The benefits of walking for your health are often overlooked. Walking can help you to improve heart health, lose weight, and develop your fitness levels. The UK is littered with hundreds of incredible walking trails. With an abundance of rolling countryside, striking coastlines, and woodlands, there is a terrain out there to suit every level, even the most novice walker.
Here are just a few to get you inspired!
Seven Sisters & Friston Forest Walk – Sussex
This circular route allows hikers to admire the striking white cliffs of the iconic Seven Sisters, and search for the resident wildlife of the South Downs National Park, while sheltered by the beautiful beechwood trees of Friston Forest.
At less than 8 miles long, the route is ideal for intermediate level walkers. The hills and valleys offer a little challenge while the even terrain ensures it is not too taxing on the joints. Why not stay in one of the many cottages for walkers, settled in rural locations ideal for accessing the trails and perfect for those seeking a more luxurious base camp for their hiking adventures.
The Tors of Dartmoor – Devon
Dartmoor is a popular destination for walkers and hosts the well-known 10-tors challenge. An annual, military hosted event that sees thousands of young people take on some of the moor’s most challenging routes.
The moors offer routes for all abilities, whether it is a couple of miles strolling the river Exe followed by a pub lunch, or a more testing experience. There are circular routes from 1-12 miles+ to test everyone’s capabilities. Enjoy the native wildlife, tea rooms, and incredible views in this stunning part of the country.
The Lizard Peninsula – Cornwall
The Lizard Peninsula is located at the most southern point in the UK. The jutting cliffs and hidden beaches make this walking spot truly breath-taking to behold. The 7-mile route of steep cliff climbs and cliff-edge coastal paths are sure to get the adrenaline pumping and offer a healthy challenge for the more established walker. Take in breath-taking views and feel invigorated by the fresh sea air.
Mount Snowdon – Wales
There are 6 routes to choose from when taking on the Mount Snowdon challenge, and with a 3000 ft+ climb ahead of you, planning ahead for the abilities in your group is important. Refreshments can be enjoyed at the summit of England and Wales’ highest mountain along with incredible views.
If scaling the mountain is a little daunting, then Snowdonia National Park offers a wealth of other less trying walks as well as a range of other outdoor pursuits, such as cycling, caving, zip wiring, and water sports to get the heart racing.
The walker’s checklist
Wherever you are heading, there are some essentials to consider, to make sure you are prepared:
- Comfortable footwear and weather-appropriate attire – this is crucial, nothing kills a nice walk like blisters. Ensure you have appropriate footwear for the terrain and wear them in a little before you go to make sure they will offer comfort and support. Check ahead for the weather conditions and take waterproofs if required.
- Spare socks – these are always worth having a spare of with you. They can provide an extra layer if your feet become cold, wet, or sore.
- First aid kit – if you are heading off the beaten track or on a long and challenging hike it is worth carrying a small first aid kit for any minor ailments.
- Whistle – never underestimate the power of nature. Carry a whistle so should you run into difficulties you can signal your whereabouts.
- Refreshments – if you are on a long excursion, be sure to carry water and a snack to keep you fuelled until you reach your destination. More established routes often have cafes or tea rooms along the way to relax and refresh.
- An emergency contact – make sure someone knows where you are going and when you expect to be back. Carry your phone and an emergency contact number with you.
- A fitness tracker – keep track of your times and distances and see just how beneficial walking has been for your health and fitness journey!