The On Foot Holidays team at home and abroad
Our team is just a call or an email away so please contact us to discuss any route or travel-related issues. You will normally be able to talk immediately to someone who has first-hand knowledge of the route you are interested in.
Our friendly team is just a call or an email away so please contact us to discuss any route or travel-related issues. You will normally be able to talk immediately to someone who has first-hand knowledge of the route you are interested in.
Simon is an Oxford alumnus and was for many years a Chartered Surveyor in private practice before he saw the light. He started On Foot Holidays in 2004 and hasn't needed a regular holiday since. Simon is Director of the company, and relishes getting away from his management responsibilities occasionally to go out testing new routes. A family man with wife, grown children and even grandchildren, he is kept in check by Max, a Jack Russell who is a regular visitor to the On Foot office.
Mary has been in the travel industry under many guises all her working life, joining On Foot Holidays in 2006. She looks after almost half the routes in the On Foot stable, including those in Greece, Portugal and Turkey, as well as much of our Italian and Spanish portfolios. Three massive sons keep her on her toes, in need of regular employment and on the touch line of many rugby pitches in the south of England. Often seen out and about with Harold (the best Jack Russell) who curiously, as fate would have it, hates walking.
What does one do with a degree in English but work in the travel industry? Well, via 25 years as an arts administrator in London, Cheltenham and Salisbury, Debbie still keeps her hand in at arts events locally, but loves exploring further afield on foot (of course), particularly with her son. Debbie is responsible for many of our routes, with a particular interest in France, central Europe and northern Spain.
Emma keeps the whole team on the straight and narrow and, with an MSc in Eco-tourism is probably the best qualified of any to work for a walking holiday company - she believes that walking is the perfect activity (though her husband disagrees unless a golf course is involved). A keen thespian, her stage triumphs include 'The 39 Steps' (of course) and 'Don't Get Your Vicars in a Twist' .... ahem.
Harriet, like the rest of the team is an 'all rounder' and looks after a few of our routes in eastern Europe, as well as some of our English routes. She spends much of her free time exploring the mountains of north Wales and she hopes one day to complete the long trek of the South West Coast Path, preferably with her two dogs (sounds familiar?). When not scrambling up mountains, she's been working on her Open University course in English - recently completed very successfully!
Patrick, being the youngest member of the team, Understands Modern Technology, and is becoming expert at developing our bookings systems. He manages the distribution of Walkers' Packs, and helps out with a multitude of other tasks. His degree in Fine Art has yet to be fully used here, but it will be. A keen interest in photography, wildlife and nature is certainly helpful; less so his wide knowledge of Chinese business practice and culture - but then who knows?
Fiona is happy in her work at On Foot - there will be humming in the corner as she makes maps and GPS tracks for clients, cleaning up the, ahem, wanderings that the staff have made in their pioneering excursions. Her career to date has been chequered and ranges from teaching the bewildered elderly how not to be frightened of computers and the bewildered young the joys of not eating play-doh. She has no pets, but two grown up daughters and a best beloved.
Heather joined the team to look after marketing and communications. She grew up in our home city of Salisbury, and after brief forays 'over the border' to work in New York and London, returned to work for a firm of property consultants and then a church music charity. Heather also did some work briefly for On Foot Holidays in its very early days, so it's a happy homecoming! Her interests are walking (phew....), and music-making - particularly choral singing. She doesn't have a dog.
Andy joined On Foot Holidays to help out with the busy walking season – he prepares Walkers’ Packs and finalises itineraries for our clients, as well as keeping our accounts in order. He has pioneered one of the On Foot routes, and walked many miles in the UK including part of the Coast to Coast route. And when not busy with all of that, he enjoys fine wine, singing, playing golf and looking after his young family and two cats.
Aaron, who is one of the youngest members of the team, has a love for nature and other cultures, so a walking company seemed like a perfect fit! He first developed this love when exploring Asia in his younger years. He now spends most of his free weekends walking in the New Forest with his partner and practising his photography.
Ellen grew up in Belgium with parents who loved travelling all over Europe, walking and hiking the mountains. Once old enough, her own travels took her to Asia and Australia, before ending up in Cornwall where she raised her family, and eventually moving to Salisbury. Having worked in customer-facing roles all her life, she's happy to now combine those skills with her passion for walking, travel and languages.
Her coffee mug says “Thursday’s child has far to go”, and that has always been an ideal close to Ali’s heart. Born in what’s now Bangladesh (her dad was a tea taster), she moved back to the UK for school and then Nottingham University to study Geography and Archaeology. Deciding that careers in the police and museums weren’t for her, she chose to teach Geography. She has been lucky to travel through Turkey to Iran, and explored Peru and Malaysia. Using French O Level she’s visited France for holidays and exchanges and is a dedicated Francophile. Before getting the job with On Foot she sampled many of their holidays as a client. Likes good wine, reading, opera and other music and drama.
