Julia Bradbury - The outdoor type

The BBC's Julia Bradbury talks walks and why she's so lucky to be expecting her first child

Julia Bradbury has no need to join a gym. She’s done 50 TV walks for the BBC and has little intention of hanging up her hiking boots when she becomes a mum for the first time in her 40s.

 ‘I’ll be slinging on my papoose,’ says the woman who has become something of a sex symbol for the outdoors gentleman type and now fronts the Rambler’s Association.

‘But maybe I’ll be choosing my jobs a little more carefully...

Julia was out and about prior to the birth of her first child this summer, to promote – what else? – walking but although she’s made a niche for herself as the BBC’s outdoor woman she comes across as pretty driven. She reels off all the programmes she’s made in her 15 years in broadcasting.  The Rough Guide, Watchdog, Countryfile, Wainright Walks, Kill it, Cut It Use it, which is back on our screens at the end of this month, Railway Walks and the soon to make an appearance on our screens, Canal Walks.

‘I’m the only presenter to be on all four BBC channels,’ she says proudly.‘Each programme appeals to a different kind of audience, so I am very lucky to be able to do what I do.’

She agrees she must have covered most of Britain by now – including the green plains of Cheshire where she found herself hen filming Countryfile.‘It’s such a lovely part of the country and so close to Derbyshire where my father is from,’ she says, before launching Visit Peak District and Derbyshire’s Walking and Outdoors Festivals in Buxton.

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‘It’s the perfect place for a leisurely stroll and finding a good pub to wind up in at the end.’

For the new Canal Walks programme, which is screened this month on the BBC, the nearest she’ll get to the North West is North Wales when she tackles the Llangollen Canal but there are hopes that Manchester will feature in a further series. She’ll also be seen in a one-off show she made last year, tackling the gruelling terrain of Iceland, culminating in a visit to THAT volcano, the one that stopped everyone jetting off last year.

Facing daunting mountain climbs, red hot lava fields, freezing river crossings, deadly clouds of sulphuric gas, swirling ash deserts and sinister Nordic ghost stories as she attempts to reach the huge volcanic crater at the centre of the Eyjafjallojokull glacier.

And as if her life couldn’t get any better she now finds herself in her 40s and expecting her first child with property developer Gerard Cunningham.

This is all the more miraculous, since Julia has been extremely honest about suffering from the condition, endometriosis. She is one of the five- 10% of women over the age of 25 who find themselves in the grip of this often painful affliction, which can affect their ability to have children.

‘I was having a routine check-up in my 30s and they said’ you’ve got endometriosis and I said “what’s that? It has been referred to as the career woman’s disease because it can affect women who have left having children until later in their lives but there are lots of theories as to why we get it. It can happen to any women from age 25 upwards and while getting pregnant can help with the condition some women find that then end up having a hysterectomy.

‘So, the prognosis for me was not good. When I said I was looking into having a child the doctors said they were not optimistic, not only was my age against me but I had endometriosis, therefore getting pregnant is something of a miracle. I’m absolutely thrilled, though very cautious and very careful.

‘For the future. The first thing for me will be having a baby and I shall have to get my home and work life balance sorted out. I have absolutely concentrated on my career and that will have to change. I think I will have to edit down what I do and pick my projects more carefully in the future but that won’t be a bad thing.’

And while she may think of diversifying, there’s one thing she can’t see herself doing and that’s reality TV, especially after her appearance on celebrity Come Dine With Me, which in spite of her reaction she actually came across as a true star.

‘That wasn’t a career move,’ she says with a laugh.

‘It was certainly good fun but I’m not going to become a reality TV guru or anything like that!’

*For those who want to get into their stride like Julia there are a number of walking and outdoors festivals this May and June including The Peak District’s Historic Border Country Walking Festival from May 14 – 22 and The National Forest Walking Festival, Footsteps in the Forest, May 21 – June 1.

Julia’s Canal Walks broadcasts on BBC4 8.30pm.

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