Spring is a time of renewal. This is the time of the year when everything is bright and new and, if you’re anything like me, you just want to get outside and feel the warm sun on your face for the first time in months! The British countryside is never better than when everything is waking from its winter slumber and beginning to show its colourful face. This spring, take some time to wander the paths that wend their way through the British countryside and experience the beautiful landscapes and awe inspiring coastlines that the UK is famous for.
British country walks
Hadrian’s Wall Path
In the north west of England you will find the wall that once marked the northern frontier of the Roman Empire. Stretching the from coast to coast, from Cumbria in the west to Tyneside in the East, the Hadrian’s Wall Path allows visitors to become immersed in the ancient history of Britain.
Hadrian’s Wall is Europe’s largest surviving Roman monument, becoming a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987, and this 140km walk is fast becoming one of the most popular long distance hikes in England. This relatively new path, which was only opened in 2003, follows the Roman wall closely and takes you along the River Tyne, through the farm fields of Northumberland, into the pastures of Cumbria, and finally opening into the salt marshes of the Solway Estuary. With more than eighty short walks which break off of the main trail you don’t have to worry if you can’t invest seven days into the full path. Just imagine settling down to a hearty meal in a country pub at the end of a long day of walking – life doesn’t get much better!
Pembrokeshire Coastal Path
As one of three National Trails which are located in Wales, you can be rest assured that the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path will not disappoint – either in terms of views or the amenities available along the way. The 186 mile trail works its way along the Pembrokeshire Coast, which is the only coastline in Britain to be designated as a National Park.
The variety of landscapes that you will travel through while walking the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path is astonishing, ranging from steep limestone cliffs and red sandstone bays, to flooded glacial valleys. Take a break along your walk to do some wildlife spotting, with nesting seabirds, dolphins, seals, and porpoises regularly spotted along the way. From picturesque harbours and unspoilt villages, to medieval castle ruins and magnificent cathedrals, there is a never ending supply of beauty and history to be explored along the trail. You can even visit St. David, which claims the title of the smallest city in Britain as well as being the place from which St. Patrick set sail for Ireland in the 5th century.
The Cotswold Way
Follow along the Cotswold escarpment to experience the most tranquil and quintessentially English of walks, which travels form Chipping Campden in the north to the iconic World Heritage city of Bath in the south. The Cotswold Way spans over 100 miles and takes visitors through some of the most breathtaking countryside and charming villages that England has to offer.
The Cotswold Way is one of England’s premier long distance walking routes and is a great option for first timers as it wends its way through gentle hills and valleys and the local villages offer a great place to take a well deserved break along the way. One of the best stops along the route is Sudeley Castle near Winchcombe, which has been the site of royal gossip and intrigue for more than a thousand years.
Sudeley Castle was once the home to Queen Katherine Parr, the last of Henry VIII six wives, and it is here that she has been interred. 2012 marks Katherine’s quincentenary (that would be 500th birthday) and will be celebrated with historical events throughout the season at the castle. The Cotswold Way is a very special national trail and the Cotswold National Trail Office runs a Hall of Fame for those who finish the whole trek – filling out a simple card along the way will bag you a pin or badge for you to proudly display. That will be one well earned pin!
If you don’t fancy setting off on one of these walks on your own there are numerous guiding companies who can help you along the way, whether you want to take a fully guided trip or just have someone transport your bags between stops. Just pack up a few snacks, tighten up those boot laces and you’re off!
Britain is filled with breathtaking walks, from short rambles with the family to long distance treks across the beautiful countryside. Walking is really a unique way to experience a country and it’s something we really don’t do enough of. Consider taking a slower type of holiday and immerse yourself completely in the landscape and history of this lovely island.