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The Best Walks in the UK

22nd January 2020


Here you will find our pick of the best walks in the UK as chosen by our team at the Harrison Spinks HQ!

Our difficulty key:

Easy: suits a variety of abilities and accessibility requirements.

Medium: walks with mixed terrain, potential accessibility issues and a varying degree of athleticism required to partake.

Difficult: walks that require planning, correct equipment, higher fitness levels and those suited to a multitude of terrains – only recommended for experienced walkers.

Mam Tor and the Great Ridge – Peak District

Difficulty: Medium Length: 6.69 miles Nearest Train Station: Edale

Mam Tor and the Great Ridge is a stunning walk set in the heart of the Peak district. Starting and finishing in Castleton there are plenty of lovely pubs and cafes if you fancy a bite to eat before or after your mini adventure.

This walk takes you to the dramatic summit of Mam Tor, which translates to ‘Mother Hill’ where you can take in the beauty of the 517m peak. Other highlights include Lose Hill, Back Tor, Hollins Cross and of course the Great Ridge that separates Edale from the Hope Valley.

St Catherine’s Hill – Winchester

Difficulty: Easy Length: 4 miles Nearest Train Station: Winchester

This 4 mile walk starts and finishes at Winchester Cathedral. The history of Winchester dates back to the Iron Age, when the Belgae tribe built a fort on what is now St Catherine’s Hill overlooking the Itchen Valley. There are many sights along the way including the Mizmaze – a medieval turf labyrinth, water meadows of the Itchen and 12th-century almshouses of the Hospital of St Cross.

We recommend doing this walk during spring time to take advantage of the wild spring flowers on the chalk downland.

Whitby to Robin Hood’s Bay walk – North Yorkshire

Difficulty: Medium Length: 6.87 miles Nearest Train Station: Whitby

Known as ‘Gods Own County’ Yorkshire has a whole host of rugged and breath-taking walks, none more so than Whitby to Robin Hood’s Bay.

Starting in the historic town of Whitby, the inspiration for Bram Stokers Dracula, the journey takes you along the Cleveland Way National Trail south towards Robin Hood’s Bay. Although not a difficult walk there is a variety of terrain to test the legs, but with plenty of places to stop the walk can be as strenuous or relaxing as you so wish.

Our recommendation would be to take this walk in spring or summer to take in the sheer beauty of the towering cliffs while enjoying the sound of seabirds and sights of local nature. The walk then ends in Robin Hood’s Bay, once a hive of smuggling, now a picturesque fishing village with cobbled streets, cafes, pubs, gift shops and of course fish and chip shops! There is also a handy regular bus route between Whitby and Robins Hood’s Bay.

Helvellyn via Striding Edge walk, Lake District

Difficulty: Hard Length: 7.58 miles Nearest Train Station: Penrith

If you don’t have a head for heights or feel comfortable with steep exposed mountain terrain then this walk isn’t for you! With a peak of 950m Helvellyn is England’s third highest mountain. The narrow ridge of Striding Edge is one of the UKs more iconic mountain challenges, making it a thrilling walk for keen walkers.

The most popular place to start the walk is through the village of Glenridding, starting with a steep climb over Birkhouse Moor with views over Ullswater Valley and then on to the Grade 1 scramble of Striding Edge, with the long trek to Helvellyn’s vast summit.

After the obligatory celebration photos you will start the descend via Swirral Edge, which can appear a little intimidating due to its steep rocky appearance. Once at the low point follow the path to the glacial bowl which contains the Red Tarn and continue all the way back to Glenridding.

St Ives to Zennor walk – Cornwall

Difficulty: Medium Length: 12.09 miles Nearest Train Station: St Ives

If a walk sandwiched between high rock cliffs, moors and granite hills sounds appealing then the St Ives to Zennor walk is just what you were looking for. Although the walk isn’t difficult underfoot it’s a physically demanding walk due to the distance, so best to keep this in mind before you make the journey.

The walk follows the South West Coast Path along the cliffs from the town of St Ives to the village of Zennor. This is also a fascinating walk as the land has been inhabited for more than 4,000 years, meaning you can take in the sights and relics from its industrial past.

Roseberry Topping walk – North Yorkshire

Difficulty: Medium Length: 6.32 miles Nearest Train Station: Nunthorpe

Although not the largest of hills standing only 320m tall, looks can be deceiving as this hill looks like a mountain in its own right. Known locally as the ‘Yorkshire Matterhorn’, the walk starts in the quant village of Great Ayton on route to the Captain Cook monument, who was born locally in nearby Marton. You will then progress along the Cleveland Way, over the moor before climbing to the summit, then descending via the enchanting oak woodlands back to the village.

Although not the biggest this is arguably one of the UKs most charming summits.

High Cup Nick walk – Cumbria

Difficulty: Medium Length: 9.77 miles Nearest Train Station: Appleby

Known as the ‘Grand Canyon’ of the Pennines, the High Cup Nick walk is one not to be missed, with its famous U-Shaped glacial valley view. Most people start this walk from the High Force Waterfall car park. It’s one of those walks where the pictures really don’t do it justice, the most common of these photos taken at the head of the canyon overlooking the rocks that flow down to the valley floor.

For the descent you can scramble down the rocks into the valley, however this is more suited to the adventurous amongst us. A more sensible option is to follow the route past High Scald Fell and Dufton Pike.

Grosmont to Goathland walk – North York Moors

Difficulty: Easy Length: 3.24 miles Nearest Train Station: Grosmont

Grosmont to Goathland is a nice relaxing downhill walk in the heart of the North York Moors National Park, ending in the charming village of Goathland, famous by the TV show Heartbeat.

