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The man who has walked and still is walking, the Peak District

Britain, Europe and the World; he has no equal.

John Merrill 

 Walk Guides

"Hiking the sacred paths and trails of the world for others to follow".

"The miracle of life is not to fly in the air, or walk-on the water, but to walk on the earth"- Chinese saying.

"For every mile that you walk, you extend your life by 21 mins."

photo - John Merrill on the summit of Stake Pass, on the Cumbria Way - May 2022.


Websites, individuals and organisations who illegally copy my work.


White Peak Challenge Walk by John N. Merrill

Our Latest Blog Entry

August 17th. 2021.


Over the last year I have been saddened to see my work exploited on dozens of websites, without permission; no written requests or emails recieved. Troubling that although I create, devise, write, map, photograpgh and publish a copyrighted guidebook with an ISBN; I have no rights. I have embroidered cloth badges to the walks and issue signed certificates. However, anyone is free to copy the walk and details and lead parties round at £40 a time and I get nothing! I cannot take legal action, to uphold my creations as the current British law states. Others rename a walk as though it was theirs. Others issue badges and certificates to “their” walk. Other websites list the walk’s details and add trail profile, log and gpx details, free. This is a gross infringment of my Intellecual rights. None have asked permission and need an agreement to do so. 

The following are some of the websites that have used my walks and creations and some of the action I have taken to stop these activites. I feel other guidebook/walk writers should be aware of what is happening and what the current law is. I was brought up to respect and honour people’s work but it is obvious not everyone has such scruples and prefer to rip people off.

Long Distance Walkers Association (LDWA) - I discovered last year that about 100 of my walks were on their website. At first this was fine, giving the walks name, start and finish and what maps needed, and guidebook. But, I then discovered that additional material such mileage, log, trail profile and gpx details were added. Members could then download this information free and no recompense for the author. I sent them a Cease and Desist letter and the next day all were removed from their website. They did not reply to my letter, or apolgise, nor enter into any agreement to put the gpx details on. I did not renew my membership despite being a few years ago the Guest honour and speaker at their annual weekend. They have copied my ideas over the last decades.

British Pilgrim’s Trust - I discovered some 30 of my pilgrim guides on their website. All giving the overall details and title. This was fine but I later learnt that my London to Canterbuy Pilgrimage guidebook had been renamed, Chaucer’s Way. I was not contacted first. Nor was I informed that my London to St. Albans Pilgrimage guidebook had been withdrawn because St. Albans Cathedral had created their own guide. Mine came out 10 years previously and follows my basic route. I told them to remove all my titles, which they did.

walkingenglishman - Found he had on his website several of my walks including, the Epping Forest Challenge Walk, Belvoir Witches Challenge Walk and Dark Peak Challenge Walk. Both had maps of the overall route and free gpx details. No acknowledgement that I was the creator and author of them. I sent his a stern letter advising him of his infringement. At first he told me off for harrassing him. I sent him a cease and desist letter but basically ignored it. Today I see they are no longer on his website and must of learnt elsewhere that I stating the true facts. - Discovered the site had a large article with photographs of walking my Belvoir Witches Challenge walk route, but no acknowledment that I had created the walk etc. Eventually with great reluctance he has added my the information but has considarable more of my information on his website.

One Step Walkers of Nottingham - Uses my walks but never acknowledge they are my walks and challenges and never order any badges and certificates. They recently did the Dark Peak Challenge but no mention. They are a group of more than 200.

The Limey Way - 40 miles from Castleton to Thorpe via 20 limestone Dales of the Peak District. Created etc., by me in May 1969. In 1974 a member of the Matlock Rotary Club, copied my route from Castleton for the first 10 miles and called it the Limestone Way. Despite legal action the route was waymarked and my work was ignored and considerable loss of livelhood. I resigned from the club in protest.

The Nine Edges Walk (Peak District) - I created this walk in the 1960’s and a guidebook to the walk was published in 1986 and is known as the Gritsone Edge Walk (23 miles) - a Peak District End to End walk, together with a limestone dale walk from Buxton to Ashbourne - 24 miles. Again badges and cerificates are issued by me. I only recently learnt that someone had renamed the walk and again no permission or request. I have had removed it from several websites, but work is still on-going. - Among my walks on this website is my Dark Peak Challenge Walk (23 miles). The site is very unstable and advised not to enter it, red banner stating - “dangerous website blocked”………. I am monitouring the situation.

Peak Walking Adventures ( - Recently found they were advertising, with dates, taking people around my Gritstone Edge Walk, White and Dark Peak Challenge Walks and charging £40 per person! Again no request and no remuneration to me. I sent a legal letter and they have removed the walks and schedule from their website. I can only assume and trust they are not leading people around the routes, but I am monitouring the situation.

White Peak Walk - Organised by the White Peak Way Committee of Monyash -

I discovered this site in 2020 when it was advertised as an annual event for charity as the White Peak Challenge Walk. This walk I created, devsied with a copyright book in 1983 and Monyash is halfway. They now advertise it as the White Peak Walk and their route map is idenitical to my original route. Also they now have had their own White Peak Walk badges made. Again no request for permission to use my route and again no acknowledgement that I created it. Strong Legal action is being taken.

I am afraid this is only the tip of the iceberg. I am discovering more and more “rip off’s” everyday. The details will be added to this list. All of the above walks have a copyright book by me on them and since the first edition the walks/books are regularly updated and reprinted. Unfortunately this is my .life’s work and how I earn my meagre living.

John Merrill has so far walked more than 227,500 miles and written more than 500 walk guides, covering some 8,700 routes. More than 100 of them are long and Day Challenge walks.

Please also note - Happy Walking is a registered trademark of the John Merrill Foundation.

Respect and honour his work.

Copyright - John N. Merrill 2021.

Email - [email protected]

Our Second Blog Entry

14 February 2020

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Our First Blog Entry

15 January 2020

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