When he wasn't writing, William Shakespeare was walking. In particular, he was often found trekking from his home in Stratford-Upon-Avon to the theatres of London's South Bank, an epic 146 miles in total. Who knows which legendary characters, killer lines or key scenes the playwright might have dreamt up as he traversed the West Midlands countryside.
Now, on the 450th anniversary of the Bard's birthday (23 April, 2014), admirers – or those looking for their own inspiration – can follow in his footsteps. Literally.
In 2005, Stratford local and Shakespeare enthusiast Peter Titchmarsh finished piecing together what has become known as "Shakespeare's Way". By connecting existing footpaths, bridleways (paths formerly used by horses) and a few minor roads, Titchmarsh recreated the route the writer might have taken on his trips back and forth to London.
Scholars believe that Shakespeare first travelled to London between 1585 and 1588, when he was around 21 years old. At first, he likely travelled with other theatre performers – on foot. "It was a lot cheaper," said Jenny Davidson, Secretary of the Shakespeare's Way Association, which was set up to protect and promote the route. "The luxury of horseback probably came later, when he could afford to pay stabling costs.