Countryfile – Ramble for Children in Need 2023

Countryfile - Ramble for Children in Need 2023

Countryfile – Ramble for Children in Need 2023 – Matt Baker, Charlotte Smith, Margherita Taylor, Joe Crowley, and John Craven are not just setting out for another adventure—they are embarking on a mission. As the cold winds start to breeze in, they’re readying themselves, putting on their beloved bobble hats, and stepping out for spirited rambles, all in the name of Children in Need 2023.


Countryfile – Ramble for Children in Need 2023



With an undying commitment to the cause, these passionate presenters will be partnering with five young luminaries. These inspiring youths, each with their unique stories of resilience and determination, have faced daunting challenges and emerged victorious. Their success stories, made possible through the indispensable projects powered by the charity, are a testament to the unwavering strength of the human spirit and the profound impact of community support.

Countryfile – Ramble for Children in Need 2023

This year promises an unparalleled exploration of some of the UK’s most pristine and scenic locales. Their journey begins at the rugged and raw beauty of Worms Head on the Gower Peninsula in Wales, where the waves kiss the rocky shores. From there, they’ll head northwards, delving deep into the heart of the captivating Nevis Gorge. Their path will climax at the imposing 120m high Steall Falls in Fort William, Scotland, where the roar of the waters is nothing short of nature’s symphony.

But the adventure doesn’t stop there. They’ll wander the ancient, whispering pathways of the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee woodland in Leicestershire, England. Each step revealing secrets from nature’s age-old tales. Concluding their odyssey, they will stand atop the vantage points of Castlewellan Forest Park in County Down, Northern Ireland. Here, they’ll be treated to a breathtaking canvas of the rugged Mourne Mountains, gracefully towering over the tranquil Irish Sea, painting a scene of pure serenity and grandeur.

Here is part 1 of the 4,000 word blog article:

Countryfile – Ramble for Children in Need 2023

It’s time for presenters Matt Baker, Charlotte Smith, Margherita Taylor, Joe Crowley and John Craven to pull on their bobble hats and get rambling in aid of Children in Need 2023.

They join five remarkable young people who have battled and overcome adversity with the help of projects supported by the charity. This year’s rambles include a challenging crossing to Worms Head on the Gower Peninsula in Wales, a trek through the dramatic Nevis Gorge to the 120m high Steall Falls in Fort William, Scotland, a hike through the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee ancient woodland in Leicestershire, England, and a trip to Castlewellan Forest Park in County Down, Northern Ireland, with dramatic views of the Mourne Mountains and the Irish Sea.

An Epic Trek to Worm’s Head in Wales

Worm’s Head is a spectacular tidal island located at the southern tip of the Gower Peninsula in Swansea, Wales. Connected to the mainland by a causeway at low tide, this “dragon” shaped headland offers breathtaking coastal scenery and a challenging 6-mile round trip walk.

The undulating path crosses rugged cliffs, winding downhill from the 400-foot summit of Rhossili Down over fields grazed by Welsh black cattle. Approaching the causeway, you’re greeted by the cries of oystercatchers and herring gulls that nest on the cliffs. Cross with care, as the causeway is covered at high tide.

Once you reach Worm’s Head, explore the network of caves carved by the sea. Visit the Banana Cave, named for the yellow lichen covering its walls. Savour spectacular views across Three Cliffs Bay toward the picturesque village of Mumbles near Swansea. For a true sense of this unique landscape, sit awhile listening to waves crash against these ancient rocks.

With care, continue along the headland’s spine to reach the furthest point, known as the Devil’s Tail. Watch for rockfalls and rogue waves whipped up by southwesterly winds. The intrepid can attempt to spot seals, dolphins, and grey Atlantic whales offshore. Just beware of isolation at high tide when the causeway disappears.

After retracing your steps, take time to reflect on this rewarding challenge. There’s a tranquility found at Worm’s Head that soothes the soul. As you return to Rhossili village, reward yourself with tea and Welshcakes at the Bay Bistro. You’ve earned it after conquering one of the Gower Peninsula’s most exhilarating walks.

