essential structure of a walk as they are stored in the iFootpath database. The basic concept is that a walk consists of any number of sections that are joined end to end. For each section we might want to describe views or other points of interest about that part of the walk.

The database that underpins iFootpath provides the mechanisms to store the structure and details of each walk, descriptions, photographs and mapping data for the overall walk and each section of it. It is not mandatory to enter information into every single field in the forms we provide, although some basic details are essential to ensure the walk database stays manageable and searcheable.

Each walk entered can be shared with all other iFootpath users, but before a walk (and its sections) are shared there are three stages it must go through. The first stage is as a "Draft". When a walk is in draft it is only visible and editable by you, the author of that walk. Whilst it is in draft form you can add sections, photographs, further description and refine it as you see fit. You can do as little or as much as you like. However, it is worth remembering that if someone (you) wants to print it off and take it as a walking guide, then it is worth taking the time to detail each section reasonably concisely. Long descriptions are generally distracting when walking and a short, concise version is usually much easier to use.

When you are happy with the walk description and its sections you can set the status to "Ready". This does not yet make it visible to everyone. It does, however, lock the editing (although you can change it back to draft and continue editing) and alerts the systems administrators that it requires reviewing prior to being "Published". When set to "Ready" the walk will be reviewed to check it contains the basic data needed and to ensure the content is clean. We do not allow content to include obscenities, swearing or other offensive language or pictures. This review does not check the walk for accuracy; whilst we would love to test each and every walk through walking we simply do not have the time. If we do find something wrong with the walk we will contact you and ask that it is fixed prior to marking it as "Published".

Once the walk is published it is now visible to any user of iFootpath and is therefore in the public domain given that anyone can register and access iFootpath. You are therefore responsible that any photographs used in your walk description are not infringing copyright. See our terms and conditions for further information on what we do and do not allow.

Published walks are available to all users of iFootpath and are listed in the walk browser to read or print and will be listed in the iPhone/iPod Touch application for download.

Walks in iFootpath

A walk in iFootpath is an introduction to the overall walk, identification of where it is and starts, some overview notes and general commentary.

Title (required)

A walk title should provide a brief indication of where or what the walk is. Walk titles do not have to be unique.

Description (required)

This provides a text area where you can describe the walk. Explain what you love about the walk, what makes it different and what people will see. In addition try to answer all the questions you might ask before going on a route. What sort of paths does the walk use? Any steep accents/descents? Are there any stiles? Are people likely to come across horse/cows/sheep?

County (required)

The county in which the walk starts is essential to help finding the walk in the database. Some walks may straddle more than one county - we suggest you select the county in which the walk starts or is mostly within.

Area (optional)

This field can be used, if you wish, to further identify where the walk is. This is particularly useful for large counties.

Walk Type (required)

To help quickly finding the right type of walk this provides a basic walk classification or type. Some walks may span two of these types - please use the type that fits the majority of the walk.

Length (required)

The length (in miles) of a walk is an approximation of the overall distance walked, not a measure of the distance "as the crow flies". iFootpath automatically completes this field based on the GPX file that has been uploaded.

Grade (required)

The grade of a walk is an indicator of how difficult it is to walk. This does not take into account the walk length but does suggest how challenging the walk will be. An easy walk, graded as 1 (and shown as 1 walking boot) indicates a walk that is essentially flat, has no sharp hills to climb, has no stiles or other obstacles, is easy to navigate (probably along a well worn path) and is suitable for most levels of fitness. Do be aware that the level of stamina required will vary and you should only walk within your limits - the indication of walk length will help with this. A difficult walk, graded as 5 (and represented by 5 boots) indicates a walk that is strenuous and involves steep ascents and/or descents. It may be technically challenging involving difficult terrain or obstacles.

Please note that the grading for walks is subjective and open to interpretation and should only be used as a guide when selecting a walk.

Map Ref / Start Point (optional)

The walk start point is an Ordnance Survey map reference to pinpoint the start point of the walk. This should be in the format:

AB 123 456

Further details of this system can be seen on the Ordnance Survey website.

Map Link (optional)

This optional field allows you to include a link to a web page containing a map showing the walk start. This is not the place to include any other links and the system will reject links to anything but Streetmap or Google Maps.

Start Point Co-ordinates (optional)

This pair of fields allows you to enter the longitude and latitude for the start point. iFootpath automatically completes this field based on the uploaded GPX file.

Key Image (required)

This is the main photograph used to illustrate the walk and can, if you wish, be the only photograph used of the walk. We recommend that you use a picture that characterises the walk, if possible, to show potential walkers what they might find or see. The picture must be in any of the main image formats (JPEG, GIF, BMP, PNG) and image files up to 2Mb in size are permitted. Once an image is uploaded it will be resized automatically and a smaller version saved that is optimised for viewing on both this website and iFootpath Mobile.

