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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.

The man who walked the Peak District

The man who walked the Peak District

This is the remarkable story of how John Merrill has so far walked more than 120,000 miles in the Peak District and Derbyshire. He has walked every path many times, explored every facet of the area - the limestone dales, gritstone edges and moorland and the rivers. As he walked he learnt the history of the landscape, the villages, churches, industry, halls, castles, customs, prehistoric remains and folklore. He discovered where planes had crashed on the moors and followed in the footsteps of the early rock climbers. He has left no stone unturned. The result of these walks, wearing out a hundred pairs of boots - he has written and published more than 200 books on the area and created a whole string of walks - more than 600. Some short and some long. His achievement is unprecedented and this is his story of how it began and developed. You will be humbled and want to put on your walking boots and explore the places he loves and knows intimately.

Happy walking!

All enquiries - [email protected]

Provisional price - £12.95. Due out Autumn 2022.

Perfect bound. 176 pages, 30 maps and sketches.

My Blog



Posted on January 30, 2019 at 9:52 AM
It was while on a cycle ride from London to Paris, that my route took me past High Rocks and onto Royal Tunbridge Wells. I almost fell of the bike at seeing High Rocks, so reminiscent of the gritstone outcrops of the Peak District and places like Armscliff Crag in Yorkshire, where I learnt to climb. I knew Harrisons Rocks were a southern climbing edge but didn’t realise they were part of the same sandstone vein that passes through this area. Back in the office I pulled out my maps looked where Harrisons Rocks was - close to High Rocks! That’s it, I thought next weekend I will walk there and discover the area and do a challenge walk.

So, I set off from Royal Tunbridge Wells and headed to Frant, a lofty place with extensive views. Then on through woodland and past lakes to look down on Bowles Rocks. I remember seeing adverts for this climbing ground and centre in early 1970’s  Outdoor magazines.  There is now a dry ski slope and several skiers were in action; will bring my short skis next time! I pressed on towards Groombridge but the early January daylight was fading and by sheer chance caught a bus back to Royal Tunbridge Wells, as the light faded. I returned to Groombridge the next day and retraced my steps so that I could explore Penns Rocks. This area was likewise like the Peak District with dales, twinkling streams and rolling sheep filled countryside, but uncharacteristically, Oast House’s!.

A mile later I was approaching Harrisons Rocks which reminded me of Froggatt Edge and the many climbs I had done there. Only a couple of climbers about, top roping easy chimneys. I sat nearby enjoying the solitude with the rock face beside me and the northern boulder opposite. Again time and daylight were a factor and I couldn’t linger too long and pressed onto Groombridge and the stunning moat surrounding Groombridge Place. Three miles later I reached High Rocks and paid my admission fee to wander around these sandstone rocks and pinnacles; some linked my bridges. I walked on and  through Freizland Wood (Woodland Trust) past more sandstone rocks as I headed back towards Royal Tunbridge Wells.

The walk and area were a walk down memory lane, for me, and amazed that there is a “southern” Peak District closeby here in East Sussex. Incredibly the route passes close to a Dovedale Farm! I shall come back as I have already walked the Wealdway, not realising what lay just off the route. So if you can’t get to the Peak District this is an admirable alternative and see several places where our early Everest climbers learnt their craft…….Enjoy!

Categories: John Merrill's recent walks

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5:47 AM on February 2, 2019 
I love cycling and watching cycle race on laptop is one of my hobbies as this is very healthful game. I am very glad to know about the racing track from London to Paris as you gave some information about this track in this article.
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4:23 PM on February 13, 2019 
It looks like you are hiking at places with a challenging trail, and I applaud you for it. I took hiking 10 years ago as a sort of exercise, but it has evolved now into a cardio activity and time-for-myself kind of thing. I sometimes hikes with buddies, but most of the time I am solitary. I am fortunate to live near where there is a good hiking trail. I traverse this trail almost without fail daily. I meditate while hiking. Most people know that meditation is done in a sitting still in a quite place. You can meditate while walking, emptying your mind of all things except being aware of your breathing and your surrounding.
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