A SERIES of bracing walks to burn off festive over-indulgence has been lined up for Christmas and the New Year.

More than 60 guided walks have been planned by Durham County Council to provide walkers with exercise and an insight into the county's landscape.

The programme runs from next month to March and begins on New Year's Day with a ten-mile walk near Durham, led by voluntary countryside ranger Steve Shippen.

It starts at 10am at the Broompark picnic area on the B6302 to Ushaw Moor, half a mile from Stonebridge.

Local historian David Butler will lead his popular Christmas walks in the city.

On Christmas Day starting at 2pm in the Market Place, he will follow the route of Durham's Disasters.

On Boxing Day he will answer the question Where Was Newton Hall? in a four-mile walk starting at 1.30pm from the DLI - formerly the DLI Museum and Durham Art Gallery -car park.

The programme continues until the Easter weekend. It also includes a ten-mile walk along the Teesdale Way with countryside officer David Ranner on January 6, and an eight-mile Spennymoor and Ferryhill circular walk with voluntary countryside ranger Michael Ord on January 13. There is also a series of photographic walks available, led by photographer Philip Nixon, including a Seaham saunter in March.

All the walks are graded for ease and on longer walks refreshments boots and waterproofs are essential.

Tickets, unless specified, are available on the day at a cost of £2, or £1 for concessions.

Copies of the full walks programme can be obtained from all libraries, tourist information centres and County Hall, Durham City.

For more information call 0191-383 4144.