There are many image editing and manipulation applications available, so many that we cannot make particular recommendations although almost all are excellent. Our preferred way of saving images for iFootpath is to save or export them at a maximum size of 1024x1024 pixels as a JPEG file. This creates a file that is well under 2Mb in size, contains plenty of detail and displays well in almost any browser. Please be sure that you own the copyright to any images uploaded - you must have taken them yourself or have explicit permission. If you are concerned about image theft then we also suggest you include a small watermark in any corner of the image, but please remember that large watermarks that hide the image will not be popular with viewers!

Pdf file

Pdf file for walk

Icon (recommended)

The icon is a small image, 60 pixels square, used to provide a label for the walk when displayed in lists or in iFootpath Mobile. It is recommended that a small, square image for such use is created and uploaded. This should be in JPEG, GIF, BMP or PNG format and less than 100Kb in size. If you do not provide an icon the walk will be automatically given a generic system icon. If you do upload a photograph for the walk icon its size will be checked by the system and it will automatically be resized to 60 pixels square. However, please also note that if the image is not square in format it may be cropped and you will not get the result you might have expected. Just thought you should know!

Getting There (required)

This provides a text area to explain how to get to the start of the walk. It is good to include a post code.


This function allows you to see how your published walk would look, before you submit as 'Ready' for review.


When a walk is created and saved in iFootpath its status is automatically set to 'Draft'. This implies that you are still working on it and may want to come back later to add walk sections, images or other information. When you are ready for the walk to be shared with other iFootpath registered users then the status should be changed to 'Ready'. This will automatically notify the system that you want to share the walk. The system will check to ensure you have completed the required information and alert a reviewer. The reviewer will read through to check the content is clean and consistent with our terms of use. This does not check the accuracy of the walk details or any other information. If there are issues with the contents you will be contacted by email. The walk status will also be reset to 'Draft' in this case. More likely, however, that everything is fine in which case its status will be set to 'Published' at which point it becomes available for viewing and downloading by any registered user of iFootpath. This includes download to iFootpath Mobile.


Filters allow you to narrow down your search for walks of interest. By County restricts the list of walks to those in the selected County. The Filters links at the top of the list page allow you to jump quickly to the filters or to clear them.

Keyword Search

The Keyword search facility will search through the walk descriptions and notes to find words or phrases you specify.

My GPX Files

This page gives you the list of GPX files that you have uploaded from iFootpath mobile (or from other sources). You are able to view, edit, delete or download these files. Once you are happy with your GPX file you can 'convert to walk' to create a draft walk based on this data. This walk will appear under 'Manage My Walks'.

Manage My Walks

The list of walks presented are those you have written and entered into iFootpath. From here you can filter the list if you have lots to narrow down your search, list all or just those with a particular status. If you select a 'Published' or 'Ready' walk you will see a read-only version of your walk, although if 'Ready' you can reset status to 'Draft' again for further editing.

Walk Sections in iFootpath

Each walk section represents a particular piece of a walking route. The start and end of each section are defined by waypoints. Each section joins onto the next to form the complete walk. There is no limit to the number of sections a walk can have, but on a long walk we recommend breaking the route down into manageable pieces that are delineated by particular landmarks, turnings or changes in obvious route. Each section has its own photograph and descriptive text which should hold a photograph that illustrates the section and any instructions or other notes you want to add that may be of use in helping navigation or pointing things out.

Section Title (required)

The section title is used to provide a short name for the section. It is useful in section titles to provide an indication of the start and end, so using names of landmarks, roads, etc is a useful aid. Sections will be named automatically as the name of the waypoint at the end of that section. It is recommended that you rename the sections as something more useful to walkers.

Section Description (required)

This field is used to provide as much information as you wish about the walk section. This should include notes on navigation, even if obvious, and any further information you care to share about views, historical notes, things to look for, etc.

Key Image (recommended)

A picture can save many words and will often be very useful in helping to navigate or spot things along the route. The picture must be in any of the main image formats (JPEG, GIF, BMP, PNG) and image files up to 2Mb in size are permitted. Once an image is uploaded it will be resized automatically and a smaller version saved that is optimised for viewing on both this website and iFootpath Mobile.

Our preferred way of saving images for iFootpath is to save or export them at a maximum size of 1024x1024 pixels as a JPEG file. Please be sure that you own the copyright to any images uploaded - you must have taken them yourself or have explicit permission.

Map Ref (optional)

This allows the OS Map reference for the start and end of the section to be entered. These should be in the format:

AB 123 456

Further details of this system can be seen on the Ordnance Survey website.

Start/End Point (optional)

This provides the facility to capture the co-ordinates for the start and end points of the walk section. iFootpath will automatically complete this field based on the GPX file used to create the walk.

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