Today we’ve launched some new walks taking in some of the most unusually named places on our land.
The ten ‘Silly Walks’ have been created at places such as Kiss me Arse Steps in Cornwall and Scrubby Bottoms in Pembrokeshire.
The walking guides will be available to download for free from 1 April 2011 from www.nationaltrust.org.uk/walks and have been launched as part of a wider initiative to encourage the nation to get outdoors and closer to nature.
Jo Burgon, Outdoors Programme Director for the National Trust, said: “The National Trust looks after a hugely an extremely diverse range of places from green urban spaces to remote islands and for too long these places have been one of the Trust’s best kept secrets.
“We’re finding that more people want to get out into the great outdoors but often need to be pointed in the right direction. Part of the joy of being outdoors is having a great experience and these silly walks are designed to tap in to the British love of a real sense of humour.”
The walks vary in length from one to four miles and anyone taking part will be invited to share their experience by uploading photos of the walk to Twitter with the hashtag #NTsillywalks.
The English Places Names Society based at Nottingham University would also like walkers to get in touch to report on the state of more remote spots around the country.
Paul Savill, Editor of the Journal of the English Place-Name Society, and former Principal Research Fellow for the Society, said: “Place-names in England and Wales are often the product of long evolution. Swine in East Yorkshire has nothing to do with pigs, Nasty in Hertfordshire is not a comment on the living conditions, Snoring in Norfolk has nothing to do with sleep and Trevor in Wales is not the name of a man.
“Most names describe the geography or ownership of the land, so finding out the meaning of place-names may be particularly useful to walkers. As place-name scholars work on interpreting documents containing names, information about the physical appearance and condition of the places named is vital which is why we want to hear from you.”
Limited edition commemorative t-shirts will be given away to the first ten people who complete each walk and tweet their photograph of it as proof. The t-shirts feature the iconic National Trust omega sign specially created with the silly place name underneath.
Last year 350,000 walks, or one every one and a half minutes, were downloaded from the National Trust website.
The ‘silly’ walks in the south west are:
Booby’s Bay, Cornwall
A booby is a seabird closely related to the gannet and can be seen diving off-shore in stormy weather which might explain the name. This four mile walk takes the walker popular stretch of the north Cornish coast offers walkers stunning views across Constantine Bay and onwards to the lighthouse at Trevose Head. There is the chance to see some rare species of bird and plant life, and hidden coves. For more information call: 01208 863046.
Slapper’s Rock, North Helford, Cornwall
The rock may well be named after the sound of the sea hitting it and slap in Old English meant a ‘slippery muddy place’ that could well have an influence on its name. The four mile walk runs east of the valleys of the National Trust’s Glendurgan Garden, and next to Helford River, is a mixture of woodland and cliff-top, wildflower-rich fields. You can spot wild thyme, heathers, orchids, dog violets and sea campion growing here and a variety of wartime structures as during the Second World War the Helford River was the base for operations against German-occupied Europe. For more information call: 01872 862090.
Kiss me Arse Steps, Lansallos, Cornwall
The origins of the name are somewhat mysterious but it is believed to have been coined from the steep steps which on ascending would result in the person in front you having their posterior close to your face.
This walk of three miles takes the walker along a magnificent stretch of coastline with the natural splendour of secluded coves and beaches. Slightly inland, the soft rolling hills separate the coast from farmland and the sunken lane at Lansallos Cove conjures up images of smugglers and wreckers hauling carts laden with contraband. For more information call: 01208 265212.
Scratch Arse Ware, Dancing Ledge, Dorset
The meaning behind the Scratch Arse part of the name are unclear and the National Trust would love to hear theories on this and land for rough grazing is normally known as ‘Ware’. This four mile walk along the spectacular Jurassic Coast has been shaped by the quarrying industry and the ever-changing backdrop of the sea. In spring this area has many wildflowers such as cowslips, chalk milkwort, horseshoe vetch and the rare early spider orchid. Butterflies such as chalkhill and Adonis blue, and the local Lulworth Skipper also thrive on the short turf. For more information call: 01297 561900.