Heather Cowper is a travel blogger living in Bristol and when not enjoying weekend walks around Bristol she can be found hiking in the Dolomites or wandering a cliff path in Cornwall. She tells us a bit about her favourite walk…
Tell us a bit about your preferred Bristol walking route and why you love it so much.
I love the walk from Blaise Castle Estate to Kingsweston – it has all the key ingredients of a fun walk with fascinating history, views over the Severn estuary and a cup of tea at the end. We leave the car in the Blaise Castle Estate car park and perhaps pop across the road to see those cute thatched cottages in Blaise Hamlet. Then we climb up onto the mound to see the castle folly and look over gorge before continuing along the ride that leads to Kings Weston House. From the top of the ride, you can see the Severn Bridge and we love arriving at the beautiful 18th century King Weston House and having tea and cake in the café if it’s open before walking back again.
How long have you been walking there and when did you first discover it?
There’s a riding stable nearby and I used to take my kids riding there when they were tiny. It’s now one of our regular Sunday afternoon walks and we last went there with the family when it was snowy in December – it was a fun walk in the snow too and we did have the odd snowball fight on the way.
Who normally accompanies you on your walks?
My kids are grown up now so I’m normally out walking with my husband or with friends who may be visiting for the weekend. It’s a good one to take visitors to as there are so many interesting things to see around the Blaise Estate, with the museum, castle folly and kitchen gardens that are being restored by volunteers.
How do you feel when you’re out for a walk? Does it change your state of mind?
I find it clears my mind of all the minutiae of daily life especially when I’m getting bogged down in the endless to do list. After a long walk I feel pleasantly tired but mentally re-energised.
Have you experienced any health benefits from walking?
I think as you get older it’s a great exercise to build into daily life, especially if you’re not particularly sporty or keen on going to the gym. I try to walk as much as I can around Bristol, rather than catching the bus or driving to meetings. It’s the one exercise you can do for free with no commitment any time you please.
Do you have any particular kit you take with you when you’re walking? If so, what do you take and why?
My walking boots are a must – I have a very comfortable pair that support my feet and ankles, so I’m confident to stride out and set a good pace. If there are any muddy or sleep slopes involved I also take my walking poles. I got used to using them when hiking on the Tour de Mont Blanc in the Alps and often use them for a bit of extra support to avoid a twisted knee or ankle.
What tips would you give to anyone thinking about getting into walking?
Just start with a few walks close to home – there are plenty of guide books on walks in and around Bristol. I think it helps if you pair up with a friend and perhaps set a regular time to walk together – I often go out walking at the weekend with a friend who has a dog and we go to different places around Bristol in Ashton Court, Leigh Woods and in the Mendips. Walking groups are also a great way to get out and meet people as well as getting your weekly dose of fresh air.
Read more about Heather’s walking and hiking adventures at Heatheronhertravels.com