Taking the Path Less Traveled Through Nevis Gorge, Scotland

Situated in Lochaber near Ben Nevis, Nevis Gorge is an inspiring natural wonder revered for its rugged woodlands and the roaring Steall Falls. This popular 5-mile circular route follows a high-cliff trail overlooking the gorge’s deep-cut River Nevis.

Starting from scenic Achintee Farm, the path winds uphill through oak woods and stands of Scots pine. Stone steps assist the climb beside turbulent rapids racing downstream. Stop often to admire views of the surrounding Mamore mountains. Listen for red deer rustling the brush and watch for golden eagles soaring over this epic landscape.

As the gorge narrows, the trail becomes steep and rocky in sections. Take care by testing each step and using walking poles for balance. The thundering roar of Steall Falls grows louder, signalling your approach to this spectacular 120-foot cataract. Allow time here to marvel at its raw power and cascading torrents.

Cross the wire bridge to admire Steall Falls from all angles, though take care as winds can make the bridge unsteady. If you have time, venture up the scenic Gulley Path for different vantage points. Otherwise, turn back and follow the cliffside trail overlooking the foaming River Nevis once more.

The return leg climbs gradually out of Nevis Gorge through peaceful glades blanketed in ferns. Stop often to look back on views of the gorge and its spectacular waterfalls — an unspoiled Scottish landscape to remember always. End the day’s adventure with whisky and haggis at the cosy Ben Nevis Inn.

Meandering Through Ancient Woodlands in Leicestershire

In the heart of Leicestershire lies a new expanse of ancient woodland created to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee. Spanning 450 acres near the village of Rearsby, this green oasis features oak forests and tranquil walking trails perfect for rambling.

Starting at Thrussington Mill, follow the River Wreake downstream through meadows dotted with hawthorn and blackthorn. The landscape soon transforms into dense oak woodlands teeming with wildlife. Listen for woodpeckers tapping the trunks while scanning the canopy for sparrowhawks and tawny owls.

Delight in discovering forest curiosities like the knee-high medieval earthworks that once fortified Rearsby. Let your imagination wander through Daisy Banks, an enchanted glade carpeted in bluebells each spring. When pathways diverge, take the trail less traveled just to see where it leads.

After weaving between mature oaks, pause by the babbling brook threading these woodlands. Dip your toes in its cooling shallows before looping back through sunny clearings swathed in foxgloves and clover. Don’t forget to bookmark a few shady spots to revisit with a picnic hamper next time.

Let the stillness of this ancient forest instill a sense of wonder. As the trail returns you to the mill, reflect on the legacy created in honour of Queen Elizabeth II’s selfless service. Leicestershire’s woodlands will only flourish and deepen with time — a living tribute to an extraordinary reign.

Scaling Northern Ireland’s Majestic Mourne Mountains

Straddling the border between Counties Down and Armagh, the arresting silhouettes of the Mourne Mountains have inspired legends and awed ramblers for centuries. Spanning 15 rocky miles, these windswept summits offer rigorous hikes through heather moors and Irish fairy lore.

Base yourself in Newcastle, and set out early to climb Slieve Donard, the highest peak at 2,794 feet. Follow the zigzagging Glen River Path over fields of granite boulders leading to the mountain’s jagged ridgeline. Bask in sweeping vistas, from the Isle of Man to Scotland’s peaks on clear days.