You will experience enchanting woodland, vast moors, standing stone, flowing becks with the highlight being the dwellings of Beck Hole with its charming Pub and traditional sweet shop. If you don’t fancy the walk back you can catch a steam train with the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.

Wells Beach and Pinewoods walk – Norfolk

Difficulty: Medium Length: 4.76 miles Nearest Train Station: Sheringham

They say variety is the spice of life, so why not take on this varied landscape walk featuring pine woodland, beach huts, bustling harbour, wildlife, golden sand dunes and seaside cafes!

This walks starts and finishes in the seaside town of Wells-Next-the-Sea, famous for its iconic beach huts. This circular route takes you along the beach and through the pine woodland. Although the walk is mostly flat if you have a pram or wheelchair they might struggle on the beach terrain.

Mawgan Porth Beach to Harlyn Bay walk, Cornwall

Difficulty: Medium Length: 11.03 miles Nearest Train Station: Newquay

Make sure you have a hearty breakfast before you set out on this 11 mile exhilarating route of dramatic cliff-tops and headlands. This famous coastal walk follows the rugged Cornwall coastline from Mawgan Porth Beach to Harlyn Bay. A firm favourite for most people is the view over the slate stacks of Bedruthan Steps, which is reasonably close to the start of the route.

This walk is also a must for birdwatchers with the possibility of spotting Corn Buntings, Guillemots and Razorbills. At the end of the route there are buses available to take you back to the start, unless you are feeling energetic of course and fancy looping back!

Lyndhurst to Beaulieu River, New Forest – Hampshire

Difficulty: Easy Length: 8 miles Nearest Train Station: Brockenhurst

This captivating walk features a mix of ancient woodland and heathland. With over 150 miles of public footpath you are spoilt for choice, meaning you can take any route you so wish. We recommend starting in Lyndhurst and then taking one of the circular routes from Bolton’s Beach which is just south of the town. If you are lucky you may spot roe or fallow deer but the chances of spotting New Forest ponies is almost a certainty!

Bowerman’s Nose walk – Dartmoor

Difficulty: Medium Length: 10.93 miles Nearest Train Station: Newton Abbot

This walk is a must for literature fans; bask in the surroundings that inspired The Hound of the Baskervilles Sherlock Holmes novel. This weird and wonderful place will spark your imagination while you take in the sights of the rocky tors, folded valleys, wild ponies and rolling hills. Legend has it a group of witches turned a local hunter named Bowerman to stone, including his dogs which can be seen as the loose stones around the base of the nose. Hopefully you won’t be cursed along the way!

Bowerman’s Nose is a tall granite stack which stands near the top of Hayne Down, arguably the National Parks most iconic rock formation. It’s a long route but definitely worth the effort.

Broadway Tower walk – Cotswolds

Difficulty: Medium Length: 4.18 miles Nearest Train Station: Evesham

Broadway Tower was originally built as a look out for the medieval trading route. In later years it was used as an observation Tower during the Cold War, nowadays it’s a bit of a tourist attraction which allows you to have a lovely walk and enjoy the historical setting.

The walk is set among 50 acres of woodland in the Broadway Tower Country Park, with panoramic views and a herd of red deer.

Skipton to Saltaire on the Leeds, Liverpool Canal Walk – Yorkshire

Difficulty: Easy Length: 16 miles Nearest Train Station: Skipton

This wheelchair friendly route is a great option if you are looking for scenic canals and picturesque views. The highlight is most definitely Saltaire, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Here you will discover the Victorian model village built by leading industrialist Sir Titus Salt. Make sure you visit the mill and stop for a bite to eat in one of the local cafes.

16 miles would most definitely not be an easy walk, we recommend breaking up the walk over a few days to see what Yorkshire has to offer.

Mourne Mountains – Northern Ireland

Difficulty: Hard Length: 10.9 miles Nearest Train Station: Newry

This demanding walk features three of the highest peaks in the Mournes. The walk can be accessed from the Trassey Track car park where you start and finish. Walk in the footsteps of smugglers from days gone by along the infamous Brandy Pad Track. This trading route was said to be such a hive of activity that half the houses in the village were believed to be pubs.

The second and third peaks offer the best views with panoramic views of the High Mournes, followed by the rugged waves of the Irish Sea.

Three Cliffs Bay, Gower Peninsula – Wales

Difficulty: Easy Length: 4 miles Nearest Train Station: Swansea

Three Cliffs Bay was the UK’s first designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONE) in 1956 and still to this day it receives regular awards for Britain’s best beach and view. The walk has varied shorelines of sand dunes, limestone cliffs, salt marsh and firm favourite Neolithic Giant’s Grave the ruins of 13th-century Pennard Castle.

For a more peaceful experience we recommend going before the crowds descend in high summer.

Muir of Dinnet NNR & Burn O’Vat, Aberdeenshire – Scotland

Difficulty: Easy/Medium Length: 1 mile Nearest Train Station: Insch

This popular National Nature Reserve sits within the Cairngorms National Park, east of Ballater in Royal Deeside. There are four great walks you can partake in, all waymarked starting at the visitor centre. Our pick would be the 1 mile trail to the Burn O’Vat, a secret geological pothole which you enter via a narrow gap and stepping stones.

Legend has it the pothole was used as a hiding place by the infamous local outlaw Gilderoy MacGregor. Although an easy walk there are access issues due to the terrain in which you enter the pothole.