Walking in the Cathar Region offers 22 walks based on the once strategically important castles that dominate the foothills of the Pyrenees. The collection of walks explore the castles and other locations which featured in Cathar history (mostly the 13th century) ensuring that this is an interesting and valuable guide to this area. The three long-distance walks, Le Sentier Cathare, Le Chemin des Bonshommes and the Grande Randonnees 7 & 71, are also included. Each walk has as its focal point a castle or other location associated with the Cathars. Summaries of the historical connections of each location with the Cathar period are given, and together these relate the story of the downfall of the Cathar Church, from the massacre in Beziers in 1209 to the siege at Montsegur in 1244, which ended with the burning alive of over 200 believers who refused to reunce their Cathar faith.
Alan Mattingly was Director of the Ramblers' Association from 1974 to 1998. At various times during that period he also held other posts in the outdoor and conservation movements in Britain, including that of Chairman of the Council for National Parks. A member of the Outdoor Writers' Guild, he received that organisation's Golden Eagle Award in 1998. He is also a recipient of the John Hunt Award (from the Countrywide Holidays Association) and the Wildlife and Countryside Link Award. His previous publications include Tackle Rambling (1981) and Walking in the National Parks (1982). He is now based in a small town in the eastern Pyrenees that lies just below the 2800m Pic du Canigou. When not exploring that most impressive and captivating of mountains on foot, he writes and teaches English.