Pull on your boots and a snuggly scarf and experience Britain at its most wild and wintry. Banish the winter blues with our top 10 winter walks.
Hadrian’s Wall, Northumberland-Cumbria, England
Put yourself in a Roman soldier’s sandals and follow this archaeological marvel across Northumberland and Cumbria. Hadrian’s Wall Path runs for 84 miles across this World Heritage Site and bisects weathered moorland and a patchwork of fields under vast skies. In winter you might want to follow a variety of shorter, circular routes detailed on the Hadrian’s Wall Country website.
Holkham Beach, Norfolk, England
Invigorate the senses on one of the biggest and most unspoilt beaches in the country. Holkham Beach is part of one of the biggest nature reserves in Britain and in winter it’s chock full of migrant birds. Soak up stormy seas and endless skies and share the beach with larks, finches and pink-footed geese. Get to the beach via Lady Anne’s Drive on the A149 (opposite The Victoria Hotel).
Dartmoor, Devon, England
Dartmoor feels like a proper wilderness especially at this time of year. The Postbridge audio walk is a 6 mile (10km) circular walk that includes far reaching views from Hartland Tor, historical remains from Dartmoor’s industrial past and an impressive waterfall. Download the audio walk from the Dartmoor website.
Fforest Fawr, Wales
Within easy reach of Cardiff, this expanse of woodland, moorland and meadows in the Brecon Beacons National Park was once an ancient hunting ground. With pounding waterfalls and many walking routes, the area is an excellent and accessible destination for brisk winter walks. It’s an excellent alternative to wild Snowdonia which can be challenging at this time of year.
The Brecks, East Anglia, England
To the west of Suffolk lies the Brecks, one of the driest parts of the UK and a unique landscape of sandy soils which are light and free draining – ideal for a winter walk. During the winter months, the heathland of the Brecks is a subtle tapestry of greens, browns and golds, brought to life by the slanting winter sun. From November until the end of February you’ll have the freedom to roam as seasonal restrictions on Open Access Land are lifted.
Wastwater, Lake District, England
Wastwater is the most dramatic of the Lakes and is surrounded by peaks including Scafell Pike – England’s highest mountain. It’s a popular spot for walking but in winter the crowds stay away leaving you to absorb this most ruggedly beautiful of Lake District views. Start at the Scree Inn at Nether Wasdale.
Richmond Park, London, England
The largest Royal Park in London is a true taste of the countryside. Walk under ancient trees stripped bare and spot Red and fallow deer grazing beside the paths. Don’t miss the uninterrupted view of St Paul’s Cathedral from the top of King Henry’s Mound. Check the Richmond Park website for routes and information on guided walks.
Holyrood Park and Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh, Scotland
Banish the last vestiges of your Hogmanay hangover with a blustery stroll up Arthur’s Seat or the Salisbury Crags in Holyrood Park. These remarkably wild volcanic outcrops are slap bang in the centre of Edinburgh and the climb rewards with fabulous views over the city and beyond. In clear winter light or under a sugaring of snow, Holyrood Park is magical.
New Forest, England
There are 19,300 acres of New Forest with about 150 miles of car-free track for walking and cycling. The Forestry Commission have a variety of guided walks during the winter months throughout the New Forest National Park. Take the Tall Trees Trail to see majestic evergreen conifers or the Deer Watch Trail which ends at a viewing platform for spotting fallow deer.
Glen Muick and Loch Muick Nature Reserves, Scotland
This part of Aberdeenshire is beautiful at any time of the year but in winter, with a dusting of sugary frost, the deserted glens take on a still majesty that’s extra special. Share your walk with herds of wild red deer, admire the snow-covered peaks of Lochnagar from Glen Muick and finish your walk with a warming dram or two at the Royal Lochnagar Distillery.