/ Travel & Leisure

Where are your favourite places to go walking?

Whether it be a Sunday afternoon stroll, or a week-long hike, there’s nothing quite like walking in the countryside. But what are your favourite walking routes?

This Sunday is ‘National Get Outside Day’ – an initiative spearheaded by Ordnance Survey (OS) to get more of us out and about and enjoying the countryside.

Whether you enjoy long hikes on the open moors or gentle strolls down to the shops, there’s no denying that some sort of outside activity, even in your own garden, is good for the soul.

So what are the OS suggesting you get up to on Sunday? If you live in Shropshire or the Peak District you can sign up for a free guided walk on 30 September with the opportunity to meet one of the OS ‘Champions’ such as Ben Fogle.

Great outdoors

Alternatively, OS is also running regional events such as Nordic Walking in London, Open Water Swimming on Exmoor and a family walk along Hadrian’s Wall.

If organised fun isn’t your thing then you can sign up for a welcome pack which includes a free one-month subscription to OS Maps (for smartphones, computers and tablets) to choose your own walking routes. Just remember to opt-out of being bombarded with email spam.

Of course, not all great walks in the UK are limited to the countryside – urban ambling can be just as enjoyable – so why not try a walk through one of the best UK cities as voted for by Which? Travel readers?

Have you ever tried a purpose-designed walking holiday? If not and you’d like to, then check out some of the companies that make it onto our list of the best escorted tour providers.

Go your own way

I tend to prefer more of a gentle stroll, although I’ve twice gone on something resembling a hike. The first was a 25-mile trek, split over two days, as part of my Duke of Edinburgh Bronze award.

The trail took us through the Ashdown Forest in East Sussex, probably best known for being the magical woodland that inspired A.A Milne’s Hundred Acre Wood.

The second hike was quite different: up (and down) Mt Snowdon in Wales. It was a breathtaking climb and thankfully we had the perfect weather to enjoy the beautiful views of Wales’ green and rolling landscape.

Even better, those who prefer to skip the hike entirely can take the Snowdon Mountain Railway right up to the summit.

What’s your walking route of choice? An urban amble, a bracing promenade at a seaside resort or an invigorating trek through one of our beautiful national parks?

Where in the UK is the best walking to be found?

England (44%, 232 Votes)

Scotland (36%, 189 Votes)

Wales (18%, 94 Votes)

Northern Ireland (3%, 16 Votes)

Total Voters: 531

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I was patiently awaiting any mention of Snowdonia but I admit to being a tad disappointed when your phrase regarding the walk up Snowdon itself didn’t mention the route. So – to complete the header:

“North Wales is a walker and campers’ paradise, offering numerous opportunities for trekking, biking, surfing and hiking. Snowdon (No “Mt” preceding it…) is the second highest mountain in the UK and offers a variety of routes to the summit, from the relatively easy but fairly lengthy Pyg track to the demanding, potentially dangerous but stunning Watkin route.

But for a quieter, more deserted and almost equally high route, there’s nothing to beat the Carneddau range, offering seven peaks within a six mile climbing hike.

A word of warning: the weather can change abruptly and dangerously on any of the ranges in Snowdonia. The ground underfoot is often jagged rocks and swamp, so good strong boots are essential as is knowledge of the area and a 50,000 OS map and Silva compass. Every week from September to March at least one person is killed, and they’re almost always unprepared for the conditions.”

When I walked up Snowdon from a rented house in Llanberis a few years ago, I reckon I was properly kitted out (even for the tourist alongside the SMR) but I was gobsmacked by the variations in attire and equipment of my fellow travellers.

Most mountains don’t come with cafes at their summits, but Snowdon does. Whilst there, I was able to share my maps with some, apparently serious, walkers who didn’t their own ones to use.

I was also surprised to get mobile phone reception everywhere on that walk. In my experience, that’s not to be relied upon “in the mountains” or even on parts of the Malvern Hills.

That’s a good point, Derek. Some years ago the WTB funded extra masts for mobiles around Snowdon but that’s not the case with any of the other ranges in Snowdonia. We, for example, have no mobile reception at all so relying on a mobile signal to get help isn’t a great idea.

Thanks Ian. Snowdon is somewhere I’d love to visit – hoping to do so before the weather turns a bit more treacherous.

Outside of the UK – has anyone here visited Yosemite? Easily one of the most beautiful awe-inspiring places I’ve been to.