As an archaeologist, Tina had already travelled quite a bit before moving to Salisbury in 2016 to work in the travel industry. Besides going on adventures, Tina enjoys reading and spending time with her friends. No pets at the moment, but when the occasion arises, she's planning to have a small pack!
Linked to each route page you will find details of the local contacts living in the area and looking after our walkers on the routes. Often this includes the person who suggested the route and developed it with us. You can find out more about them on this page.
But no walk could ever reach our clients until it has been rigorously tested and graded by Simon or another experienced team member.
The final stage is undertaken by our doughty “pioneers”. Friends and early customers, these are people who set off to test the newly created walk using our directions, maps and the notes we have created. They pick up the final hitches so the route is ready for you! At regular intervals thereafter, we send out these Trusties to check the inevitable changes, and to suggest ways the routes can be improved.
New Route Advisors Needed
The critical attributes of a potential Route Adviser are that he or she must live in the area, have a strong interest in its landscape and culture, be able to think flexibly, have the inclination to put in the hard work that is needed to plan the route, and time to look after our clients should anything go amiss during their holiday.
If you know someone who lives somewhere lovely in Europe, as a native or an ex-pat, and who might be interested in becoming a Route Adviser, ask him or her to contact Simon, at On Foot, by email or telephone.
New Pioneers Needed
New Pioneers are also needed. If you have been on one of our walks and would like to test new (or re-test existing) walks, and have an enjoyable time in the process, contact Simon using the contact form.
Bohemia: Countryside of the northern borderlands
Born in the region, Lubomir has his own travel agency and tour operator business and combines that with being a professional guide. Your local contact is Petr Hoska, who knows the area well.
England and Wales: Welsh Borders
Sarah is a qualified lowland walk leader, and leads walks as a profession with her own business, Walk Hay, specialising in working with those who may have difficulty walking by themselves, or be nervous of doing so for many reasons. She loves to share her passion with as many people as possible and introduce them to the stunning countryside in her part of the world on the Welsh/English border.
England: Coastal Exmoor
Louise has lived in North Devon since 2000, enjoying the area around this rugged coastline and her passion for gardening. A beach baby at heart, Louise travelled the world in her youth and still enjoys trips to Europe and walking the different coastlines and beaches especially in the Greek islands. She loves the varied North Devon landscape, from sandy beaches, spectacular cliffs, wild moorland and sheltered valleys.
Richard Tucker and his wife Laetitia are lifelong enthusiastic walkers, and in recent years they have enjoyed On Foot walks on the continent and in the UK. As importantly, though, they have explored the footpaths and trails, meadows, hills and moorland of the Peak District over many years, and have worked with our staff team to create a route comprising the best the region has to offer.
‘Simple, Honest, Wholesome’ is Viv’s mantra. A true believer in celebrating all things wonderfully Cornish, she has no doubt that Cornwall is the perfect place for her family to live and for you to visit. Having lived in Cornwall for over 40 years, she still loves the place as much as ever. Welcoming coastal path walkers through the door of The Field House in Pendeen, where you will be staying, is a great joy for Viv. Viv is a keen walker and looks forward to helping you whilst on the walk.
Shaun and his wife Lynda describe themselves as bilingual, speaking both broad Yorkshire and a Yorkshire version of English. They are obviously proud of their Yorkshire roots. A couple of years ago they took early retirement and moved to their favourite walking area of the Three Peaks of Yorkshire, living just a few hundred yards outside the National Park boundary and only four miles from the summit of Ingleborough.
On Foot Holidays team
This route has been designed by the staff team at On Foot Holidays in Salisbury.
Caroline has lived in rural South Devon for 25 years. Now that her children have all left home, she spends her time teaching and producing art, attempting to master Spanish, and helping tend the smallholding, whilst her husband also fills the sheds with plenty of logs for the winter
Rural France has been part of Emily’s life since she was a little girl holidaying here with her parents. After meeting Jeremy, and as keen outdoors enthusiasts, they spent many subsequent holidays exploring on foot and by bicycle. In 2005 they decided to move to France with their young family in order to build a house, and now run a small business managing holiday houses.
Chamonix and the French Alps
Tina grew to love Montblanc and the surrounding area so much that she made it her home. She regularly walks the paths and routes in the forests, mountains and meadows, with their abundant flora and other wildlife. Tina took up the mantle of Local Contact from Lizzy Ashley-Cooper in 2021.
