A Mini Guide to UK Hiking Trails
There’s no better way to spend time in the outdoors than going for a good ole hike. Lacing up those hiking boots and heading out to the open spaces is not only good for your physical health but also refreshing for the mind. The icing on the cake would be the perfect hiking trail and the UK has plenty of wonderful hikes across its vast lands.
From the stunning Scottish islands to the southern tip of England, you’ll be spoilt for choice by what the United Kingdom has to offer.
Let us look at where to hike in the UK:
Extending 73 miles across northern England, this humongous wall is among Britain’s most endearing medieval monuments. It was built between (122 and 128) AD with the original intention separating the ancient Romans from the Scottish Picts.
The wall features an 84-mile path that runs alongside it where you’ll come across several ancient settlements, landmarks, and interesting museums.
A nice section of the wall you can hike is the stretch from Chollerhord to Birdoswald Fort. This highest point of the wall provides you with polarizing views of the Pennines and the Lake District. Don’t forget to interest yourself with the History of the Wall Exhibition when you hike at this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
South West Coast Path
The meandering path of the South West Coast takes you through 630miles of an irresistible coastline between Minehead, Somerset and Poole Harbor, Dorset. This path is a favourite for hikers during summer with hidden coves along it that you can go for a revitalising dip. Cornwall also features a number of hidden beaches that you won’t have to worry about sharing. A 4-mile walk around the tip of The Lizard will take you to the pale sands and turquoise waters of Housel Bay, a serene beach that you’ll surely appreciate. A hike on the South West Coast Path also offers scenic views including wildflowers and dolphins playing below.
The Isle of Skye
The bizarre-looking yet attractive rock formations in the wild landscape of northern Skye make this region a popular hike zone for both geologists and photographers, and it widely considered one of the best hikes in Scotland
However, be prepared to tackle the great 4-mile loop that will require a little bit of climbing.
Not to worry, the stunning views will give all the incentive to soldier on. The trail begins at the Staffin or Uig villages and takes you through the vistas of Raasay and Rona islands where you can look down the populations below from above the cliff.
South Downs Way
The South Downs Way is a 100-mile British walk that features white cliffs, diverse wildlife, and watering holes along its path. The route starts from Winchester and passes through the amazing countryside, leading you to the gripping chalk cliffs of Eastbourne. It will take you just about eight days to complete this relatively easy route which can best be hiked from west to east.
Along the way, you’ll come across highlights like the Seven Sisters Country Park, Devil’s Dyke, and Amberley Working Museum.
You can also get a deserved break at one of the many great pubs along the way such as the Bull at Ditchling.
Scafell Pike, Lake District
It is common to find a crowd of hikers leaving Wasdale, the western region of the Lake District to take the shortest path to Scafell Pike, the highest point in England. However, there’s an alternative route to the 977-meter high summit. If you are looking to skip the crowds, you can take the more scenic north side route that begins in Seathwaite. Popularly referred to as “Corridor Route”, the nine-mile trail meanders through the rocky-walled valley beneath and takes you to Scafell Pike’s boulder field, the highest peak in England.
West Highland Way
Providing one of the best hikes in the UK, the West Highland Way is famous for its unmatched beauty. Starting from Milngavie, Glasgow to Fort William, Scottish Islands; the momentous 96-mile route passes through the largest loch (Lochmond) in the country, as well as the biggest moor (Rannoch). It takes the majority of hikers around one week to conquer this trail, though you can do this in a shorter period.
Among the toughest yet rewarding sections of the route is between Kingshouse to Fort William, a 22-mile walk that takes you to Ben Nevis which you’ll be able to see from afar.
Situated in the renowned lake district of Cumbria, this challenging trail spans just about 14km in length. Prepare yourself both physically and mentally to attempt this difficult ascent defined by very steep and exposed areas as you scramble on a ledge with scary drop-offs on both sides. Safe to say that it will really be of help if you are not afraid of heights. However,
your efforts will be rewarded when you finally get to the summit and look down on the heavenly views;
among the best you’ll find in England.
Lizard Coastal Walk
A fairly paced 11-km hike will suffice as you go around the south coast of Cornwall. The journey starts and ends at Kynance Cove, arguably the best beach you’ll find in all of England. The path from the cove leads you along the cliff path at the coast which is normally covered in a sea of beautiful heather blossoms. You’ll also come across a deserted Victorian before coming to Lizard Lighthouse. Not far away from the lighthouse is Pen Olver, a cool spot with mesmerizing views of the coastline and home to two tiny huts that were once utilized by the great Guglielmo Marconi- an inventor and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.
North Downs Way
This picturesque hike spans 246 kilometers between Dover and Farmham. It is a relatively friendly hike that doesn’t pose much of a challenge but there are numerous amazing spots that you’ll be glad to discover. The path is famous for its immense beauty and rich history, featuring medieval castles, Roman Forts, cathedrals, trenches, and additional shelters that were used as early as the Second World War. At the end of the hike, don’t forget to reward your hard work with a refreshingly sumptuous meal at Dover Waterfront Restaurant as you enjoy the views of the Dover Castle and the English Channel.