September 4th 2014

An ancient kingdom, unique Italian buildings and a very special ‘road less traveled’ are at the heart of our three brand-new Walks for 2015. England’s wild, mystic and beautiful Northumbria, the fascinating Puglia region of Italy and a centuries-old pilgrimage trail through Tuscany are all very different, but all offer wonderful hiking through quite unforgettable landscapes. Here’s what our Walk leaders, who designed these unique itineraries, have to say. For more than 1,000 years, pilgrims have walked the Via Francigena, once the major pilgrimage route from Northern Europe to the Holy See at Rome. We hike the route between the beautiful town of Lucca and magnificent Siena. ‘A road less traveled in modern times than the famous Camino de Santiago, this Pilgrim's Way is historically unequalled as it leads to the Eternal city, passing through the heart of Tuscany, much loved and celebrated by many illustrious characters,' says Lesley Downey. ‘The thing is really, the Francigena is the Italian part of the Camino, as it's all part of a network of roads leading to the holiest places.’ The scenery of the Via Francigena The scenery of the Via Francigena One of two Founders’ Walks in 2015, our new Walk in Puglia is in the heart of Italy’s most beautiful and undiscovered southern region. Walk leader Paolo Santioli says: ‘This walk in the foothills of Italy cover a very interesting part of my country; starting from the enchanting baroque town of Lecce and the nearby medieval seaside town of Otranto. ‘The famous characteristic area of Alberobello and Locorotondo with its countryside and the unique trulli buildings, only visible in this part of Italy, are one of the highlights of the week. ‘The nearby area of Matera is unforgettable where people lived in grottoes, or cave dwellings from prehistoric times. ‘Walking through ancient olive trees, orchards, Mediterranean shrubs and seaside small cliffs is a very varied and unforgettable experience for all the senses. It’s an area that must be seen!’ A Puglian street A Puglian street Alan Pinkney who designed and who will lead the second Founders’ Walk in Northumbria, in the north-eastern corner of England, has known the area since childhood. ‘I am delighted that the Wayfarers will have this unique opportunity to explore one of England's most beautiful coastlines,’ he says. ‘From my first childhood visits, the Ancient Kingdom of Northumbria has always been a magical and mystical landscape of castles, abbeys and Viking raids, each with its own story to tell. ‘This stretch of coastline never fails to fire my imagination. It is a corner of England with a strong sense of culture and identity from the seafaring heritage of the coast to the remote and rugged landscape of the hills and moors. Join me on the trail and experience Britain's best kept secret…' To find out more about our new Walks for 2015 go to our website, or download our Spring Preview 2015 brochure.

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