The man who has walked and still is walking, the Peak District,
Britain, Europe and the World; he has no equal.
Peak district walk guides. Essex walk guides. Hertfordshire walk guides. Books by John Merrill. Day challenge walks. Pilgrimage guides.
THE RODINGS DAY CHALLENGE WALK
25 mile circular walk in the Rodings area of Essex, linking together the nine unspoilt Roding villages. Most have a Norman church. A remarkable and unforgotten area with good paths.
DAY CHALLENGE WALKS
the successful can obtain a special embroidered badge and signed certificate for each challenge walk.
SURREY HILLS CHALLENGE WALK - 23 MILES
Starts and ends at Abinger Hammer and takes in the highest hills of South-East England, with stunning views. Includes Surrey's prettiest village and involves 600m (2,000 ft) of ascent. A surprising walk! Embroidered Badge and certificate for the successful.
NORFOLK BROADS CHALLENGE WALK - 20 MILES
Starts and ends at Halvergate near Great Yarmouth. A remote walk beside the River Yare to Reedham - halfway with inn, ferry and campsite. Past many historic drainage mills, A beautiful walk.
THE BOSHAM CHALLENGE WALK - 18 MILES
A fascinating walk from Bosham, Sussex to Fishbourne - Roman mosaics, Chitchester - cathedral - Chitchester Canal and along the coast following a "submerged" path back to historic Bosham.
THE ISLE OF THANET CHALLENGE WALK - 24 MILES
From Margate, along the coast to Pegwell Bay and then inland across the former island back to Margate. Great variety and full of history including the village of Minster in Thanet.
THE KING JOHN CHALLENGE WALK - 24 MILES
From Virginia Water around the Windsor Great Park, to Windsor and beside the Thames to Runnymeade, where the Magna Carta was signed. A walk rich in history - fascinating!
Created and devised by John Merrill in 1983.
THE WHITE PEAK CHALLENGE WALK - 25 MILES
NEW 2020 EDITION.
Circular walk from Bakewell around the White Peak to Lathkill Dale and Monyash and back over gritstone country - Robin Hood's Stride. The original Merrill challenge walked by more than 45,000 and raised more than £160,000 for charity.
The fine traditional market town of Bakewell is the central point of the Peak
District,and a logical starting point for a challenge walk in the area. My aim has
been to create—
I. a circular walk, using footpaths as much as possible.
2. a walk that could be accomplished within a day—10 hours.
3. a challenge,making the route as rugged as possible, but one that is
within everyone's capability.
4. to combine as much scenic variety in the route as possible.
Bearing these points in mind, the walk takes you through limestone scenery—
plateaux and dales; across gritstone moorland and past rocky outcrops; and
along river valleys. The paths are in the main little used ones.Several of the
well-known areas such as Monsal Dale will be seen from different angles
providing stunning views. En route are numerous historical sites and ancient
monuments. You pass through several villages where there are shops and inns
to ‘help you' on your way.
| first walked the route over three mornings just before Christmas in appalling
conditions—wind, cold and rain. As | walked | checked the route, making
careful notes. | have since walked it twenty times—usually in eight hours—and
can assure you that it is a splendid circuit!
The first copyright guidebook to the walk was published in 1983 and regularly updated and enlarged, the last time in July 2021.
By the end of 2008 more than 16,500 people have completed the walk in an
average time of |0 hours. The longest on record is 16 hours,and the fastest-—
running—is 4hrs |4 minutes; this was their third attempt! Many have used the
walk to raise money for charity, and so far approximately £145,000 has been
All that remains for me to say is—have a good walk, let me know how you get
on, and may the sun shine all day and may your feet remain dry and blister free!
PLEASE NOTE - The White Peak Walk is a total copy of this walk and is not authorised by me nor are the badges and certificates. This is fraud and steps are being taken to have it removed.....RESPECT OTHER PEOPLE WORK.
Created and devised by John Merrill in 1983.
THE DARK PEAK CHALLENGE WALK - 24 MILES
NEW 2020 EDITION.
A tough challenge from Hathersage over Stanage Edge and Win Hill. Great views and an average time of 10 hours to complete.
Many people who have walked some of my other day challenge walks
frequently asked for another in the Peak District. I had already been
thinking along these lines, for the other one is basically a "White Peak"
challenge. The Dark Peak offers numerous permutations and for the
last year I have pooling my thoughts as to a route. At first I wanted to
do Kinder and Bleaklow but in reality the routes were too long and not
really safe for the less experienced in bad weather. In the end I decided
upon Hathersage as the start and finish, for it has all amenities
including a Youth Hostel and campsite nearby.
