If you are used to travelling abroad, you might be surprised by the huge variety of landscapes within Britain’s shores. From the glens to the fens, fells to dells, seascapes to cityscapes, Britain can be as unusual and tempting as foreign climes.
Discovering Britain is the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG)’s flagship series of self-guided walks. Since the project started in 2011, over 100 walks have been created and over 220,000 people have used them to explore Britain’s landscapes first-hand.
At the heart of Discovering Britain is the Society’s desire to engage the wider public with all that geography has to offer. Geography explores the reasons why things are the way they are. It helps us understand the world around us – its peoples, places, and environments, and how they interact.
Discovering Britain does not just showcase diverse locations, it uncovers the often hidden geographical stories behind them. How did they come to be? How are they changing? What are the challenges for their future? And there is now an even wider range of activities available on the project’s website to enjoy and use to better understand Britain’s remarkable landscapes.
Building upon its selection of longer walks, Discovering Britain now also offers shorter trails and stand-alone viewpoints across the UK. No matter how much time you have, or how fit you are, everyone has the chance to discover something new.
If you’ve 15 minutes to spare, need somewhere to stretch your legs (and mind) during a long journey, or want to make your walk to work more interesting, then see if you can find a viewpoint near you. From the Welsh border town that has banned e-books to a London Tube station covered in fossils, the viewpoints can make you think twice about somewhere you thought you knew.
If you’re looking for a short walk near home or want to explore somewhere new, then try one of the family-friendly trails. The trail along the Suffolk coast from Dunwich is just a mile long, yet you’ll find out why one of England’s ten most important towns disappeared, discover how the East Coast battles with the sea, and explore why this remote, eerie place has inspired so many ghost stories.
Discovering Britain is ongoing and ever-growing, with new content added to the project website all the time. So explore the website, enjoy discovering the stories behind Britain’s landscapes, and come back again for new geographical walks, trails and viewpoints.
This was published in the April 2016 edition of Geographical magazine.