A COLLECTION of 'secret places' across England have been revealed in a new book – all of which you can now visit since the lowering of lockdown restrictions.
After almost two months under a strict lockdown, people are allowed to travel to beauty spots – as long as they maintain social distancing.
Married teaching couple Nikki Squires and Richard Clifford, and their friend John Webster spent almost every weekend for two years prior to the coronavirus pandemic visiting 1,600 little-known spots across Central England and the Midlands.
Their final list, featuring idyllic swims, ancient forests, lush valleys and sacred ruins, is published in Wild Guide Central England, which promotes an undiscovered area of the country for tourism.
Highlights include the Greenfield Waterfall in the North Peak District, which has an infinity pool overlooking the valley.
They also document the secluded beauty of Badger Dingle in South Staffordshire, and the flower-strewn meadows of South Warwickshire.
One of the most notable places in the book is Tufa Waterfall in Chedworth, the Cotswolds, as Richard, 44, an assistant head, proposed to English teacher Nikki, 44, there on the May Bank Holiday in 2019.
It is so remote people who work in a cafe one mile from the beauty spot didn't know it existed.
Scenic undiscovered spots for swims include Wessenden Falls at High Peak and the Severn/Vyrnwy Confluence in North Shropshire.
Enchanting lost ruins include Trinity Church in Brackenfield and the forgotten Spoonley Wood Roman Villa in the North Cotswolds.
The secret valleys of Downton Gorge in North Herefordshire and Wyming Brook Nature Reserve in Dark Peak are also highlighted, as are the ancient Siccaridge Woods and Wortley Hill Ancient Holloway in the South West Cotswolds.
The trio, who all live around Leicester, have also listed many artisan hotels, pubs and restaurants they stopped off at on their travels, as well as farm shops selling local produce.
The book is dedicated to their friend Lee Fairclough, another camping fanatic, who died suddenly about 15 years ago.
John, 45, an IT entrepreneur, said: "We had the idea of doing a book in 2017 because we saw no one had written one about the Midlands.
"For whatever reason, it had been overlooked, so we wanted that to change.
"Sure, people are aware of the Cotswolds and the Peak District, but then when their thoughts turn to the Midlands they think of industry.
"Actually, there are wonderful spots of wilderness to explore."
"For example, Tufa Waterfall is beautiful, but the people in the village didn't even know it existed.
"For two years we explored the area almost every weekend, which was wonderful.
"We actually visited 1,600 places, but whittled them down to 1,050 for the book.
"With what is going on in the country, these places are so remote they are the ideal for self-isolating!"
Richard and Nikki added: "Whilst both working at a secondary school in Leicester, we discovered a shared love of camping and adventuring.
"In the early days of our courtship we would escape for weekends, looking for lost ruins, iron age forts and great pubs.
"The only downside to our continued adventures was the absence of a Wild Guide for the Midlands area local to where we lived, so we thought 'why don't we do one?'
"We feel very lucky to have been to some incredibly beautiful places – standing at the top of Greenfield Waterfall in the North Peak District and looking across the infinity pool to the valley beyond was a fantastic thrill for us.
"Discovering the secluded beauty of Badger Dingle in South Staffordshire was another high.
"The other high for us was meeting such incredible people along the way – the genuine, hardworking, passionate small-holders, local producers and pub landlords who work so hard and so tirelessly to make their businesses work.
"The communities they serve welcomed us in and exuded pride when talking to us about their special places."
Wild Guide, Central England, by Nikki Squires, Richard Clifford and John Webster, costs £16.99 and is published by Wild Things Publishing.
We've also rounded up the best caravan sites in the UK to stay at when the lockdown is lifted further.
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