Indeed, although missed Yogi on both occasions. Impressive, seeing what glaciers and volcanoes can do in close proximity. Yosemite means Killer, thought to be named after a tribe evicted from thereabouts, but there’s serious concern at the moment that the super volcano on which Yosemite park sits is overdue for a pop – which could bring a whole new meaning to the name.

Lot of good hiking around the park, although best to steer clear of some less visited areas.

@carneades I once jogged the Watkin route at dawn, in somewhat fitter days – absolutely gorgeous, if alarming when the fog gave way to the sheer drops below!

@gmartin I haven’t done Yosemite, but Joshua Tree and the White Mountains, in California and Arizona respectively, were both remarkable. The wilderness feels (and is) a lot bigger over there – and the sky feels bigger too!

🙂 I take it you only jogged to the saddle, and then carefully picked your way to the summit for the last 600′?

@carneades yes, it became rather less joggable at that point, for anyone without a death wish!

Currently my favourite walk starts on my front door step, passes through Gloucester onto Alney Island and ends up back home again, almost inevitably via a pub.

I enjoy walking in other places too, not least Snowdonia and other places with hills, old mines and quarries, old tramroads and railway lines etc.

I love a long early morning walk on a beach, collecting a few washed-up treasures on the way.

One of my favourite places to walk happens to be in my hometown. It’s a short and easy walk (few hills) around Sherrardspark Wood and the Ayot Greenway (an old abandoned train line which used to contact Hatfield to Harpenden).
My partner and I do this walk every Sunday (as a post-Sunday lunch walk) with our dogs Guinness (13-year-old black labrador) and Bruce (4-year-old Cockerpoo).
The woods there are particularly special to me as both my mother and grandparents played there as children and walked there as adults. So there is a feeling of belonging.
What I like most about the area, though, is when you go on early Autumn mornings, when the leaves are golden and crips, the frost has dusted the undergrowth with glittering silver, and the sunlight catches it through the trees. The air is clean, and the scene is almost magically.

A regular outing for me is along the south side of the Thames Path from Hammersmith, out to Barnes and beyond. It’s remarkably leafy for zone 2, giving the impression that you’re far outside the hum of the city, and for the canny walker a return trip on the north side (Chiswick) offers a selection of excellent pubs next to the Fuller’s brewery that consequently serve beer very well. It also takes you past Holst’s house and a number of boat clubs. Very relaxing!

As a result of a leg injury when I was younger, walking downhill is a bit of a struggle but I can walk on the flat without problems. My favourite walking routes are canals because they are flat and usually have a towpath. I enjoy walking along rivers too, providing there is footpath. There are interesting villages to explore and nice pubs to visit.

Like Alfa, I enjoy walking along beaches, especially out of season when they are deserted.

Belfast and Derry hold popular organised walks at certain times of the year.

Does anyone have any good walking tips for Loch Lomond and Glenfinnan/Fort William? Have a trip planned in November 🙂

You should be safe in November but earlier in the year the midges can be a real nuisance near water. I speak from bitten experience.

I’d take an umbrella.
I don’t wish to place a dampener on your trip but the midges have the right idea – stay inside. Nearby Glasgow is reported to have, on average, 24 wet days and 100mm of rain in November. I’d suggest you plan your trip for the other 7 days.

Thanks both. Am prepared for the midges and the weather – have booked some cosy accommodation 🙂

They’re both excellent walking destinations; we’ve sailed near there many times and to Ft Wm, and Midges won’t be an issue in November. However, unless you’re sure about potential allergic reactions best to play safe and take some Deet.

Ft Wm is a long way from Glasgow but being on the W coast gets a lot of rain. And wind. And sometimes snow and hail in November.

Thanks Ian, definitely taking a few layers. Any good routes you know of? I’m thinking this one: https://www.countryfile.com/go-outdoors/walks/walk-glenfinnan-highland/

That’s a good one, George, and the viaduct is certainly worth a look. Bit boggy in places in November but obviously you’ll be equipped with decent boots.

If you’re going to do this sort of thing fairly often, it’s worth going on a Mountain Leadership training course. Did one years ago and loved every minute of it, although a course member was killed during it. Tricky things, mountains.

That is a gorgeous part of the world! It has been about 15 years since I was last there though so can’t help with walk advice.

This is the Celt in me but it is better to go somewhere that you are expecting wet weather and be pleasantly surprised than go somewhere expecting good weather and be disappointed.