For over seven years Tim Bond, the creator of Footscape, has been helping walkers of all ages to discover and re-discover the superb countryside of Dorset. Central to the ethos of Footscape is a very personal service and the local knowledge that comes from being based in the area. One of the clients has described his experience with Footscape as "concierge rambling". We are delighted to be taking over the reins from Tim.
Dorset has one of the most varied and spectacular coastlines in England, the "Jurassic Coast", which is of such beauty and such geological interest that it was designated by UNESCO in 2001 as England's first and only Natural World Heritage Site, joining the ranks of the Great Barrier Reef and the Grand Canyon. It is unspoilt, little known, not (yet) a major tourist destination and only two and a half hours from London or one hour from Southampton.
Inland lies "Hardy Country" - the beautiful landscapes and villages evoked by Thomas Hardy in his great novels.
The county is steeped in history, with its ancient ridgeway tracks, iron age hillforts, castles and abbeys, its traces of Viking, Roman and Norman invasions, its royal hunting grounds, its smugglers and its shipwrecks, all of which give the walker a sense of voyaging through time along paths that were used by celtic tribes, Roman legions, King John, Charles II and George III, as well as by Hardy himself and characters from his novels, such as the Mayor of Casterbridge, Jude the Obscure and Tess of the D'Urbevilles.
There are also several wonderful castles, houses and gardens that are open to the public.
All our walking holidays (hiking tours) are self-guided. Some are designed for those who want to be completely independent. Others include our own daily transport services to and from the trail, providing a lot of personal attention and flexibility.
Our walking holidays are essentially based on what we would want if we were the clients:
So these are the features and services that we aim to provide.
The focus of each of our two heritage tours is a particular theme of cultural or horticultural interest. On our small-group Thomas Hardy tour and Garden tour you can walk as much or as little as you like, but the optional daily walks are easier and shorter than those on our other walking holidays. Furthermore you walk or can be driven through gorgeous countryside and villages, with time for a midday stop at a pub for lunch or later a "Dorset cream tea" in the afternoon.
Please look at our walking holidays and heritage & garden tours pages to discover our full range of holiday options this year, as well as the services they include. Then you can click on those that interest you for a more detailed description and pricing.
You can check availability by completing our short online enquiry form which is accessed on each of our holiday or tour pages.
For each of our walking holidays, we will give you a Footscape Trail Guide for easy reference on your hike. Each Trail Guide is a compact, illustrated booklet providing detailed walking directions, times and distances, degrees of difficulty and practical information on pubs, restaurants and village shops.
It also gives a flavour of places along your route by describing the history, legends or oddball personalities associated with them. These passages are mostly extracts from the work of others, with the titles and authors’ names listed in the endnotes. Some of these descriptions were written a century or more ago, and provide an interesting view of the concerns and attitudes of the age.
Thanks so much for all your help and hospitality. Both Jack [age 7] and I really loved the walk, and Jack was very proud that he had a certificate to prove that he walked 11 miles. ”
Alana Dave, England