This particular part of France has been part of Emily’s life since she was a little girl holidaying here with her parents. It was one of the first places she visited after meeting Jeremy and as keen outdoors enthusiasts, they spent many subsequent holidays discovering the area on foot and by bicycle. In 2005 they decided to move here with their young family in order to build a house, and now live in the hills above Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne where they run a small business managing holiday houses.
Richard came to the Côte d’Azur to study tourism and has lived here for 30 years working as a licensed Tour Guide. Since 60% of the French flora is represented in this area, Richard’s keen interest in botany is put to the best possible use.
Castles of the Rhine
Beatrix lives on the route and has a portfolio career encompassing jewellery making and being a PA. She is bilingual in German and French and fluent in English.
The Vikos Gorge
Elli was born and raised in Epirus in northwestern Greece. Her family split their time between the city of Ioannina and the traditional village of Kapesovo located in the pristine mountainous area of Zagori. It was here where Elli's appreciation and knowledge of nature and hiking were cultivated.
Naxos and Amorgos
Christina left behind her life as a graphic designer and events organiser to start a new life in Naxos closer to nature. She spends her free time hiking, paddling or snowboarding, and also works for Sea Kayak Naxos, handling their logistics and communications. She speaks Greek and English.
Ioannis Lagos – Menalon Social Enterprise
Ioannis Lagos has deep family roots in Stemnitsa, and a passion for hiking. He founded Menalon Social Enterprise along with other enthusiastic volunteers from the Arcadia region, and together they have created the Menalon Trail. They maintain the paths and signposts, and encourage visiting walkers to explore the cultural and natural heritage of the area. This route was introduced to On Foot Holidays by Ariana Masselou.
After many years as a marketing executive in the cinema industry, Ariana's love of nature made her move to a small village in Andros. In 2011, with some friends with the same approach to life, she decided to form a team that would introduce "alternative" Andros to travelers.
Daniele Cavazzoni (Umbria)
Daniele's early passion for nature led him to explore all the Italian regions on foot. He started working as a nature guide for an international tour operator, working around the Indian Ocean and in the African savannah.
Beatrice Bariletta lives in the Ossola Valley, close to Lakes Mergozzo, Maggiore and Orta at the foot of the Pennine and Lepontine Alps, with her husband and two cats. She loves walking, hiking, climbing, discovering and living with nature, and she feels very lucky to live in a wonderful place and to be able to share it with many different people she walks with as she works as a hiking and tour guide in this region.
Elisabeth de Coster & Stefano Fassone
Elisabeth and her partner Stefano (and their children Marit and Theo) live and work on an organic agriturismo close to the Gorge of Farfa, for which they have recently obtained national protection.
Paul Lizioli / Greta Coperchini
Paul is a seasoned voyager and has travelled extensively for both business and pleasure (bleasure!?) to over 50 countries and over 500 places on all continents. Paul created our route through the Ligurian Hills to the sea. Greta now looks after our walkers on this route from her home in Varzi, where she also operates a restaurant and B&B.
Isabelle has lived and walked in the Cortina area for more than ten years. She works as a walking guide and translator and has a special interest in the First World War Austrian/Italian Dolomite front.
Daniele Cavazzoni (Southern Tuscany)
Daniele's early passion for nature led him to explore all the Italian regions on foot. He started working as a nature guide for an international tour operator, working around the Indian Ocean and in the African savannah.
Julian first stumbled on the medieval footpaths of the costiera on holiday in 1991. Since then, many visits and much exploration have let him 'get under the skin' of the peninsula.
The Burtons have lived in Northern Portugal for more than 30 years and have been keen walkers ever since arriving in the area. They are the authors of Sunflower’s "Landscapes of Northern Portugal".
Miha is a native of Ljubljana, and is happy to have found his "dream job" in tourism. He is proud that he gets to share the beautiful countryside of Slovenia with visitors, and is an enthusiastic traveller himself, as well as a keen sportsman.
Sue Eatock (originally from Worcestershire, England) first visited the Sierra de Grazalema while traveling through Spain in the spring of 1999. "I was immediately captivated by the natural beauty of the landscape, and in 2005 took the opportunity to make it my home. I now live in the village of Grazalema with my teenage son".
Basque Pyrenees, Camino de Santiago, La Gomera, Lighthouse Way, Ribeira Sacra
Aznar Fernandez de Pinedo
Aznar was born and grew up in Bilbao, where he soon developed his love for nature (he is a keen naturalist), hiking and the rural environment in general. He studied Business and has worked for many years in multinational corporations in the IT sector, living in both Barcelona and Madrid. But in 2014 he decided to change his career to work on what he loves most.
