Book review of Walking on the Costa Blanca by Terry Fletcher - published by Cicerone £14.95

MANY people these days, particularly those of retirement age, are choosing to spend some time each winter in warmer climes. And even those going to the Iberian Peninsula for a week do not necessarily want to spend all day sitting by the pool sipping their spritzers and pina colladas.

So what else do you do? Well there are the ancient ruins often to explore from the Greek or Roman Empire occupations in many of these Mediterranean coasts but for those who like exploring there are also many walks in these areas.

The latest book for travellers is Walking on the Costa Blanca by Terry Fletcher. Beyond the high rises of the coastal hotels lies a breathtaking world of accessible rocky mountains and gleaming limestone pinnacles. This book describes 50 circular walks and scrambles in these mountains from the three resorts of Alicante, Benidorm and Calp. These range from gentle strolls to much more demanding days with steep climbs s. The walks vary in length from 3km (2 miles) to 20km (12.5 miles). Something, therefore, for everyone whatever their age or abilities.

There is also information on the geology, wildlife and history of the areas and also planning details on where to go, where to stay and what equipment to take on the walks. All the walks include a simple map of the route, start/finish points, distance, grade of walk (Easy / Moderate / Strenuous), anticipated walking time, type of terrain encountered, height gained, which other maps to use, car parking or transport details and other relevant notes.

The author Terry Fletcher is possibly best known for his time as editor of The Countryman, Cumbria and Lake District Magazine and Dalesman. He has visited this part of Spain and walked and climbed along the mountains of the Costa Blanca for over 30 years giving him an intimate knowledge of the area.

This pocket sized guide is published by Cicerone, is in full colour throughout including a number of superb photographs for each walk and contains 224 pages detailing these 50 walks and also useful information including a glossary of walking terms from Spanish and Valenciano into English.

A lovely walking guide that will encourage travellers to this area of Spain to look beyond the beaches and bars and venture into the hinterland of the Costa Brava.

by John Burland