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Case Study: Jon Monks

Jon Monks set up his own Internet company, Northumbrian Shepherds Walks, in February 2001 after the website he ran as a hobby attracted internal interest.

He now writes walks for around 150 clients, offering a shepherd’s insight into the Northumbrian landscape and giving information on the changing face of farming in the region.

He also published a special booklet during the foot-and-mouth epidemic, advising people of the limited areas they could visit, including tarmac walks in Kielder forest.

The success of his Internet venture has seen him short-listed for the North-East Travel and Leisure section in the E Commerce awards 2001.

His website now attracts clients from as far afield as New Zealand and the
United States.

“I write walks from a shepherd’s perspective rather than just giving directions and telling people which stile to cross. People who follow my walks get information on the history of the area and the farming methods past, present and future, which makes them much more interesting and I think that is why the business has been so successful.”

“People seem to trust what I say about the best places to walk because I see things from a rural perspective. I love Northumberland and I’m always keen to do what I can to promote walking in the county,” he said.

Since starting the business Northumbria tourist board have included Jon in the literature as a local character. The foot-and-mouth booklet is still selling copies although the footpaths are open again because many walkers still prefer not to upset farmers by traipsing across their fields. Furthermore, Jon has been chosen as one of the faces of a new £200,000 marketing campain designed to attract walkers back to the region’s footpaths.

Jon is to feature in the Country Walking Magazine, a favourite amongst ramblers to raise the profile of Northumberland.