Next, traverse the seven-mile ring of Slieve Commedagh,andler[:method] Inspecting the provided files, here are some key points I gathered:

  • The walk to Worm’s Head is about 6 miles round trip along rugged cliffs and coastal scenery. It can be crossed at low tide. Key sights include Three Cliffs Bay, the Banana Cave, Devil’s Tail.
  • Nevis Gorge is a 5 mile circular route along cliffsides and through oak woods and pine forests, leading to the spectacular 120-foot Steall Falls. The wire bridge and Gulley Path offer good views.
  • The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee ancient woodland in Leicestershire covers 450 acres with oak forests and trails along the River Wreake. Sights include medieval earthworks, Daisy Banks, babbling brooks.
  • The Mourne Mountains in Northern Ireland have peaks up to 2794 ft. Slieve Donard and Slieve Commedagh offer challenging hikes with sweeping views of Scotland. The area has ties to Irish mythology.
  • Castlewellan Forest Park provides walks through woodlands and along lakes. Panoramic views from the castle. Scenic trails lead to Tollymore Forest Park and the Mourne Mountains.

Exploring the Lakelands of Castlewellan Forest Park

Set against the scenic backdrop of the Mourne Mountains, Castlewellan Forest Park is a walker’s paradise spanning 1,150 acres of woodland, lakes and panoramic vistas. From tranquil tree-lined trails to a challenging climb up Castle Hill, it’s a chance to experience Northern Ireland’s natural splendour.

Begin your visit at the historic Castlewellan Castle, with its regal tree-lined avenue approach across Lower Lake. Pop inside to explore the opulent interior or simply admire the Neo-Elizabethan architecture. Then head into Peace Maze, planted in the shape of a dove, to weave through its towering hedgerows.

Venture into the forest park’s great outdoors. Follow the 2-mile Lakeside Way along Lower Lake’s wooded shoreline, passing a pretty boathouse cafe en route. Meander through exotic arboretums flanked by flowering azaleas and camel’s back bridge across the River Bann.

For stunning panoramas, take on the steep ascent up Castle Hill. Start from the arboretum and follow the staircase carved into the hillside. At the summit, you’re rewarded with sensational views across Castlewellan, the Mourne Mountains and as far as the Isle of Man on clear days.

Afterwards, explore more easygoing trails around the park. Opt for the tranquil Tree Trail lined with magnificent sequoia, chestnut and eucalyptus. Or walk along the Glasdrumman River, where kingfishers flit between gorse and bracken. Return satisfied, having discovered Castlewellan Forest Park’s diverse beauty.

Rolling Hills and Rugged Peaks: Exploring Tollymore Forest Park

Bordering the Mourne Mountains, Tollymore Forest Park offers leafy trails meandering through woodlands and rocky slopes with panoramic mountain views. Spanning 630 acres of Northern Ireland’s most dynamic landscapes, it’s a playground for walkers and nature lovers.

Enter through the grand gated entrance and stroll along the mile-long Yew Tree Avenue, one of Tollymore’s most iconic sights. Pass through peaceful groves flanked by the Shimna River before crossing Parnell’s Bridge to reach the arboretum displaying Himalayan cedars.

Venture uphill through the park’s wilder sides. Climb up steep slopes carpeted in gorse and heather to reach the mountain foothills. Follow cairn-marked trails like the Cliff Walk for thrilling clifftop views. Watch for peregrine falcons soaring over the peaks.

Back at forest level, seek out scenic cascades rushing over granite boulders. The park’s waterfall trail leads through mystical spots like the Druid’s Altar and Wish Stone that stir your imagination. Kid-friendly adventures include crossing the swaying canopy bridge and spotting pelo ponies grazing in meadows.

With trails catering to all abilities, Tollymore Forest Park promises sublime mountainous scenery with family-friendly discoveries. Its landscapes inspire a spirit of adventure in all who wander through.

The Spectacular Antrim Coast: Walking the Causeway Coast Way

Stretching 33 miles along Northern Ireland’s breathtaking Antrim coastline, the Causeway Coast Way offers cliffside walking from the Glens of Antrim to the Giant’s Causeway. This full day’s ramble reveals seascapes carved by the elements and brings Irish legends to life.

Begin in the old harbor town of Ballycastle, and head north crossing sandy White Park Bay. Pass ruins of Dunseverick Castle, where the hero Cú Chulainn is said to have battled the hag Dubh, before reaching the swaying Carrickarede Rope Bridge. Drink in views of offshore Rathlin Island, then continue onward through the picturesque fishing village of Ballintoy.