With the start finalised I toyed with several route options before
finalising this route. Unlike my other walks I decided to do it anti-
clockwise, and for me I saw many of my favourite places from the other
side, creating a walk which abounds in wide views all the way. I
finalised the route on paper by Christmas but because ofso many other
books to complete it was five months before I could do my inaugural
walk; and what a day I chose—mid May and continuous sun all day.
I ended up very sunburnt and with two large blisters from my new
boots, but a walk I will remember with great affection for years to come.
I left Hathersage car park at 9.30 a.m. and adopted a steady pace as
I began the climb via North Lees Hall to the top of Stanage Edge.
Incredibly there were few about and all day I saw hardly anyone—they
didn't know what they were missing. My route took me over High Neb
and down to Moscar. Here followed the next gentle but long ascent
along the incomparable Derwent Edge past the Salt Cellar to Back Tor.
Next came a long descent which in its latter stages is quite steep to the
aptly named Walker's Clough and Derwent Reservoir. As I walked
along Derwent Edge I could see the summit pinnacle of Win Hill,
knowing this was my last peak of the day. To get there involved a short
ascent and descent via Lockerbrook to the River Ashop. Here the final
ascent began, steep at first but from Hope Cross more gentle as I
walked the spine of Win Hill to its rocky crest. Standing on the summit
the view took in the whole of the route. Footsore I descended to
Thornhill and on past the incredibly attractive Bamford Mill into
Bamford and the first shops and pubs on the walk! The final three miles
were across the fields ascending and descending back to Hathersage.
I was sorry it was over—a fantastic walk with breathtaking views all the
way. I can only hope that on your walk you en joy such fine weather and
see the beauty of this area at its best. Have a good walk and let me know
how you get on.
Happy walking! John N, Merrill
THE HAPPY HIKER CHALLENGE WALK - 26 MILES
From Over Haddon, near Bakewell, Derbyshire. Across the White Peak to Longnor and back. Beautiful walk with fine views.
JENNIFER'S CHALLENGE WALK - 24 MILES
From Brassington, Derbyshire around the southern area of the Peak District and Derbyshire, including Carsington Water. Fascinating villages and used to raise money for Arhritis Charities.
YORKSHIRE DALES CHALLENGE WALK 25 MILES
From Kettlewell and traversing the dales and hills. Special low price
Created and devised by John Merrill in 1988.
THE NORTH YORKSHIRE MOORS CHALLENGE WALK - 25 MILES
From Goathland across the moors to Robin Hood's Bay and back! Special price
LITTLE JOHN CHALLENGE WALK - 28 MILES
From Ewinstowe around Sherwood Forest via Major Oak, Clumber Park and Robin Hood's Cave. Lovely forest walk with inns!
Limestone Dale Walk - end to end.
PEAK DISTRICT END TO END WALKS - 24 MILES
Two walks - Limestone dales from Buxton - 24 miles. Gritstone edges from Derwent Reservoir to Baslow - 23 miles. Two classic walks.
l am often asked, “What is your favourite walk in the Peak District?’ With
such variety of walking in such a small area, itis a hard question to answer. But, in the final analysis I resort to the two walks I first did when I was ‘a wee young lad’! The first was along the gritstone edges—a walk Ihave done more than forty times! The other is down the limestone dales — this I have walked more than thirty times! These two walks make ideal ‘bashes’ or ‘flogs’ and can be knocked off in about eight hours each. But
I am flippant, for they are the grandslam of Peak District beauty and always a joy to walk.
The gritstone edge route has for me become an annual event; usually on New Year’s Day. I set off carrying a bottle of red wine, a chicken leg and a large hunk of Christmas cake. My rules are simple - walk end to end, do
a climb on each edge as I go, and have a drink on every edge! Generally I do hard climbs first, but as the walk progresses and the effort and alchohol take effect, the climbs become easier and easier. I know of no finer ‘first footing’ and each year I look forward to yet another epic. Newsof my walks has got around and more recently there have been ‘Merrill watchers’ on the various edges. To add to the spice of the annual struggle I have taken to wearing a disguise and sometimes fancy dress to confuse the ‘spies’, looking for a bearded, tottering shorts-wearing walker!
The limestone dale route is a summer walk for me in June when the flowers are at their best and many dales full of orchids. Apart from the Dovedale/Wolfscote Dale section, I rarely meet anyone and enjoy the solitude of along day’s hike. I carry no liquid and only have a couple of bars of chocolate to sustain me. My June 1986 walk was full of superlatives, being crystal clear weather and 80 degrees, leaving me burnt and ratherred on reaching Ashbourne, but five pounds lighter in weight!
NEW EDITION - JULY 2021.
Created and devised by John Merrill. All rights reserved.
