Outdoor specialists Blacks have put together their top 10 walks in collaboration with OS GetOutside Champions from around the UK.
Wales has made the list, with it’s impressive walk up Snowdon via Crib Goch.
1. Worcestershire Way
Region: West Midlands
Distance: 44.5km/27.7 miles
Duration: 11 hours 29 mins
The Worcestershire Way is a trail route taking you from Bewdley to Great Malvern. It can be completed in one day but for a more leisurely walk take 2 days!
The path starts on the River Severn at Bewdley and is a fairly flat and pleasant walk. It is mostly riverside and woodland walking with gentle hills throughout. The route has lots to offer including Birchwood Common, where Sir Edward Elgar composed most of his music.
The finish is at the outstanding and beautifully scenic Malverns Hills, situated at 425m above sea level. If you have time, you can extend your route to finish at the iconic British Camp – an Iron Age Hill Fort.
2. Old Winchester Hill
Region: South East England
Distance: 13.3km/8.3 miles
Duration: 3 hours 18 mins
This is a beautiful walk on the western edge of the South Downs National Park, providing a taste of what the Downs can offer and passing two excellent pubs en-route. It follows sections of the South Downs Way and the Monarch’s Way, starting and finishing at the car park on top of Beacon Hill within the Beacon Hill National Nature Reserve.
Leaving the car park, the Monarch’s Way leads downhill to the Wheely Down Farm. Continue downhill, past the Hampshire Hogs Cricket Ground into Warnford, looking out for the Water Cress ‘fields’ on your right. Opposite the George & Falcon pub, head uphill onto the South Downs Way and the Iron Age Hill Fort of Old Winchester Hill.
Descend back down into the Meon Valley, crossing the Meon Valley Trail which was formerly a railway line where Winston Churchill, General Eisenhower and other senior Allied Leaders met on a train prior to the D-day invasion. Having crossed the busy A32 you enter the quaint village of Exton where you will find the Shoe Inn, another excellent pub.
The final stage of the walk is the climb out of Exton back up to the top of Beacon Hill and the car park via the trig pillar. On a clear day the views from the walk are magnificent, seeing the coast and Isle of Wight to the south and well up into Surrey to the north. This is a walk you will never tire of.
3. Hole of Horcum
Region: Yorkshire and The Humber
Distance: 15.4km/9.6 miles
Duration: 4 hours 2 mins
The Hole of Horcum makes for a spectacular moorland adventure, offering a scenic half-day loop with views and terrain as varied as they come. The 9 and a half miles of easy-to-follow but wonderfully picturesque footpath starts with a dramatic view across the Hole of Horcum itself; on a clear day you can see much of your route for the day from the car park.
Walkers start by looping around the top of the Hole of Horcum across Levisham Moor, taking in an array of Bronze Age and Iron Age remains, and through what is said to be some of the UK’s best Grouse breeding grounds.
The route sweeps down the hill to Dundale Pond, where you reach a finger board with four possible route options (or five including turning around and going back the same way). We highly recommend adding on the there-and-back diversion from here to the ruins of Skelton Tower for even more spectacular views over the North York Moors. Time your picnic with the North York Moors Railway for one of the most popular Instagram-worthy snaps of the outdoors, as the steam train makes its way through the valley below you.
Back at Dundale Pond, the circular walk continues through farmland to Levisham, a beautiful little village inside the National Park. The Horseshoe Inn makes for a welcoming walker-friendly lunchtime stop. From Levisham, the footpath heads along a single-file forest track which can be muddy and rooty at times. It winds walkers down into the valley to meet Levisham Beck, another beautiful spot with a different kind of view to those seen earlier in the hike. Cross the stream and follow the path across the meadow past a large derelict farmhouse, through the Hole of Horcum itself up onto the top and back to the viewpoint to complete the loop.
4. Crib Goch
Distance: 11.1km/6.9 miles
Duration: 3 hours 58 mins
As one of the most popular Grade 1 scrambles in the UK, Crib Goch is the toughest walking route up Snowdon, beginning along the PYG track. The route starts from the top of Pen y Pass which has a decent café and public toilets, as well as Mallory’s Bar in the YHA across the road from the car park. Although it may be easy to get there, the walk itself is not to be underestimated and should only be attempted by walkers confident in both their ability and their route-finding. Further to this, calm winds and dry conditions are almost essential as anything else can make for a difficult day, with ice axe and crampons absolutely required if completing the traverse in winter.
Crib Goch is a ridgeline climb with incredible views wherever you look and some exciting, proper scrambling. The most exposed part of the walk is probably crossing the pinnacles with a couple of airy steps to conquer, whilst Crib y Ddysgl is always more of a scramble than you think it is going to be!
