Val McDermid nominates her favourite ramble for festival

ONE of Northumberland’s finest beaches is in the running in a search for the nation’s favourite National Trust walk.

Val McDermid

ONE of Northumberland’s finest beaches is in the running in a search for the nation’s favourite National Trust walk.

As part of the National Trust’s nationwide Festival of Walking taking place this week, eight celebrity supporters have nominated their favourite routes across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

In the North East, crime writer Val McDermid has chosen a walk at Low Newton by the Sea as the best stroll in the country.

The Northumberland coast captivated thriller-writer Val when she visited during filming of her work Wire in the Blood – so she decided to move there.

She said: “There are miles and miles and miles of sandy beach, generally mostly empty. Astonishing vistas, great views of castles, of dunes, it’s one of the most beautiful places in the world.”

Low Newton on Embleton Bay in Northumberland is a favourite spot for Val and her border terrier Mel, not only for the exercise but also for the inspiration it provides.

“I find walking by water is somehow helpful to the creative flow. Maybe it’s something to do with the movement of water but I always find that when I’m stuck when I’m writing, walking by the sea really helps,” she said.

This year has seen Val’s 25th novel published and her books have sold over 10 million copies worldwide.

Earlier this year she was given an honorary doctorate of education from Sunderland University in recognition of her achievements as an author.

Explorer and presenter Paul Rose chose the area around Lake Windermere in the Lake District for his walk while singer Toyah Wilcox opted for Northumberland-born Capability Brown’s sweeping parkland, Croome Park in Worcestershire.

Val’s walk starts at the public car park above Low Newton and heads down the hill to the village square, with views of the ruins of 14th Century Dunstanburgh Castle ahead. It also takes in Newton Pool and its two wildlife hides.

The other nominated walks are:

Croome Park, Worcestershire – nominasted by Toyah Wilcox, singer, songwriter and actress;

Wicken Fen, Cambridgeshire – Francis Pryor, archaeologist;

Noss Mayo, Devon – Adam Hart-Davis, broadcaster;

Mount Stewart, Northern Ireland – Zoe Salmon, TV presenter;

Windermere, Cumbria – Paul Rose, Vice President, Royal Geographical Society;

Ham House and Gardens – Omid Djalili, comedian

Powis Castle, Wales - Sian Lloyd, weather presenter.

:: People can join the debate online at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/walkingfestival . Everyone who nominates their own favourite will be entered into a prize draw to win National Trust walking boots. Click here to vote

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer