No Yakking. Just Gorgeous, Immersive Videos.
Updated: Nov 20
David Shaw is not your typical videographer. He does not use fancy editing, or distracting music or narration when he records his videos. Instead, he lets the natural beauty of the English countryside speak for itself. His YouTube channel Dave’s Walks features over 250 videos of him walking in various locations around England, Scotland, and Wales, from villages and forests to canals and coastlines.
Shaw’s POV-style videos are simple and relaxing -- almost dreamlike -- giving viewers a chance to escape the stress of everyday life and enjoy the bucolic scenery as though they were actually walking through it themselves.
In only three years’ time, Shaw has attracted 38,000+ subscribers to his channel. The enchanting videos of his rambles along twisting village lanes and down verdant woodland paths have been viewed nearly 6 million times to date.
Each of Shaw’s weekly video posts elicit a stream of appreciative comments from his subscribers. “I love all your walks. Please never stop!! They’ve got me through some dark times,” remarked one viewer about an early spring walk through the historic Lincolnshire village of Helpringham. “What a beautiful morning I have spent with you!!! It is a magic way to travel!” and “In all honesty it's the most worthwhile video I've ever watched on YouTube,” are typical responses.
For each of his video walks, Shaw also includes notes about the locale, a link to a map of the walk, his personal 1 to 5 ratings on the difficulty of the walk and beauty of the scenery, along with details about the equipment used to record each video.
Enjoy this autumnal selection from Dave Shaw's Walk collection: a ramble along the Hermitage River in Scotland.
Q&A with Dave Shaw
Where did the idea come from to start recording videos of your walks?
In 2018, I was just browsing around on YouTube aimlessly when I stumbled across Rambalac. A YouTuber that was recording walks in the back streets of Japan, and straight away it fascinated me. There was no talking, no cuts, minimal editing. Just an insight into the life of Japan. From there I started to see many other places using the same format. I wondered if anyone was doing England and there were a few, but they were mostly focused on the cities and tourist areas. I wondered if there were any in the countryside and at the time there weren’t.
Almost immediately I saw an opportunity and wanted to buy a camera. I spent a year doing research before getting my first camera. The rest is history!
Where did you grow up?
New Mills, High Peak, Derbyshire. So, all my life I have been surrounded by rolling green hills and countryside.
Where do you live now?
I got a job with PGL which organises outdoor adventures for children. They have multiple Centres all around the UK. They hire on seasonal contracts, and you live on the site. It ties in perfectly with filming YouTube because it means every year, I live in a different part of the country giving me accesses to places to film. When not at PGL, I stay with family that are based in Staffordshire.
How far have you walked to date?
I have filmed 384 Miles/618 KM -- 898,602 steps. I have 288 hours of content. For some reason, I keep an accurate track of all sorts of statistics. As for how far I’ve walked, as each place I film gets scouted out beforehand, I would say I am not too far off from reaching 1,000 miles, not only scouting places but simply getting to and from the car as well.
How do you decide where to walk each week?
As there are many times that I have to visit different activity centres, usually for a couple of weeks, I will start looking at what walks I can do in the vicinity, but also on the travel day itself I can stop of between centres to film walks that would otherwise be a pain to get to.
Do you have a master route plan?
Whilst it is not necessarily a route plan, I do have a Google map where I mark out potential places to film all around the UK, and then if there is a chance, I get to film I’ll do some further planning looking at potential routes to film.
Have you considered recording walks elsewhere in the world – Europe, Asia, U.S.?
I do like the idea of going filming in Europe, in places that no one else has filmed, sticking to my theme of countryside and old villages. I would love to film in Switzerland even though the vast majority of places have been filmed 100s of times. I want to visit the Faroe Islands, Denmark and Norway. Closer to home, I am currently planning trips to the Outer Hebrides, the Shetland Islands, and the isles of Scilly. I also like the idea of filming in the Mediterranean and also Madeira.
What’s your favourite walk so far?
Hmmm, that is not easy to answer as I have such a wide variety of walks and there is no single favourite. I have favourites in categories. For villages, walking around Castleton at night with all the Christmas trees. Durdle Door in Dorset is my favourite Coastal walk. Dalguise in Scotland is my favourite Forest walk with all the mist. The Dovedale to Milldale walk that goes upstream of a river and walking around the Staffordshire moorlands in the snow and pine trees. Climbing up Cat Bells Mountain in the lake district was also a memorable walk!
What do you do when you’re not making walk videos?
As well as leading activities for children at PGL, I also teach English in classrooms to PGL’s International guests who come for activities and to learn English. Currently this is a full-time job. But next year, I will be going full time with my YouTube videos and part time PGL, teaching only.
Are you a videographer by trade?
Nope. An absolute novice, prior to buying my first camera, I had absolutely no experience at all. I just figured it out as I went along.
Ever consider operating a walking tour company?
No, it just doesn’t appeal to me at all really. Couldn’t tell you why. Although I do like the idea of joining an already established walking group and maybe filming a walk whilst among others, whilst still keeping to the theme of walking and not talking. I will likely experiment with it next year. Going full time YouTube will free up lots of time for me to explore new ideas and try them out.
Header photo: from Dave’s Hermitage River Walk video; Dunkeld, Scottish countryside; October 28, 2019.
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