After that the going gets easier up towards Snowdon. There is a special moment as you reach the summit when, views permitting, you look back at the ascent that you’ve just made. It’s a really special climb and always well worth the effort.
From Snowdon though, there’s a choice – head into the very characterful Llanberis for a trip to Electric Mountain and learn about the history of the area, or head back towards the starting point of the scramble via Y Lliwedd (as shown in this route), and view Crib Goch yet again but from a different angle and in all its glory. This is something well worth doing in the summer to avoid the throngs on the main path of Snowdon.
The exposure and proper scrambling that the route entails is always a thrill and makes for a great day out, especially when there are so many different routes to descend from the summit of Snowdon with. During long summer days, the sheer volume of walkers out on the ridge can make the going slow. Early morning starts or even afternoon starts if confident enough can be particularly rewarding when the light hits the mountains just right.
5. Five Peaks in The Pentlands
Distance: 17.1km/10.6 miles
Duration: 4 hours 51 mins
Ask an Edinburgh local where they head for a walk and the Pentland Hills Regional Park will be high on the list. There are lots of low-level Pentland Hills walks to explore, including reservoir rambles and moorland strolls which are great for a dog walk. However, for something a little more strenuous, getting up into the Pentland Hills themselves is a brilliant day out – with wonderful views across to Edinburgh. Once you are up in the hills you could be in the highlands, not just 30 minutes from the city centre!
The five main peaks of the Pentland Hills can be walked in a 10-mile circular which also takes in the highest hill in the range, Scald Law. The route starts with a climb up over Turnhouse Hill (506m) and then Carnethy Hill (573m) which give great views back over the reservoirs, Edinburgh and across to the Forth Bridges. The path rises up to Scald Law (579m) and then over the smaller East and West Kip – the shapeliest and steepest hills in the range. The walk returns alongside the beautiful Loganlee and Glencourse Reservoirs, to complete the 10-mile loop.
6. Constable Country Walk
Region: East England
Distance: 8.8km/5.5 miles
Duration: 1 hour 59 mins
Although East Anglia is not known for dramatic topography, this route starts in the picturesque town of Stoke by Nayland that sits in a relatively elevated position. As you follow the gently undulating route, you will catch several glimpses of St. Mary’s Church that sits at the centre of the village. If it seems familiar, you may well have seen it in one of John Constable’s paintings or drawings as this is true “Constable country”.
This circular route through the Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty starts at The Crown and goes past some of the village’s quirky, timber-framed houses that are synonymous with Suffolk, before continuing through beautiful countryside. The route passes through some small areas of woodland and eventually follows the course of the River Box back to the village. Taking around 2 hours at a leisurely pace, you’ll have just enough time to work up an appetite for some delicious food at The Crown or The Angel.
Civilisation may be visible at parts of this route but because of the abundance of historic buildings, it is very easy to forget all the cares of the modern world. To us, this area is the epitome of “England’s green and pleasant land” and explains why artists are drawn to capture this idyllic rural landscape, with the views depicted by Constable in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries remaining largely unchanged.
7. Water Railway from Lincoln to Boston
Region: East Midlands
Distance: 51.9km/32.2 miles
Duration: 10 hours 39 mins
The path along the dismantled Water Railway in Lincolnshire follows the River Witham from Lincoln to Boston. The mostly traffic free route is advertised as ideal for both walking and cycling. It passes through the Lincolnshire villages of Bardney, Woodhall, Tattershall Bridge, Chapel Hill, Langrick Bridge (and lots more villages besides) on the way into Boston.
The path that connects these two important Lincolnshire towns would have seen boats loaded with grain and wool, as well as local people travelling on packet boats. The railway opened in 1848 as a faster replacement to river travel, and was operational until 1981 when the last goods train served the sugar beet factory in Bardney.
Being a flat river route in Lincolnshire you are almost always surrounded by vast open fenland landscapes, with long views and big skies. You can walk in the hills in Lincolnshire, but there is something very special about the flatness of the Fens. There are a number of sculptures to keep things interesting along the way – commissioned artwork depicting Lincolnshire’s assets and inspired by the words of Lincolnshire’s own Lord Alfred Tennyson.
You might not consider a flat walk one to pay much attention to, but wandering along a river with a low horizon all around is one of life’s real pleasures. And with plenty of pretty villages along the route, you can make this walk as long or as short as you like. Walk the whole way as a personal challenge, or wander a short section and have a pub lunch before returning to your car.
8. Teesdale Waterfall Walk
Region: North East England
Distance: 8.7km/5.4 miles
Duration: 2 hours 1 min
This walk begins at the Bowlees Visitor Centre near Middleton In Teesdale. There is ample parking and a café/shop to visit for refreshments post walk. Before leaving the car park, we suggest a slight detour north to Gibson’s Cave and Summerhill Force – you won’t be disappointed! After visiting the first waterfall of the day, head back along the same path and follow the signs for Pennine Way. The next highlight of this walk is Wynch bridge which crosses the River Tees above Low Force waterfalls.
