Archive for June, 2009

College Lake

Sunday, June 21st, 2009

This morning I visited the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust’s College Lake nature reserve. I have written a report about my visit, with about 20 photos, here:

Big in the Czech Republic!

Saturday, June 20th, 2009

My web host, 1&1, provides a tool that gives me statistics about the visitors to my web site “Pete’s Walks”. Obviously it doesn’t give personal information, but it does give me details of visitor numbers, page hits, from which URLs visitors have come and which country visitors are from (based on their Top Level Domains). I thought I might share some of the statistics with you.

I’m pleased to say that the number of visitors and page hits have both been increasing steadily – in fact over the course of 2008 they went up fourfold! Currently “Pete’s Walks” is getting 450-500 visitors a day, with about 900 page hits. The average number of pages visited per visitor is less than two, but this is because a large number of visitors are ‘bots’, automatic programs used by search engines to scan for new pages.

Typically there are around 30 hits a day from Google, and maybe another 5 a day from other search engines (the stats program can only detect where a small percentage of hits come from, so these figures may be greater). I usually get 2-3 hits a day from sites where I have reciprocal links (such as ‘WildAboutBritain’ and ‘WalkingBritain’) and once or twice a week I get hits from a couple of links on Wikipedia (a couple of articles on long-distance paths refer to my site).

One of the fascinating things is looking to see where visitors come from – it is truly a world-wide web! Obviously, most visitors are from the UK. I can’t tell how many US visitors I get, as they come under ‘.com’ which covers a range of other groups as well.  But I assume US visitors come second (they may possibly even outnumber UK visitors, but I doubt it – I’ve had 2 or 3 contacts from people in the US, but far more from the UK).

What is intriguing is that the third highest number of visitors come from  …  the Czech Republic! Last year they were fourth, but during 2009 they have overtaken the Germans. I have no idea why I should get such a disproportionate number of visitors from a relatively small country. I’m quite pleased though – Prague is one of the most interesting places I’ve ever visited, and I was sorry I only had a day and a half to explore it (I was on a walking tour of the Tatra mountains that had a bit of sightseeing thrown in as well).

Canadian visitors come fifth, followed by another surprise, Poland (Krakow is another brilliant place, which I visited on the same holiday that I went to Prague). The Dutch come eighth  – but then they get everywhere, wherever I’ve been on holiday, no matter how remote, there’s always a couple of Dutch visitors! Just as well they’re such nice people – I’ve worked in the Netherlands three times and have always got on with the locals, their sense of humour is very similar to the British one (and they almost all speak better English than I do!).

The Australians are ninth (I hope we stuff them in The Ashes this summer!) with Thailand providing the tenth highest number of visitors to the site (presumably a number of ex-pats keeping in touch with home). Outside the top ten, more exotic visitors include people from Oman, Peru and Indonesia.

Despite the visitor numbers, I don’t get too much in the way of feedback – maybe an email once a fortnight, and an entry in the guestbook once in a blue moon. I think the fact that the guestbook (provided by 1&1) displays people’s email addresses is a problem that puts a lot of people off (quite understandably). I’m thinking of finding another one that doesn’t show the addresses, but this would probably involve using one with adverts (and, as a privacy isssue, I’m worried what the providers might do with addresses). People can always email me at anyway.

Another update

Friday, June 19th, 2009

“Pete’s Walks” has been updated again. There are several new photos, including a couple of shots of Roe Deer and about 10 new wildflowers. I have also created a separate section for deer photos. But the biggest addition is a journal for the Beeches Way, a 16-mile route in South Bucks which I did over two days.

Totternhoe nature walk

Sunday, June 14th, 2009

This morning I visited the nature reserves at Totternhoe. My main aim was to look for the Man Orchids and Bee Orchids that I saw there last year. I found a solitary Man Orchid (last year there had also been a group of four nearby) but no Bee Orchids. There were plenty of Common Spotted Orchids and Common Twayblades, plus a couple of Pyramidal Orchids. I also saw lots of Yellow Rattle, and my first Self-heal of the year.

I got a nice photo of a Speckled Wood, but that was the only species of butterfly I saw.  I did see a couple of moths though, Cinnabar and Straw Dot.

The Dales Way

Sunday, June 7th, 2009

I have just updated my web site, “Pete’s Walks”. There are a few more photographs, but the major addition is a journal for The Dales Way. It is not very detailed, as I did the walk five years ago and I was writing it from memory with very few photographs to help me.

The next long-distance path I shall probably do is The Beeches Way, a 16-mile route west of London. I shall probably split it into two 8-mile walks, doing them in both directions.