Tor y Foel or Lord's Seat ... where should John Major go to get right away from it all?

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The Independent Travel
As john major contemplates the prospect of spending more time with his family, some places the Majors could escape to:

Thatcher Rock, Devon, facing balmy Torbay; the nearest point on the mainland is called Hope's Nose. Distance from Downing Street: 200 miles. Supersaver to Torquay: pounds 36.

Loch Poll, Highlands, the ultimate get-away-from-it-all destination, five miles north of Lochinver on the B969. Note proximity of Clashmore and Badcall. Distance from Downing Street: 550 miles. Sleeper to Inverness (if it hasn't been closed): pounds 83.

Blair Atholl, Tayside, teetering on the side of the A9 just north of Pitlochry. Excellent angling. Distance from Downing Street: 470 miles. First class return to Blair Atholl: pounds 200.

Tor y Foel, Powys, a peak of 1,806 feet among the stout Brecon Beacons, with a fine view over the valleys. Distance from Downing Street: 145 miles. Apex return to Abergavenny: pounds 24.

Ashdown Forest, East Sussex, nestling between the Weald and the South Downs - the home of Pooh Bear. Distance from Downing Street: 40 miles. Awayday to Ashurst: pounds 7.

Lord's Seat, North Yorkshire, 1,544 feet up on the edge of the Dales' National Park, close to The Whams and Blubberhouses Moor. Distance from Downing Street: 210 miles. One-way first class ticket to Skipton: pounds 76, then a very long uphill walk.

Only another month before bus H4 runs again, plying every four or five weeks through the Cotswolds between Mickleton and Oxford. My assertion a fortnight ago that this is the rarest bus in Britain brought a swift response from the public transport-using fraternity - and from John Isom of the North Cotswold Community Bus Association, which operates the "Hedgehog" H4 bus service.

"The bus in question is run by volunteers from the villages around Mickleton. It visits Oxford only once a month because, for five days a week, it enables the villagers to do their shopping in Stratford; but even Cotswold villagers need a change of scenery.

"Booking is necessary because community buses are allowed to carry no more than 16 people, and Oxford is a popular run." Mr Isom invites me to wait at any of the scheduled stops. If there is a vacant seat, he writes, "the Hedgehog will gladly run you over". Mr Isom also sends the full timetable for the Hedgehog. "We think it's not bad for a bunch of retired volunteers." I agree.

The story prompted community groups from all over the country to show what they are doing to improve public transport. The Friends of the Lake District sent a highly user-friendly Green Travel Guide, covering trains, boats and buses throughout the region. You can sail Coniston Water aboard the Ruskin or Ransome, and find out about the Kirkstone Rambler from Glenridding to Bowness Pier on Windermere. The timetable is free if you send a large sae to: 3 Yard 77, Highgate, Kendal LA9 4ED.

The National Trust weighs in with benefits for people who manage to reach historic properties without the aid of a Volvo estate. If you travel to Ham House in London by bus, for example, you get pounds 1 off admission.

Guy Hardy of the Pembrokeshire Rail Travellers' Association wrote in with news of the Real Ale Rail Trail, a bid to refresh parts of the Whitland to Pembroke Dock branch line that few travellers reach. Each of the 10 stations has a pub selected by local members of the Campaign for Real Ale. Participants have a drink in each pub; when you have a complete set, your name is entered in a competition to win a trip to the Great British Beer Festival in London in August. Perhaps it explains how Thomas the Tank Engine's Fat Controller put on all that weight.

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