Once safely negotiated, turn right on to the Pennine Way marked footpath. As you meander along the path following the course of the River Tees, the views of The North Pennine hills ahead can’t help but take your breath away. After leaving Low Force, the river slows a little and you can enjoy the peace and quiet before the approach to High Force.
You hear the roar of High Force long before you see it, eagerly anticipating what lies ahead. High Force Falls is without doubt the highlight of this walk, and what most people come to visit. The waterfall in full flow is an amazing display of nature’s sheer power, as it falls 21 metres into the plunge pool below. The rock formation here is a marvel too; a hard rock called Dolerite (known locally as Whinstone Whin sill) was formed 295 million years ago as molten lava rose from the earth’s core.
After visiting High Force most people then retrace their steps back to the visitor centre, but there is one more jewel in the crown of this walk – Bleabeck Force. Continue on the Pennine Way for another 500 metres and you will arrive at a beautiful waterfall that is often overlooked for its bigger, more powerful counterparts! If you are looking for a spot to enjoy lunch and a cup of tea in peace and solitude, then this is the place for you. After enjoying your lunch, simply retrace your route back to the visitor centre. This is a great walk for all ages with a relatively easy footpath all the way along the course of the river.
9. Glenridding Dodd
Region: North West England
Distance: 4.5km/2.8 miles
Duration: 1 hour 29 mins
Glenridding Dodd has to be one of our favourite walks in the Lake District. As it’s one of the smallest of the Wainwrights, it never seems to be that busy. It’s a fantastic walk which has a bit of everything in it: public transport and a car park at the beginning, some scrambling at the start, a fantastic view at the top, and then a gentle decent through woods at the end.
The walk starts at the car park in Glenridding and heads away from Ullswater up Greenside Road, before turning right behind Rake Cottages for a bit of a scramble up Bleas Crag. It’s not for long though, and soon we pick up a path running along The Rake. At the stone wall, turn right for the easy climb to the top of Glenridding Dodd. The summit is 442-metres-high, but for the best view go past the cairns and drop down slightly. From here, there’s a magnificent view of Ullswater spreading out beneath.
It’s tempting to stay here forever, but the route down is just as good. Retrace the route back to the wall and turn right. Here, the path drops down steadily around the north side of Glenridding Dodd, through woodland – with Mossdale Beck on the left. The path comes out at a car park, and then the walk crosses over the A592 to follow a path along the shore of Ullswater, before returning back to the original car park.
10. St Michael’s Way
Region: South West England
Distance: 21km/13 miles
Duration: 4 hours 55 mins
This walk is a wonderful excuse to escape to West Cornwall for a couple of days and you get to see both the wonderfully rugged North Coast and the gentler South Coast.
Starting at Lelant Railway station, you should walk north through the village towards Lelant Church where you will pick up the start of the ‘St Michael’s Way’ – also a part of the ‘South West Coast Path’. At this point as long as you are following the long distance waymarkers and have the ocean on your right, you are going the correct way! Keep going just past Carbis Bay and don’t forget to stop and enjoy the view of the rugged North Cornish Coast in all its glory. You will start heading south west up into the town and out towards Knills monument (which is an excellent place for a break to take in the wonderful view of the surrounding countryside).
You will set off South East for a while along a few country lanes and across fields towards Trencrom Hill fort. You can simply walk around this or for the more adventurous, we highly recommend a wander up to the top as the view on a clear day is spectacular. The next part of the walk takes you through the wonderful Cornish countryside. As you meander through fields and country lanes you will find yourself wandering up a steep-ish hill lined by trees. At the top you enter the wonderful village of Ludgvan, a great place to stop for a pub lunch.
When leaving the pub, it is a nice gentle meander across the fields (with a few Cornish granite stone styles). You are now heading towards the South Coast and will have had plenty of views of St Michael’s Mount. Not far now and you will be crossing the A30, heading across a few more fields and some more wonderful Cornish styles! Carry on through a nature reserve and the Marazion marshes and out to the spectacular Marazion, with views of the South Coast. At this point simply turn right and head along the Cornish Coast to Penzance (this time keep the sea on your left).
View the walking routes and find more information, including where to park.
A spokesperson for Blacks commented:
“We want to encourage Brits to put on their walking shoes this Bank Holiday and embrace the great outdoors, no matter their age or experience.”
“Walking can help you live a healthier, more active lifestyle, and the UK has an abundance of beautiful places for the whole family to get out and explore.”
“Wales offers some of the most stunning and naturally beautiful sights and we particularly recommend taking the Crib Goch route up Snowdon this Bank Holiday.”