Getting back to nature… 21st century style

Here in Cornwall, the diverse scenery from one mile to the next makes it like nowhere else on Earth, and with May being National Walking Month, we thought we'd shine a light on a new means for every keen ambler to find great new places to stretch their legs.

Every year thousands of people flock to Cornwall from all over the globe to enjoy walking our breath-taking coastline and countryside. There are hundreds of walks to choose from, spanning the length and breadth of the county. But with beauty at every step it can sometimes be difficult to decide which new route to go for.

Do you opt to walk a stretch of the Cornish coastline, which in itself differs dramatically from the North to the South, stay inland and explore the resplendent countryside or, choose one of the many walks that includes a bit of everything? Cliff edge walks, long sandy expanses,an ancient heritage site or two, woodlands, dunes, fishing villages, estuaries, rivers and streams, award winning gardens…the list goes on.

There are several books that you can purchase containing dozens of circular walks in Cornwall, these usually give you all the information you need to get to and complete your chosen walk. However, there is now an App available for all smartphone owners out there that makes it even easier to discover and explore parts of Cornwall you may have never seen before. It’s called the iWalkCornwall app and it is free to download from the App store.

The iWalkCornwall app contains over 231 walks ranging from 2-10 miles and totalling 1114 miles of walking potential. The walks are classified by length, steepness grade, type of scenery and of course, where the pub stops are.

The great thing about this app is that you get to choose which walks are right for you and keep them stored in your phone to use time and time again, instead of purchasing a book that has 50 or so walks that may or may not suit your preferences or ability.

Each walk is just £1.99 to purchase and is yours to keep safely in your walking library and the app also includes a complimentary walk of Lanhydrock Gardens and a simulation mode for you to try the functionality before you buy further walks.

 

If you also use a smart watch that is paired with your phone then this makes things even easier again as the app sends gentle notifications to your wrist where you can read the next set of directions, learn interesting facts about the section of Cornwall you are currently in and receive alerts when if you begin to stray off course.

“The iWalk app is effectively a “SatNav” for walking, providing detailed directions and information about the local area, based on your current location but doesn’t talk at you, allowing you to enjoy your walk in peace.”

Rather than having to continually check in with your book to make sure you are still on the right route you can relax and enjoy your surroundings with the security of knowing that the app will prevent you from wandering miles off route or getting lost.

 

I decided to try the app out for myself and chose an area of Cornwall that I absolutely love but am not familiar with to see whether it was as useful and reliable as it purported to be. After downloading the app I opened it up and took a look at the map of Cornwall and decided where I wanted to go – I chose the Helford River on the South Coast – a 4.4 mile walk with a moderate walking grade.

Having purchased the “Porthallow to Gillan” walk the app gave me detailed directions to locate the starting point and we headed out with the dogs for the day. I have an Apple watch and this made the walk so easy to follow, whilst remaining totally unobtrusive. Throughout the walk the app gave us lost of interesting historical facts about the area and reminded us on more than one occasion that we had strayed from the route.

 

The instructions were so easy to understand and follow, it gave us a pre-warning as we approached areas of farmland where our dogs needed to be put on the lead and told us of the flora and fauna to look out for along the way.

The really great thing about this app is that it enables you to discover and confidently explore parts of Cornwall you may have never been or considered before. We were able to immerse ourselves in the true splendour of Cornwall and it left me wanting more.

From one happy iWalkCornwall app user and her even happier woofers, this is a must try for all walkers, explorers and adventurers.