The trail soon brings you to one of the Causeway Coast’s crowning glories, the Giant’s Causeway. Marvel at the volcanic stone columns here, formed over 60 million years ago according to legend by the mighty giant Fionn mac Cumhaill. Enjoy time to clamber over the mesmerising stepping stones before catching a lift back to Ballycastle.

With exhilarating climbs across clifftops carved by the waves, the Causeway Coast Way captures Northern Ireland’s rugged glory in one unforgettable journey. Every twist in the trail reveals new wonders, from charming villages to the Giant’s Causeway’s geological grandeur.

Rambling Through Fermanagh Lakelands

The lakelands of County Fermanagh unfold as a watery paradise, inviting you to ramble through idyllic woodlands and meander along reed-fringed shores. This landscape of interconnected lakes and rivers is perfect for enjoying the best of Northern Ireland’s natural splendour at a leisurely pace.

Base yourself in the elegant waterside town Enniskillen. Explore its castle ruins and Riverside Walk along the River Erne. Drive the Lough Shore Trail around Lower Lough Erne, stopping to admire Belleek Pottery and Devenish Island’s ancient monastic ruins.

Venture into the National Trust estate at Florence Court, flanked by the Cuilcagh Mountains. Stroll through its forest trails, walled garden and Falls Walk waterfall cascade. Nearby, walk around the tranquil shores of Upper Lough Erne and the Crom Estate’s woodlands alive with birdsong.

Meander along quiet canals like the Woodford Canal, a haven for narrowboats and kingfishers. Spot ospreys fishing at Crom Castle. While based in Enniskillen, spend tranquil days messing about in boats on the Fermanagh lakelands, finding your own corner of wilderness here in Northern Ireland.

Legends of the Mountains: Exploring the Mourne Wall Trek

Stretching unbroken for 22 miles over 15 Mourne Mountain peaks, the Mourne Wall Trek is one of Northern Ireland’s most iconic challenging walks. Completed in 1922 after 35 years of construction, this granite-hewn wall snakes endlessly over bare slopes, providing handrails at precarious points.

This full-day trek starts at the costal village of Newcastle. Follow the track uphill through forest leading towards Slieve Binnian, the Mourne Wall’s first peak. Continue along the wall’s spine over the summits of Slieve Bearnagh and Slieve Meelmore, savouring windswept views.

The hike’s most demanding section comes as the Mourne Wall clambers sharply up Slieve Commedagh before traversing its narrow exposed ridge. Treat yourself to lunch atop Slieve Donard, Northern Ireland’s highest mountain. Later, the landscape mellows out with grassy trails meandering back to Newcastle.

With its mix of scrambling sections and gentle walking, the Mourne Wall Trek has cemented itself as a must-do challenge for any avid rambler. Its continuous wall becomes a metaphor for life – follow it faithfully through ups and downs, and you can achieve anything.

Legends of the Sea: Exploring the Strangford Lough Sea Walk

Located in County Down, Strangford Lough’s sheltered waters and fringing trails capture the spirit of the Irish coast like nowhere else. This 8-mile sea walk between Strangford and Portaferry explores medieval abbeys, tidal causeways, and the legends surrounding this narrow strait.

Start in Strangford village opposite 16th century Castle Ward. Follow trails to the ruined Audleystown Abbey and 14th century Ardtole Church, thought to house St Patrick’s grave. At ultra-scenic The Narrows, watch seals bask on rocky outcrops before crossing to Mahee Island via the ancient Portaferry Crossing.

Once on Mahee Island, continue south along the shoreline to 19th century Nendrum Monastic Site. These expansive ruins tell of Vikings raids that ended the 600-year-old holy community. Finally, return to Portaferry through coastal wetlands vibrant with wildfowl. Catch the ferry back to Strangford after this blissful day by the sea.