THE RIVER'S WAY (PEAK DISTRICT) - 40 MILES
From Edale to Ilam via the major rivers. Can be done in a day or over 2 days.. Special price
Created and devised by John Merrill in 1969.
THE LIMEY WAY - 40 MILES
John Merrill's original classic walk from Castle to Thorpe via 20 limestone dales. A stunning walk either in 24 hours or 48 hours.
THE MIDDLEWICH CHALLENGE WALK - 25 MILES
From Middlewich, Cheshire along canals and countryside in this charming unspoilt area of countryside.
THE QUANTOCK WAY - 36 MILES
The complete traverse of the Quantock hills to Minehead. High level walk with great views.
THE BRIGHTON WAY - 52 MILES
From East Grinstead to Brighton and can be done in stages as each stage ends at a railway station on the Brighton line. Fine finish over the South Downs.
THE HERTFORD CHALLENGE WALK - 26 MILES
From Hertford over rolling landscape past estates and pretty villages.
THE STAFFORDSHIRE MOORLANDS CHALLENGE WALK - 25 MILES
Around the ChurneT Valley and Weaver Hills -a wonderful walk. Special low price.
THE LAKELAND CHALLENGE WALK - 18 MILES
A tough challenge with much ascent and descent from Langdale over the Pikes and onto Scafell Pike and back! Speical offer price
THE RUTLAND WATER CHALLENGE WALK - 25 MILES
The complete encirclement of Rutland Water, on good paths and including the Hamilton Peninsula. Special low price.
THE MALVERN HILLS CHALLENGE WALK 20 MILES
NEW 2019 EDITION - The complete traverse of the stunning hills with great views.
THE SALTERS WAY - 28 MILES
Follows the medieval salt ways from Northwich to the Peak District. A voyage of discovery.
THE CHARNWOOD FOREST CHALLENGE WALK - 25 MILES
From Bradgate Park and ascends many of the hills in the area. Passing abbey's and reservoirs that make up this beautiful area.
THE THREE COUNTIES CHALLENGE WALK - 28 MILES
A tough walk from the Cat & Fiddle to Shutlingsloe and the Roaches, and three Shires Head - Derbyshire, Staffordshire and Cheshire. A connisours walk!
THE BELVOIR WITCHES CHALLENGE WALK - 22 MILES
A walk through the Vale of Belvoir to Belvoir Castle where the "Belvoir Wiches" did their magic. Then along a section of the Grantham canal back to the start. Not for the faint hearted! New edition 2022.
SWEET PEA CHALLENGE
THE SWEET PEA CHALLENGE WALK - 25 MILES
Starts from Wem, the home of the Sweet Pea. Delightful rolling Shropshire countryside.
New updated version - July 2021.
THE FOREST OF BOWLAND CHALLENGE WALK - 25 MILES
Remote moorland and three stunning mountains to climb. A peaceful walk in great countryside.
THE DERBY CANAL RING - 28 MILES
From Derby following the former Derby Canal, and the Trent & Mersey Canal and Erewash Canal.
THE LINCOLNSHIRE WOLDS BLACK DEATH CHALLENGE WALK - 25 MILES
From Louth via several "Lost Village " sites due to the 14th. century Plague. Fascinating walk. Pub and accommodation halfway!
THE EPPING FOREST CHALLENGE WALK - 22 MILES
Starting from Waltham Abbey, Essex, the walk encircles and traverses Epping Forest and you ascend hills with views to London's skyline and return along the River Lee Navigation.
THE CAL-DER-WENT WALK
Classic walk originated by Geoffrey Carr from the River Calder to Ladybower Reservoir and River Derwent. -30miles from South Yorkshire over the moorlands of the Peak District. New edition by John Merrill - 2015. Badge and certificate available.
EAST DEVON CHALLENGE WALK
23 mile walk from Musbury and including the coastal pth between Lyme Regis and Seaton. A great walk!
THE SANDSTONE ROCKS CHALLENGE WALK
23 miles - from Royal Tunbridge Wells to Bowles Rocks, Penn Rocks, Harrison's Rocks and High Rocks in East Sussex. This is souther Peak District!
PORTLAND BILL CHALLENGE WALK
24 miles, following in my earliest footsteps, from Weymouth and around the Isle of Portland and back.
THE MATTERHORN CHALLENGE WALK - 26 MILES
From Melton Mowbray over the Wolds to Skillington and the memorial window to Rev. Charles Hudson who was in Edward Wymper's party to first climb the mountain. Tragically he fell to his death on the descent. The route continues to Grantham
THE ESSEX WITCHES CHALLENGE WALK
25 mile circular walk from Braintree, visiting many villages connected to witchcraft in the 16th. & 17th century. Includes the village of Coggeshall, with 350 listed buildings. Witch badge and certificate for the successful!