7 of the Best British Walks

all
7 of the Best British Walks

We asked seven bloggers, journalists and walking enthusiasts to tell us about their favourite UK walks and trails. 

1.) The Exmoor stretch of the South West Coast Path - Jo Keeling, editor and founder, 
Ernest Journal

Cliff Path at Heddon's Mouth, South West Coast Path. Photo credit: Tom Bradnock.


 In three days, you can walk from Lynton to Croyde, dipping into buzzing seaside hubs such as Ilfracombe before climbing to wildflower strewn cliffs and undulating moorlands that drop steeply to the sea. Along the way, you'll pass The Valley of the Rocks (scattered with wild goats) Woody Bay (a failed Victorian resort doomed by its misplaced pier) and Heddon's Mouth (detour inland for fresh crab claws at the Hunters Inn), before reaching Croyde three days later.

I love the diversity of scenery, the chance to quietly explore a coastline peppered with wild flowers and, of course, tucking in to a portion of well-deserved fish and chips at the end of the day.

2.) Lochinver to Suilven, Sutherland - Simon Ingram, editor, Trail Magazine 

The eastern peak of Suilven. Photo credit: GariochT.


The place that draws me back time and time again is the far north of Scotland, the area north of Ullapool. It's so difficult to reach it remains very empty, and the mountains there are extraordinary, free-standing geological masterpieces. Not so high, but totally unique. Any would do as a favourite but of these Suilven is justly the most striking; so I guess my answer would be an evening walk from Lochinver spending the night on the summit of Suilven, in autumn or early spring.

3.) Grasmere to Rydal, Lake District - Zoë Dawes, editor, The Quirky Traveller

Bust of William Wordsworth in window at Rydal Mount, his home in the Lake District. Photo credit: Neil Roger.


My favourite is a walk from Grasmere in the Lake District to Rydal and combines four passions: literature, history, food and nature. Grasmere is a very pretty Lakeland village in the heart of the fells and is where one of England's greatest poets, William Wordsworth lived and is buried. There are lots of great pubs, cafes and restaurants here too.

The walk goes past Dove Cottage and the Wordsworth Trust museum along an old Roman route, called the Coffin Trail as it was where people brought their dead to the ancient church in Grasmere. The route passes above both Grasmere Lake and Rydal Water along the side of White Moss fell.

It eventually winds down to Rydal Mount, where Wordsworth lived for over 30 years. It's got a beautiful garden and little teashop. Opposite is Rydal Hall, now a retreat centre with pleasant walks and a good cafe. It's an easy walk suitable for virtually anyone from five to 90 years old, as long as they can walk for about two miles.

4.) Cape Wrath Trail, north west Scotland and Caingorms Munros, Scottish Highlands - Chris Townsend, writer, photographer and hill walking ambassador for the British Mountaineering Council  

Wild swimming on the Cape Wrath Trail, Scotland. Photo credit: Paul Miller

My favourite UK walk is any over Munros in the Scottish Highlands. To be more specific, I'd choose a walk over the five 4,000 foot high summits in the Cairngorms. For trails I'd go for the Cape Wrath Trail in north west Scotland. In both cases, these are favourites because the places are wild, remote and beautiful with a great sense of space and freedom.

5.) Hill Bridge to White Tor, Dartmoor - Kate Ashbrook, General Secretary,
The Open Spaces Society

Leat Path, River Tavy, Dartmoor. Photo credit: Kate Ashbrook.

My favourite walk starts at Hill Bridge (GR SX 532 804), on the River Tavy in Dartmoor. I love the variety of the small fields, the woodland and the open moor. The views are spectacular. I often do this walk early in the morning. It's about five miles and takes three hours.

Take the footpath from the southern end of the bridge which runs east uphill across fields. When you reach the lane, turn right towards Wapsworthy.  Take the bridleway south east through Wapsworthy and follow track to the gate leading to open moor.  Ahead of you, slightly to the right, is the summit of White Tor.  Take whatever route you wish to the top, this is all open-access land (common land with rights to walk and ride under the Dartmoor Commons Act 1985).  It can be quite wet in places on the way up.  From the top you have a commanding view west into Cornwall, north to Tavy Cleave, and round to central and southern Dartmoor.

Leave the tor in a roughly southerly direction and join the track which runs in an east-west direction, follow it westwards and it will go through a gap between two walls.  Where the land opens out again there is a bridleway off to the right.  Follow this through fields until it meets a lane at Cudlipptown.  Turn right for about 400 metres, then take the footpath left down a steep slope and into a wood.  This brings you back to the River Tavy at a bridge known as Horndon Clam.  Stand on this bridge and look upstream to the Tavy rushing down through woodland (I happen to own the land on the left, which is common land and very beautiful). Cross the bridge and go up the stony track until you come to a footpath leading off to the right through fields.

Follow this down to the leat (a small canal-like watercourse serving Mary Tavy powerstation) and then follow the leat, through woodland (my bit!) and on through Woodland Trust land (all beautiful ancient woodland), and keep going until you come back to Hill Bridge.

6.) Wasdale to summit of Yewbarrow, Lake District - Tanya Oliver, blogger, Heelwalker1 

Yewbarrow, Great Gable and Scafell Pike reflected in Wastwater. Photo Credit: The Monkey.

The walk heads up from Overbeck starting on a grassy slope and then turning into a rocky scramble in places. The first view from the ridge down to the lake (Wastwater - England's deepest lake) is stunning and the ridge itself is a glorious walk to the summit with England's highest peak (Scafell Pike) looking majestic as it watches over you.

The descent is via another rocky scramble called Stirrup Crag and then down a scree slope to the valley. Spectacular. I love it for the contrast in terrain, the beautiful views and because I had an epiphany on the summit back in January 2011 - it was where I decided to leave my full time job in local government and start a career in writing about the Lake District.

I now have a book published, write for outdoor magazines and manage a conservation programme, "Fix the Fells", that repairs and maintains the upland paths of the very mountains I fell in love with as a child.

7.) London Viewpoints - Alex Mannings, chair, Inner London Ramblers

View from Parliament Hill, Hampstead Heath, London. Photo credit: Joe Dunckley.

Start by walking up to Alexandra Palace (the first viewpoint) from Wood Green, then along the Parkland Walk and through Highgate Woods to Highgate. Then through Hampstead Heath to Parliament Hill (second viewpoint), then down to Primrose Hill (third viewpoint). Then on through Regents Park to Baker Street. The whole route takes about three hours.