With its wealth of history, abundant wildlife, and scenic shoreline, the Strangford Lough Sea Walk promises a memorable journey. Let your imagination roam free along this coast steeped in Celtic legend and lore.

Scaling Sea Stacks: A Journey to Fair Head

On Northern Ireland’s spectacular north coast, the weather-sculpted headland of Fair Head provides a landscape of dizzying sea cliffs and geological drama. This 4-mile out-and-back walk navigates precarious footpaths around giant sea stacks and brings you to the summit of one of Europe’s highest coastal precipices.

The adventure begins at Murlough Bay, where houses cling to steep hillsides. Follow steps uphill through fields dotted with sheep. Pass through a kissing gate and the path narrows significantly across steep slopes high above the sea. Use ropes and handles bolted to the cliffs for support.

Inching around the base of the first mighty sea stack, Ballycastle Stack, adrenaline spikes as powerful waves crash below your feet. Continue carefully around the second and third stacks, before crossing wooden bridges and climbing 200 steps to Fair Head’s 264-foot summit.

Here, stand in awe staring down at swells smashing giant boulders fallen from these precipitous cliffs. On a clear day, you can see across to the Mull of Kintyre in Scotland. Descend using extreme care before rewarding your courage with a well-deserved pint in Ballycastle.

Here is part 3 of the article:

A Pilgrimage to Station Island: Walking in the Footsteps of Saints

Surrounded by the waters of Lough Derg in County Donegal, the remote Station Island has drawn pilgrims for centuries seeking spiritual awakening. The traditional three-day pilgrimage route guides you around the island, stopping at stations to pray and meditate.

Begin your journey at Saint Patrick’s Purification Point, where Ireland’s patron saint once fasted and prayed. Circumnavigate the island clockwise, allowing the stillness of the surroundings to instill contemplative calm. Call into the saints’ beds, rocky alcoves where pilgrims give thanks and ask for blessings.

As you complete the endless circles around this small isle, reflect on the thousands who’ve walked this route before you. Pass the ‘wailing wall’ inscribed with hopeful messages. Drink water from Saint Patrick’s Well, believed to have healing powers. Finally, walk barefoot up the hill to the Basilica to give thanks.

Station Island’s timeless, profound serenity has transformed many a troubled soul. Even for non-pilgrims, completing the three-day ritual walk brings connection to Ireland’s spiritual heritage and saints who sought wisdom here. Let the island work its magic on you too.

Legends of the Lough: Exploring Lough Key Forest Park

Steeped in Irish folklore, Lough Key Forest Park offers a magical realm of woodlands, lakes, islands and more. Spanning over 1,000 acres in County Roscommon, it invites you to explore sites central to legends of the mystic queen Maeve and the sorcerer Fin McCool.

Venture first to Castle Island, inhabited from the 12th century. Climb to its hilltop ruins with views across the lough to the monastic site on Trinity Island. Retrace the footsteps of monks through the woods to Templeport Church, watching for red squirrels and rare whooper swans.

Near Knockvicar village lies the wishing chair, said to grant wishes to those who leave coins beneath its seat. Then comes the piece de resistance – the enchanted vale where Fin McCool fell under Maeve’s spell. Stand entranced before the wishing tree, now a gnarled oak adorned with lucky charms.

Let your imagination transport you back through the mists of time to an age of epic tales and magic. At Lough Key Forest Park, the legends woven into every lake, hill and tree will stir your sense of childlike wonder.

Crossing the Carrick-a-Rede Bridge: A Rope Bridge Adventure

Along the spectacular Antrim coastline, the Carrick-a-Rede bridge offers intrepid ramblers an adrenaline-pumping walking challenge. Cross this 65-foot suspension bridge just 16 feet above churning waves to reach a tiny island. It’s an unforgettable Northern Ireland adventure.

The coastal path to Carrick-a-Rede zigzags down cliffs carpeted in springy grass and Scotch broom. Pass through a kissing gate then descend 100 steps down sheer cliffs framed by gin-clear waters. Nerves spike as you step onto the bridge’s swinging planks high above the waves.

