Britain's best winter walksPosted on: 13 December 2011 by Gareth Hargreaves
Wrap up warm and stretch your legs with our pick of the UK's best walks across Britain's breathtaking scenery.
Pull on your boots and a snug scarf and experience Britain at its most wild and wintry. So banish the winter blues with these winter walks...
Hadrian's Wall, Northumberland-Cumbria
Put yourself in a Roman soldier’s sandals and follow this archaeological marvel across Northumberland and Cumbria. Hadrian’s Wall Path runs for 84 miles across this World Heritage Site and bisects weathered moorland and a patchwork of fields under vast skies. In bad weather you might want to follow a variety of shorter, circular routes detailed on the official website.
South West Coast Path
This 630-mile coastal path winds its way from Minehead on the edge of the Exmoor National Park to the shores of Poole Harbour in Dorset. Use the excellent South West Coast Path website to plan a route and take your pick from blustery cliff-top treks or seaside strolls through sheltered fishing villages. At this time of year, the well-marked walks are wonderfully quiet.
Richmond Park, London
The largest Royal Park in London is a true taste of the countryside. Walk under ancient trees stripped bare and spot red and fallow deer grazing beside the paths. Don’t miss the uninterrupted view of St Paul’s Cathedral from the top of King Henry’s Mound. The Richmond Park website has information on routes and guided walks.
Holyrood Park and Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh
Banish the last vestiges of your Hogmanay hangover with a blustery stroll up Arthur’s Seat or the Salisbury Crags in Holyrood Park. These remarkably wild volcanic outcrops are slap-bang in the centre of Edinburgh and the climb rewards with fabulous views over the city and beyond. In clear winter light or under a dusting of snow, Holyrood Park is magical.
There are 19,300 acres of New Forest with about 150 miles of car-free track for walking and cycling. The Forestry Commission has a variety of guided walks during the winter months throughout the New Forest National Park. Take the Tall Trees Trail to see majestic evergreen conifers or the Deer Watch Trail which ends at a viewing platform for spotting fallow deer.
Holkham Beach, Norfolk
Invigorate your senses on one of the biggest and most unspoilt beaches in the country. Holkham Beach is part of one of the biggest nature reserves in Britain and in winter it’s chock full of migrant birds. Soak up stormy seas and endless skies and share the beach with larks, finches and pink-footed geese. Get to the beach via Lady Anne's Drive on the A149 (opposite the Victoria Hotel).
Wastwater, Lake District
Wastwater is the most dramatic of the Lakes and is surrounded by peaks including Scafell Pike – England’s highest mountain. It’s a popular spot for walking but in winter the crowds stay at home, leaving you to absorb this most brooding and ruggedly beautiful of Lake District views. Start at the Scree Inn at Nether Wasdale.
Dartmoor feels like a proper wilderness, especially at this time of year. The Postbridge audio walk is a six-mile (10km) circular walk that includes far-reaching views from Hartland Tor, historical remains from Dartmoor’s industrial past and an impressive waterfall. Download the audio walk from the Dartmoor website.
Walking Tours, London
It’s the perfect time to join a walking tour of London’s shadier nooks and crannies. Stalk the cobbled streets of East London in search of Jack the Ripper or discover Charles Dickens’ London as winter mists unfurl around brooding buildings and pickpockets disappear into the night. Book a winter walking tour with London Walks.
Fforest Fawr, Wales
Within easy reach of Cardiff, this expanse of woodland, moorland and meadows in the Brecon Beacons National Park was once an ancient hunting ground. With pounding waterfalls and many walking routes, the area is an excellent and accessible destination for brisk winter walks. It’s an excellent alternative to wild Snowdonia, which can be dangerous at this time of year.
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