Hundreds of visitors to National Trust gardens Nymans at Handcross have taken up the property’s challenge to collectively walk 39,000 miles.
Walkers of all ages, from toddlers to great-grandparents, have already ambled, rambled, strolled and trekked a total of 7,445 miles across Nymans’ glorious gardens and ancient woodlands, in celebration of the Trust’s Great British Walk campaign – a two-month long festival of walking.
“Our 39,000 mile target is the distance originally covered by the intrepid Victorian plant hunters who crossed five continents to bring Nymans its international plant collection,” said Lisa Davies, Nymans’ marketing officer.
“To commemorate these amazing adventurers, and to encourage our visitors to have adventures of their own, we’ve come up with some great ideas to get people outside and discovering the delights of our countryside in autumn. We’re thrilled with the miles clocked up so far; everyone seems to be putting their best feet forward!”
New self-guided walking routes introduce visitors to Nymans exotic plant collections, which originate from as far afield as China and Chile, whilst Garden Rangers lead weekly ‘seasonal highlights’ walks. Those who want to go off the beaten track can head off into the woodlands on a circular walk, or try the geocaching challenge.
“Each route has been measured, so walkers can record their distance,” said Lisa. “So far, we’ve ‘trekked’ to Lebanon and then into China; another 7,000 miles will see us reach Japan, New Zealand and Australia, and if we get enough walkers on board, we’ll march into South Africa and the Americas. It’s amazing how far you can travel from a garden in Sussex!”
A prize and the title of ‘Super Strider’ will be awarded to the individual covering the most miles. There are two categories – under 11¾ and over 11¾ - and participants can register at the property, on Facebook (Nymans.NT), or by email to Nymans@nationaltrust.org.uk.
Visitors have been encouraged by Nymans very own walking champion, Senior Woods Ranger Chloe Bradbrooke, who is competing in the National Trust’s staff competition to see who can walk the furthest distance this autumn. Equipped with her own pedometer, Chloe has clocked up 125 miles in three weeks, putting her in second place so far, and a good chance of winning.
Chloe Bradbrooke is also on the panel of experts judging the National Trust’s nationwide competition to find the country’s ten Greatest British Walks, alongside BBC Countryfile presenter Julia Bradbury, and Editor of Country Walking Magazine Vincent Crump. The competition is organised in partnership with PruHealth..
Other Great British Walk event highlights at Nymans this October include guided foraging rambles, a family activity weekend, autumnal art and photography workshops, and a special walk commemorating the anniversary of the 1987 Great Storm.
To find out more about the Nymans Walking Challenge, and Great British Walk events, visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/nymans.
For more information on the Greatest British Walks competition, visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/greatbritishwalk.
Pictured here, walkers at Nymans.