Fans of Spielberg's Academy Award-nominated film War Horse , based on much-loved British children's book author Michael Morpurgo's original story, (adapted to stage, prior to the movie, to much critical acclaim) have a chance to win a weeklong walking tour experiencing the glorious English countryside where the movie was filmed. If a Southern Sonoma Country Life reader is lucky enough to scoop this fantastic trip, I'm going to talk you into wearing a gopro camera so that we can all share in the lush sights and scenery!
The six-night Pentillie Castle Walk in Devon and Cornwall has been organized and is led by The Wayfarers, the quintessential English walking company. The Wayfarers War Horse Giveaway is for two adults, based on double occupancy, and will be given away in conjunction with Everett Potter's Travel Report, cited by The Wall Street Journal as a travel website with "a terrific mix of profiles and interviews, all designed to make the best use of your travel budget." The giveaway runs through April 30, and readers are invited to enter daily.
Accommodations for the six-day walk are in the dramatic Pentillie Castle (built 1698), on the banks of the Tamar River, which forms the border between Devon and Cornwall. Participants will walk 3-9 miles per day over easy terrain.
Based on the novel, the film illustrates the true history of how horses were commandeered from the countryside across Britain and used in the World War I effort, focusing on the life on one particular war horse, Joey. The author lives in Devon, England, and his tale is grounded in the culture and countryside of the area.
It's that countryside that inspired Spielberg who said, "I have never before, in my long and eclectic career, been gifted with such an abundance of natural beauty as I experienced filming War Horse on Dartmoor ... And, with two-and-a-half weeks of extensive coverage of landscapes and skies, I hardly scratched the surface of the visual opportunities that were offered to me."
Led by Muff Dudgeon, walk leader, and Dr. Tom Greeves, Dartmoor cultural historian and environmentalist, the tour visits Ringmoor Down for beautiful views of the Burrator Reservoir and the hamlet of Sheepstor.
Other stops include Ditsworthy Warren House, which served Spielberg as the Narracott family home as well as the scene of Joey's formative years and triumphant homecoming. Contest winners may, if they choose, take a horseback ride on the Moor to continue in the hoof prints of War Horse (an optional extra for other participants).
Visiting "War Horse" film sites on Dartmoor is just one day of a week-long itinerary that encompasses a tour of historic Plymouth (Pilgrim Fathers, Spanish Armada), coastal walking in Cornwall, and a visit to a former home of Sir Francis Drake. Other coastal estates visited include Tudor Cotehele with its own quay and stew pond, and Mount Edgcumbe with its Grade I Cornish gardens. Pentillie Castle is home for the entire week and The Wayfarers have exclusive use of the property.
The giveaway, which is running now through April 30th, 2012, is for one Pentillie Castle Walk trip for two adults, sharing one room, scheduled on either September 23-29, 2012 or October 7-13, 2013.
Airfare is not included and alternate dates are not available. The prize is not transferable. Visit Everett Potter's Travel Report for full contest details . The prize, inclusive of the walking tour for two, travel planning services, and horseback riding, is valued at $8,500.
Everett Potter's Travel Report is a weekly, online website written by more than 30 seasoned contributors, aimed at smart travelers planning their next hotel stay, city visit or adventure vacation.
Named by National Geographic Traveler as a purveyor of one of the "50 Tours of a Lifetime," and by National Geographic Adventure as one of the "Best Hiking Companies," The Wayfarers offers an eco-sensitive "walking" holiday of both culture and fitness in 14 countries with 46 itineraries and 80 departure dates.
Now in its 29th year, The Wayfarers offers exclusive entries into homes and gardens otherwise closed to the public, graceful accommodations, outstanding cuisine, and meetings with local residents. Walks are from 6-13 days and are rated on a five-level challenge scale.
The Wayfarers is also a member of Trusted Adventures, www.trustedadventures.com dedicated to the highest standards of small-group travel and to giving back to the places visited. Call 800-249-4620 if you'd like more info.