National Walking Month: 7 of the best spots in the UK and Ireland to go for a wander
May marks the beginning of National Walking Month. For many people, walking is the best kind of exercise – it’s relatively accessible, cheap and has countless benefits from boosting your mental health to lowering your blood pressure.
With the April showers behind us and the weather warming up, May is a perfect time to go on a stroll. Luckily, there are a lot of amazing walks right on our doorstep – and here are some of the most scenic walks you can explore in the UK and Ireland this month.
1. Windsor Great Park, Berkshire
Our first spot is Windsor Great Park in Berkshire, which used to be royal hunting grounds but is now open to the public.
It stretches for around 4,800 acres and even has a deer park. Their website has interesting walking route ideas where you can stop off at landmarks steeped in royal history.
In the Valley Gardens you can marvel at azaleas and rhododendrons and on the iconic Long Walk you can wander up the tree-lined avenue leading up to Windsor Castle.
2. Parkland Walk, London
The Parkland Walk in London follows the path of an old railway, running from Finsbury Park all the way Alexandra Palace. It’s four and a half miles long so depending on how fast you walk it would probably take you over an hour.
It’s London’s longest local nature reserve – the train line has long been abandoned and nature has well and truly taken its course. It is now home to animals like muntjac deer, hedgehogs and butterflies, as well as all manner of wild flowers.
3. Camel Trail, Cornwall
Continuing on the theme of disused railway routes is the Camel Trail. Found in Cornwall, the trail goes between Wenfordbridge, Bodmin, Wadebridge and Padstow.
At 18 miles the trail is quite long, so people often pick up bikes and cycle it or alternatively you can easily walk smaller sections of the route. The trail is divided up into three sections: Padstow to Wadebridge (5.5 miles), Wadebridge to Bodmin (5.75 miles) and Bodmin to Wendfordbridge (6.25 miles).
It is largely traffic free so the perfect location for a scenic walk, where you can soak up pretty forests and seaside towns along the way. There are also plenty of pubs and cafes on the route should you feel in need of a rest.
4. Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland
Running 1,600 miles down Ireland’s coastline, the Wild Atlantic Way has something for everyone. You can pick out bits of the route depending on your interests, whether it’s history, wildlife or the more challenging sections for experienced hikers.
The cliffs and headlands are rugged and virtually unexplored making it a seriously astounding walk, where you feel like you’re almost at the end of the world. The route runs through nine counties, from Derry all the way down to Cork.
5. Old Harry Rocks, Dorset
Old Harry Rocks consists of three unique white chalk rock formations in the sea. The walking route takes between one and two hours and isn’t challenging, so is suitable for children and you can take dogs along with you.
It’s a circular walk where you can start and end in the Studland village, passing through some pristine countryside and along the Jurassic coastline, overlooking some seriously impressive rock formations.
6. Silver How, Lake District
Silver How is a fell in the Lake District, and is a brilliant introduction to the range of scenic walks you can do in the area. There are many routes to and from the summit, but if you follow this one you will start and finish in the village of Grasmere.
It’s got beautiful, sweeping views over the terrain and has the added bonus of passing what used to be the home of the poet William Wordsworth. It’s not a particularly difficult walk but it does climb a hill, and will take between one and half hours to two and a half hours.
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