Top 10 UK Walking Trails
With acres upon acres of beautiful countryside, the UK has plenty of great walking routes. Whether you are a beginner or an expert rambler or perhaps you are looking for family walks, there is something for everybody. Here is a rundown of our top 10 UK Walking Trails.
1. Pembrokeshire Coast Path
Remote and romantic, the Pembrokeshire coast is a rambler’s delight. The rugged and windswept coasts juts out from the Irish sea and stuns you with images of jagged cliffs and pretty villages. Add to that lots of golden beaches and strong surf, heading to Wales is a certain if you are looking for an enjoyable walking break. The best way to see it is by trekking the 299km Coast Path from Amroth to St Dogmaels. If you are only planning on a short stay, base yourself at St David’s, Britain’s smallest city, and strike out for the sands of St Brides Bay, where swimmers, beachcombers and surfers make the most of the unspoilt sands.
2. Three Peaks Challenge
If you feel like accepting a challenge rather than a relaxing break, then why not try the UK’s ‘Three Peaks’ challenge. It incorporates the highest mountains in Scotland, Wales and England– Ben Nevis (1334 m), Mt Snowdon (1085m) and Scafell Pike (978m) – but you’ll need a car to get between them. Yorkshire’s own three peaks, though smaller, are far from easy. The circular route linking Whernside (736m), Ingleborough (723m) and Pen-y-Ghent (694m) is a gruelling 42km struggle with 1600m of vertical ascent. The objective is to complete it in 12 hours, after which you can retire to the pub and celebrate the fact that nobody had to drive anywhere at all.
3. Wainwright Fells
Alfred Wainwright – author and illustrator of seven indispensable fell-walking guides to the Lake District in the 1950s – is famous to fans of the countryside, writing and walking. For those wanting to retrace his footsteps, there are lots of routes across the fells of the Lake District to choose from, including Newton Fell and Gummers How. One of the best routes to take is Stickle Pike, a 2.6 mile hike with a 1,4640 feet climb. Starting at Duddon Bridge and heading over the Broughton Hills and into Lickle Valley, this walk offers fantastic views over the fells. Perhaps you may be inspired to write a poem or two, so make sure to pack a pen and paper!
4. Thames Path
Walks don’t have to be confined to the countryside as there are so many delights to see in and around the cities of the UK. No more so than London, where you can take a walk along the Thames path. The London section covers a magical 40 miles of easy, level walking on both sides of the river from Hampton Court Palace, through the heart of London to the East India Dock on the north bank and the River Darent on the south bank. Although the terrain can be very marshy in places, it is very flat and so ideal for beginners. For those feeling very adventurous the actual Thames National Trail runs for 180 miles, over to The Cotswolds, so you can pack a backpack and make a trip out of it.
5. Chillerton Down, Isle of Wight
This moderate 4 hour walks offers all the delights the Isle of Wight has to offer, as well as some undiscovered territory. The route sends walkers uphill and down dale, through woods and across fields, via the tiny communities of Gatcombe and Chillerton. If the full walk is too much, there are a few short cuts to take, which you can find on any walking map of the area. If you stand next to the transmitter mast on top of Chillerton Down, on your south you’ll see Chale Bay while on the north sits Cowes at the mouth of the river Medina. Sandy beaches of Sandown lay to your east, inviting to take a rest on when you are finished walking.
6. Divis Heath Trail, Belfast
This 4 mile walk in county Antrim takes in the northern end of the Divis and Black Mountain site. The walk is mountainous, with some boggy terrain that can become quite wet underneath. Turf was once extracted on Divis Mountain and today remains to a depth of 4 metres in places. The views of the mosaic grassland, marsh land and bog are beautiful and there are lots of great viewpoints over the mountains. With lots of local wildlife to admire too, this walk is a great choice for nature lovers.
7. Walk in Roma Footsteps; Northumberland
Hadrian’s Wall Path, is an unbroken 117 km route stretching from Newcastle to Carlisle, which takes in some of the most dramatic views in the UK. The National Trail website offers 15 suggested walks that take you across farmland and moorland, salt marshes and rolling pastures. History buffs will love the 12 km circular stretch that begins at Housesteads Roman Fort and takes you past the ancient settlement of Vindolanda, which generations of Romans and their families called home. This walk is ideal for families and will provide an educational and fun family day out.
8. Holyhead Mountain, Anglesey
Another great choice for children is Holyhead Mountain. At just 220 metres above sea level, it is not quite a ‘mountain’, but it will probably feel like that to little ones. The summit is still a grand spot on which to enjoy stunning views of South Stack lighthouse and towering sea cliffs that are alive with seabirds. The area has lots of activities for children, so it will make a great long weekend or even a full week holiday in summertime.
9. Dunnottar Castle, Aberdeenshire
Dunnottar Castle is the most spectacular of all ruined coastal fortresses, perched on a gigantic rocky outcrop almost detached from the mainland. It is the highlight of this coastal circuit which extends southwards from the harbour at Stonehaven. The walk is part of a well-marked coastal path and runs for 5km. There is a steep ascent and there are some dangerous cliff edges, so experience is required or full guidance for beginners. The route on the way back is mainly road, so will be a lot easier to get back to your ‘ wee dram ‘ as a reward for your walk. When in Scotland…..
10. The Lizard Coastal Walk
An easy 7 mile walk along the Lizard Peninsula offers stunning scenes of this area of Cornwall. This area is famous for its wildlife, and seals and basking sharks can often be seen. With hidden gems such as Kynance Cove, you are sure to get some great shots to commemorate your walk. This truly is a beautiful part of the UK and one walk not to be missed.