In a post-lockdown world, many of us are yearning to get out and about and explore the glorious countryside and natural world that has been denied to us for months.
With foreign travel not recommended for the foreseeable future, the UK tourism industry is sure to get a major boost and one of the things the UK does better than almost anything else on the planet is a good country walk.
From the iconic cliffs of Dover to the picturesque Lake District and the endlessly spectacular Forest of Dean that we call home, here are what we think are some of the very best walks the UK has to offer for this summer and beyond.
The Pennine Way
The first officially designated National Trail, this stunning hike has been alluring walkers since 1965. Starting at the Peak District and ending up at the Scottish Borders, it’s a 268-mile walk that offers some of the most expansive views and challenging walks in the UK.
It’s also wealthy with lovely little villages, perfect for the occasional stop if you fancy a quick pint or three.
The Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail
A nature trail where art and the beauty of the natural world combine into something new and wonderful. The Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail is a unique collection of contemporary sculptures, some of which are permanent installations and others that are more temporary.
Visited by over 300,000 people every year, the train has been inspiring awe and wonder for over 30 years now, with pieces designed to, “Respond intellectually, historically, physically and conceptually to the particularity of place,” so are designed to sit perfectly within the forest.
It’s a walk truly like nothing else and is a perfect educational and inspiring way to spend an afternoon.
The Secret Forest
Also situated within the Forest of Dean and the Wye Valley in the Clearwell area, the Secret Forest is a glorious walk through ancient mines and yew trees with gnarled and twisted roots. It’s like stepping foot into a scene from The Lord of the Rings.
Situated just a few hundred yards from the entrance to Clearwell Caves, the walk spans striking rock formations, iron age replica villages, and some of the areas very best tearooms.
If you fancy a stronger drink, meanwhile, or a place to stay for the evening then the Wyndham in Clearwell is just a short walk away.
The South Foreland Lighthouse Walk
For those who only have an afternoon to spare, are a little less experienced or perhaps want to bring the family along, this is an accessible four-mile walk.
It takes in the famous White Cliffs of Dover and winds along the shoreline past some of the most important sites of the Second World War, including the Langdon Hole underground tunnel system.
The walk reaches its climax at the titular lighthouse, which is open during the day for visitors to climb. The view from the top is like little else on this earth.
The Lake District is renowned for its rugged mountains, quaint little market towns and, glacial lakes. It’s one of the most popular tourist attractions in the UK and with good reason.
Hikers are honestly spoilt for choice when it comes to walks but for us, the cream of the crop is the circular Coniston Round hike.
Beginning at the lakeside village of the same name and taking walkers up the Old Man peak and further on the Grey Friar, this walk boasts some of the best views not only in the Lake District but in the entire country.