When it comes to walking routes, we really are spoiled here in the UK. Even for those who live in the bigger towns and cities, it doesn’t take long to head out into the countryside and stretch your legs in our magnificent green spaces. Whether you’re exploring lush forests, breathing in sea air along the coast, or admiring the amazing views at the top of our fantastic mountains, the UK is one of the best places in the world to give your walking boots a thorough workout – yes, even in the winter!
We have already listed what we think are some of the best walking routes in the UK, as well as a few walks that even the kids might not moan about (although we can’t guarantee that). However, this time we’ve spoken to a handful of our favourite outdoor bloggers for their favourite UK winter walks, and they’ve come up with some superb choices.
Take a look at their choices below and use the interactive maps to learn more about the walks…
Two Blondes Walking
We are so lucky in this country to have such a wealth of walking routes. We can choose from the sharp mountains of Scotland to the sandy shores of the Isles of Scilly with a whole range of terrains in between. It’s so hard to choose a favourite since usually the last place I walked is usually the favourite!
The National Park that holds a special place in my heart is Dartmoor. Its rugged beauty changes with the seasons, showing colours ranging from the purple heather of summer to the black skies of winter. Nothing beats the spectacular colours of autumn as the leaves slowly turn and fall. I love to visit the granite tors which in some cases are a stone’s throw from the car; perfect for a Sunday autumn afternoon. Equally in the autumn, finding a leafy woodland walk is easy here.
A similar terrain, but the other end of the country, is the Isle of Man. The ridge leading to North Barule is a particular favourite, even though the false summits along the way seem endless. The phrase ‘just over this hill’ is said frequently!
In complete contrast, walking on the Isles of Scilly offers a chance to rewind, relax and enjoy gentle moorland walks to the sound of the Atlantic Ocean. The islands are full of archaeological finds to explore. A flask of coffee is essential so you have an excuse to stop and admire the coastline from one of the many white sandy beaches. Watching the waves crashing on a blustery day is a must.
Head over to Two Blondes Walking to learn more about their adventures.
Shell Robshaw-Bryan, Camping with Style
I love walking, and recently discovered a passion for hill and mountain walks. I can’t stand walking in the summer months, but I adore walking on cold, bright crisp days, making Autumn and Winter the time of year when I tend to do most walking.
I’m lucky enough to live just 40 minutes from the Peak District, an hour from the Lancashire Moors, and I can get to Cumbria and Snowdonia in under 2 hours. This means when it comes to walks I’m often spoilt for choice and whilst there are walks I keep returning to, there are others I’ve only done once that I can’t wait to do again!
I did this walk with my daughter and her boyfriend last Autumn. We camped nearby and started our walk at Hayfield, taking a 14km circular route that took us up to Kinder Scout. Kinder Downfall is dramatic and rugged and the walk itself was never dull.
Towards the end despite following the map and route description in our guide book, we spent the last few kilometres not actually certain we were following the right route, but cracked on and followed our noses.
We turned out to be right and ended up back in Hayfield where we tucked into an enormous meal at the local pub before returning to our tents. It was a fantastic walk I can’t wait to do again!
This is a classic Wainwright walk and I couldn’t believe just how much the view changed with every step I took! After a short sharp initial climb and a fun scramble, there’s a lovely easy ridge walk up to the summit of Catbells. I did this walk for the first time just last month and was bowled over by the astonishing views after such a short climb.
The Roaches & Lud’s Church, Peak District
The Roaches lie on the edge of the Peak District and despite their unappealing name boast some spectacular scenery as well as amazing views of Staffordshire and Cheshire. The area is managed by the Wildlife Trust and it’s full of grazing cattle and wildlife.
Continue the walk on down to the spooky and highly atmospheric Lud’s Church, a magical place that really fires my imagination every time I visit.
Visit Camping With Style to see more of what Shell has been up to.
The Adventures Of Kate
Buckler’s Hard to Beaulieu
My local national park is the New Forest, and I head there throughout the year. This is one of my favourite walks at any time, because it’s just beautiful but you can’t beat the crisp sunny winter days! Buckler’s Hard is home to an old shipbuilding village and maritime museum, it’s a beautiful setting. The path heads in two directions – one along the river which is slightly muddier but more scenic, and one through the forest, which is wheelchair/pushchair and bike accessible. It’s not a long walk, at around 2 miles each way, but whatever path you take, you’ll be spoilt for lovely scenery. When you reach Beaulieu, why not head to one of the coffee shops, to the famous motor museum or abbey. You may even spot a donkey or two!
A famous National Trust property in Wiltshire, Stourhead is beautiful year round, but I truly believe that in Autumn it comes into its own. The reds and oranges reflected in the lake below a clear blue sky are widely photographed, and with good reason. It’s not a long walk, perhaps 2 miles at most around the lake, but you can make it in to a longer loop if you choose to, by walking up to King Alfred’s Tower. The whole estate is absolutely beautiful, and the path around the lake is accessible to wheelchairs and pushchairs too. It’s a stunning spot, one of my favourites. We walk here every Christmas Day, usually with a flask of mulled wine (well, it’s Christmas)
Yes Tor and High Willhays, Dartmoor
My favourite part of the moor. Taking in the two highest points on Dartmoor, this walk which starts and ends at Meldon Reservoir is one of my go-to’s on a wintry day! The views across the moor are beautiful, and you can even bag a trig point. You can drop down from High Willhays to the famous Black A Tor Copse (a high altitude oak woodland, covered in mosses and lichen). If fairies existed, this is where they would be! From here you can either walk back along the river, or back up to Black Tor and down the hill.
Head over to The Adventures of Kate to see what else Kate has been doing recently.
Lauren, Helpful Hiker
I love the colder months. I love the colours of autumn and I love going for a walk on a crisp, clear winter’s day. Here are a few of my favourite walks for this time of year.
Helvellyn, Lake District
This time last year me and my husband headed off to the Lake District for a few days of walking. The highlight was a ten mile hike taking in the region’s third highest peak, Helvellyn. At 950m (3117 ft) it’s not to be taken lightly, particularly in the colder months, but it is nonetheless a very rewarding summit with stunning views over Ullswater. We started our walk in bright sunshine, which made the autumn colours look especially vibrant. However, the higher we went, the colder and greyer it got, until we could hardly see in front of us at the summit. Unfortunately, we missed out on some of the Lake’s most iconic views, but it was still an enjoyable adventure. I was glad that we were prepared so could layer up as we climbed. The lack of visibility made navigation a little tricky, again I was prepared and had researched the route, plus I had a map and compass with me.
Wetton and Thor’s Cave, Peak District
This is a little more family friendly. When we have our son with us we tend to go for shorter, flatter routes, but we still like to look at something. I planned a route starting and finishing at the village of Wetton in the Peak District. After leaving the village, we headed to Thor’s Cave. This is a great place for children (and adults!) to explore and has great views over the countryside. We then headed down to the river and followed the manifold trail path for a short distance, before heading around and over Wetton Hill and back to the village. The wind can be strong on the hill, but the views are worth it!
One thing I love about autumn and winter is that it’s a great time of year to explore places closer to home. I love going back to familiar places and seeing how they change with the seasons. One example, is Harlestone Heath, nestled on the outskirts of Northampton where I live. It’s not the biggest or most scenic woodland, but it’s a great, accessible place for families to get outdoors. What’s more it looks beautiful in the autumn, and in the depths of winter it looks different again. I also find that it’s a little bit quieter than in the summer, so you can enjoy a walk with some peace and quiet.
See more about Lauren over on The Helpful Hiker
Last modified: December 19, 2017