Reviewed by Emma Brailsford
Walking has always been one of my favourite past times and I thoroughly enjoy getting outside in nature, admiring some beautiful scenery and getting some exercise. I am not a great lover of rain, but with waterproof trousers and a good waterproof jacket, I do not even mind a hike in wet weather! Walks in the local area are enjoyable wherever you are but, in the last few years, I have found myself searching for new walks to explore. In the past, I have used internet suggestions of walks but I have found it can take many hours of scrolling to find a suitable walk, find information about parking and toilet facilities etc.
I was lucky enough to review the AA Walk Guides: ‘50 Walks in Surrey’ and ‘50 Walks in Sussex and the South Downs’. Firstly, I went to the ‘Walks locator map’ located on page 7 of both guides and this enabled me to see the location of the walks within the county, perfect to decide whereabouts I wanted to travel and walk to on that particular day. The walks on the locator map are colour coded according to the difficulty of the walk: easy, intermediate and hard which, again, helped me in making a quick decision about my chosen walk of the day. On page 4 and 5 of the books there is a Contents Page which shows the colour coded difficulty of the walk, the immediate area of the walk, the gradient, the distance and of course, the page number on which to find the walk so some people may find these two pages their go-to before the locator map.
Each of the 50 walks contains really useful information regarding key logistics: distance/time, ascent/gradient, path information, landscape, grid reference for start/finish, dog friendliness, parking and public toilets. I personally found the parking and toilet information very useful! Each walk begins with a little blurb about the history of the area and I found out lots of new details about the area in which I have grown up in. There is an ordinance survey map of each of the walk areas containing numbered points and the route demarcated by a red, dashed line. Written instructions correlate with each numbered point of the walk and I found these to be detailed enough, without having to have your head in a book for much of the walk.
The guides have a paperback cover with a shiny covering which means the odd rain drop can be wiped off quickly. The books measure 22cm by 11.8cm by 0.8cm. I found the narrow width of the book useful as the guide fitted in the pocket of my waterproof jacket which saved having to carrying the book for the full duration of the walk.
The AA Walk Guide books have proved so useful in finding walks that I can do immediately, and I am now converted to using walk guides! I would recommend the guides as perfect gifts for anyone interested in walking or hiking.
Rating: 5 out of 5
This product can be purchased from The AA here and then clicking through to the AA Amazon shop. The AA website is a really useful website and you can use the route planner to plan your journey to the start of the walk, and even plan walking breaks abroad with the European route planner.