Catalonia - El Priorat
Joanna Thomas has lived and worked in Catalonia for many years, as architect, guide, multilinguist and mother of two. A keen walker, she now lives in Falset, the end point of the full route.
Jesca has lived in the foothills of Mallorca's beautiful Tramuntana mountains for 14 years with her husband and young family. She has been a keen hiker all her life, combined with a background in the preservation of historic buildings.
Lycia (as local contact)
"My name is Berry and I am your contact in Lycia. The Lycian Way is a coastal, cultural route in an ever-changing landscape which was designed by Kate Clow and Terry Richardson in 1999. My children and Terry’s children were at the same school and as he was very enthusiastic about the project, we were one of the first to explore this beautiful new route and its fabulous archaeological sites."
Lycia (as route advisor)
Kate Clow is the author of "The Lycian Way", the definitive guide to the long distance walk she created herself, with the help of the people of the region of Antalya, which she has made her home for more than 20 years. She is a keen botanist and student of the history of the Middle East.
Some may say that the hosts are the most important element in the enjoyment of any holiday, and we would be hard pressed to deny this. You can walk hard all day in rain or in shine, the landscape can sing with blossom and the hills can rear with melodramatic force, but if the welcome at the end is not the best you will be disappointed, feel let down, unfulfilled.
A good host will see you coming in from the rainstorm breathless and wet, take your clothes to the boiler room, insist on a hot cup of tea and install you in front of the fire, moan with you about the weather and make you feel thoroughly at home. Later he or she will produce a bottle of local wine and the evening will start, with the world thoroughly put to rights, the children arrive back from school, the dogs make themselves a comfortable nest against your legs, and the cooking part of the team set to work. A little home made pasta to start, perhaps some fish from the lake or what their neighbour produced the other day after a successful hunt (or maybe vegetables from the garden if you prefer!). The evening will end inevitably with grappa, orujo, slivovitz or whatever, maybe flavoured with fruits from the plum tree. Bed is a perfectly natural and comfortable end, sleep comes quickly in the quiet stillness of the countryside and you realise why you came on an On Foot Holiday.
Askas Pension is the fulfillment of a dream of three brothers.
Il Fienile di Orazio
You'll find a warm welcome from Mauro and Ornella at their agriturismo Il Fienile di Orazio in Misciani. The farm has organic certification and stands 600m up on a hilltop surrounded by woods, an orchard, a vegetable garden, a pigsty, a goat stable, a hen house, a vineyard and an olive grove, all of which you can visit. Mauro and Ornella left the corporate life in Rome to become farmers, and have never looked back. They work the land, look after their animals, and welcome visitors from all over the world to share their rural paradise. Here you can take part in activities such as foraging, helping to milk the goats and make cheese, or learning to make pasta. Their homegrown organic produce finds its way into the meals you'll enjoy, featuring local and Roman recipes.
Expat-Italian South Londoner Ivan met Sabina in London while learning his trade, but it would not be long before they came back to Italy and took over a decaying ruin on the top of the mountain, to transform it into one of the best known restaurants in Piedmont.
Le Mole sul Farfa
Stefano and Elisabeth live and work on an organic olive farm and eco-agriturismo close to the Gorge of Farfa. They have two small children - Marit and Theo. Stefano, originally from Rome, started the farm with some friends in the summer of 1999.
"My name is Michele Machetti, I’m the director at Il Giglio since 1995. I actually grew up into this place as I was just 19 years old when I decided to take over this adventure together with my parents. I’m also a professional sommelier and take care of the restaurant’s cellar - that in Montalcino is something very relevant."
"Fifty years in Italy surely proves that there is nowhere else where I would prefer to live! I moved from Wales to Rome in the 1960s and met my architect husband Roberto. When our children were small, we decided to leave the city and live in Casperia, a medieval village, where they would be more in contact with nature."
Colle Caprile, named for its historic inhabitants, is an ancient settlement on the Salt Road, just before the last path descends towards the sea. In this strategic point of panoramic beauty the Caprile family has for generations welcomed pilgrims, traders, soldiers and partisans, and now walkers and people from all over the world.
Meuble il Riccio
The Caroti family has a long and enduring connection with Montepulciano, and has lived for many generations among the city's Renaissance palazzos, in the fresh clean air of the Tuscan countryside. A simple and friendly family, the Caroti enjoy welcoming guests to the city, and relish introducing new visitors to its delights, as well as offering warm and sincere hospitality to returning guests.
I’m Roberta De Palma and I’m the director of B&B all’orologio in the centre of Rome.