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Best romantic literary walks

Lorna Cowan / 28 July 2016

If you love reading romantic novels, then you’ll love our pick of literary walks. Fans of Poldark, Persuasion and Wuthering Heights, read on.

Poldark walk in Cornwall
The rugged landscape around St Agnes inspired Winstom Graham's Poldark series

Perranporth, Cornwall, for a Poldark walk

Author Winston Graham wrote many of his novels in the Cornish seaside resort of Perranporth, the 12 books of Poldark included. So it comes as no surprise that nearby St Agnes and the surrounding rugged landscape inspired his work. On a walk in the area, which is rich in tin mining heritage, you’ll see why it was the perfect romantic setting for Captain Ross Poldark and Demelza to fall in love. Choose from one of five walks along the South West Coast Path – the three-and-a-half-mile route from Perranporth to St Agnes is dog friendly.

Best for: Poldark page turners.
Also good for: lunch at Jamaica Inn, the coach house on Bodmin Moor made famous by Daphne du Maurier.
For more details: South West Coast Path

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Exmoor, Devon and Somerset, for a Lorna Doone walk

RD Blackmore’s tale of Lorna Doone and her romance with farmer John Ridd is set in Doone Valley, a fictitious area of Exmoor which now appears on Ordnance Survey maps. This challenging circular walk, around nine miles, takes you across wild mystical moorland with some steep climbs and descents, before arriving at picturesque Badgworthy Water. Continue pass Cloud Farm and a memorial stone to honour the 19th-century author, then pop into St Mary’s in Oare, the church where Lorna’s wedding to John was abruptly interrupted.

Best for: Lorna Doone lovers.
Also good for: a bike ride or wander along the Tarka Trail, a series of footpaths inspired by Henry Williamson’s Tarka the Otter.
For more details: The AA

Find out about the best literary walks for children

Lyme Regis, Dorset, for a Persuasion walk

Author Jane Austen went on holiday to Lyme Regis in the early 1800s and in her last novel Persuasion (published after her death), the heroine of the story, Anne Elliott, is enjoying a break in the west Dorset resort when she meets the man she’s been in love with for years, who also happens to be on holiday. Enjoy a stroll through Langmoor and Lister Gardens before heading to the Cobb, the impressive harbour wall. Look out for Granny’s Teeth, a precarious set of stairs – these could be the steps Louisa Musgrove fell down while flirting with Captain Wentworth.

Best for: Persuasion populists.
Also good for: film fans, who may recall actress Meryl Streep standing on the Cobb in The French Lieutenant’s Woman, written by John Fowles.
For more details: Visit Lyme Regis


Haworth, Yorkshire, where the Brontë sisters spent much of their time

Haworth, Yorkshire, for a Wuthering Heights walk

The Brontë sisters – Anne, Charlotte and Emily – lived in the west Yorkshire village of Haworth and would spend much of their time (when not writing) exploring the neighbouring countryside. A 10-mile walk starting from Haworth takes you to Hebden Bridge along the Pennine Way, passing Top Withens, a ruined farmhouse which may have inspired Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights. Was this the secluded home of Catherine Earnshaw, where her ghost returned to see her beloved Heathcliff? Use your imagination and it may well be.

Best for: Wuthering Heights worshippers.
Also good for: trainspotters – relive the scene in Edith Nesbit’s The Railway Children on the bridge at Haworth.
For more details: Bradford Council

Higham, Kent, for a Great Expectations walk

Charles Dickens loved living in Kent and the characters that appear in his works, including Pip and his esteemed Estella, often had their roots in the English county. The marshlands surrounding the village of Higham inspired Dickens to write the vivid first chapter of Great Expectations, penned in a Swiss chalet he’d erected in the garden of his country home, Gad’s Hill Place. This seven-mile walk from Higham takes in many of the places Dickens was so familiar with, including Lower Higham, which bears a resemblance to Pip’s home village.

Best for: Great Expectations enthusiasts.
Also good for: a step back in time – an hour’s drive takes you to Canterbury, the destination featured in Chaucer’s medieval Tales.
For more details: Kent County Council

Eastwood, Nottinghamshire, for a Sons and Lovers walk

Author DH Lawrence did not write traditional romances, but if you’ve read Sons and Lovers or Lady Chatterley’s Lover, you’ll know he set pulses racing. A moderate walk, nearly six miles, starts near Eastwood, Lawrence’s industrial childhood home. Setting off from Colliers Wood, regenerated on the site of the former Moorgreen Colliery – known as Minton Pit in Sons and Lovers – the circular route continues through woods, pass the amusingly-named Brooksbreasting Farm before reaching St Mary’s Church in Greasley, aka Minton Church.

Best for: Sons and Lovers buffs.
Also good for: fans of folklore outlaw Robin Hood – Sherwood Forest, where Robin pledged his love to Maid Marian, is nearby.
For more details: The AA

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.

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