Inch carefully across as the bridge sways and creaks, using the rope handrails for security. Halfway along, pause and breathe deeply to absorb this unique landscape. Spot Carrick Island’s nesting seabird colonies before eventually arriving at the former salmon fishery.

After exploring the island’s rock pools, return across the exhilarating bridge. Treat yourself to warming soup or fresh fish and chips back at the National Trust cafe. While Carrick-a-Rede requires courage, the thrill of crossing this suspension bridge is an unbeatable Northern Ireland experience.

A Spiritual Journey: Walking the Saints’ Road to Croagh Patrick

For centuries, pilgrims have embarked on the arduous climb to the 2,516-foot summit of Croagh Patrick, following in the footsteps of Ireland’s patron saint. This 5-mile Saints’ Road provides a more gradual yet still challenging approach to the mountain and its deeply spiritual rewards.

Your walk begins at St Patrick’s statue in the village of Murrisk. Pass by white cottages abundant in foxgloves, and continue through verdant pastures dotted with grazing sheep. Pause at the National Famine Memorial; this solemn landmark commemorates Ireland’s tragic history.

As the trail becomes steeper, take time to read the inscribed Stations of the Cross that inspire reflection during your climb. Stop frequently to regain strength and admire panoramic views across Clew Bay to distant sea cliffs. Commit to pressing onward and upward.

The reward awaits at the mountain’s summit where St Patrick once fasted for 40 days. Here, among the wind-scoured wilderness, you may discover your own moment of enlightenment.

Conclusion

As this year’s Countryfile Ramble for Children in Need has shown, Northern Ireland and the surrounding regions offer some of the UK’s most spectacular and storied walking routes. From the dramatic volcanic columns of the Giant’s Causeway to the tranquil woodlands of Leicestershire, ramblers here are spoiled for choice.

Each location provides its own unique charms. The peaceful lakes of Fermanagh contrast beautifully with the windswept slopes of the Mourne Mountains. You can retrace the steps of saints at Station Island or awaken your imagination amid the magic of Lough Key Forest Park. Even lovers of adrenaline will find satisfaction braving Carrick-a-Rede’s swinging bridge high above the waves.

Underpinning it all is Northern Ireland’s rich literary heritage. Tales of Cú Chulainn, Queen Maeve, and the giant Fionn mac Cumhaill spring readily to life when exploring this picturesque landscape. It serves as the perfect storybook backdrop.

Most importantly, this year’s Countryfile Ramble reminds us of the children’s charity that brings the presenters and locations together. Thanks to donations raised by events like this, Children in Need can continue supporting crucial projects that transform young lives across the UK.

So put on your boots and get ready to start your own Northern Ireland adventure. Just a short ramble through its varied and majestic landscapes will capture your heart. The region’s wild beauty and lyrical legends offer inspiration to last a lifetime.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Countryfile Ramble for Children in Need?
Countryfile - Ramble for Children in Need 2023

The Countryfile Ramble for Children in Need is an annual fundraising event in which presenters from the BBC Countryfile program complete challenging walks across the UK to raise money for disadvantaged youth.

Which locations are included in the 2023 ramble?

Destinations in the 2023 ramble include Worm’s Head in Wales, Nevis Gorge in Scotland, the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee ancient woodland in Leicestershire, and various parks and mountains in Northern Ireland.

How can you take part in the Countryfile Ramble?

Although the main hike stars the TV presenters, members of the public are encouraged to plan their own sponsored walks in their local areas to raise money for Children in Need at the same time.

What projects does Children in Need fund?

Children in Need provides grants to support hundreds of grassroots projects across the UK that help disadvantaged children and young people overcome issues like poverty, abuse, neglect and illness.

How long has Countryfile been on air?

Countryfile first aired in 1988, making it one of the longest running shows on BBC television. It has built up a loyal following and reputation for showcasing the British countryside

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