Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Latest Posts

Britain’s finest long-distance footpaths: 12 epic treks


Britain’s finest long-distance footpaths present glorious entry to the outside whereas showcasing the best surroundings our isles have to supply

Whenever you consider the most effective long-distance climbing trails from all over the world, little previous Britain in all probability wouldn’t high of your record. Hikers will extra seemingly be drawn to the Triple Crown of the Appalachian, Continental Divide and Pacific Crest trails within the US, New Zealand’s Nice Walks or the well-known Annapurna Circuit and Everest Base Camp treks in Nepal.

Nevertheless, the UK does have an in depth community of long-distance footpaths. Managed by the Nationwide Trails in England and Wales and Scotland’s Nice Trails north of the border, the UK has hundreds of miles of tramping to be found – and the community continues to broaden.

Through the years, I’ve accomplished a number of of the UK’s long-distance footpaths. Most not too long ago, I hiked the Two Moors Method throughout Dartmoor and Exmoor which instantly grew to become a agency favorite. As such, we’ve up to date our record of Britain’s long-distance footpaths. Learn on to see what they’ve to supply.

Britain’s finest long-distance footpaths

There isn’t any formal definition of a long-distance footpath. Usually, all over the world, will probably be not less than 50km (30mi) lengthy. Nevertheless, the British Lengthy Distance Walkers Affiliation defines long-distance footpaths as “20 miles [32km] or extra in size and primarily off-road.”

Our collection of Britain’s finest long-distance footpaths drastically exceeds these definitions.

1. Pennine Method

Location: England
Distance: 431km (268mi)
Length: 20-25 days
Begin: Edale, Derbyshire
End: Kirk Yetholm, Scottish Borders

Britain’s oldest path (opened in 1965) traverses a number of the best upland landscapes in England. It’s by far probably the most well-known and some of the in style of Britain’s footpaths.

A close-up of a Pennine Way sign pointed up a mountain in the Yorkshire DalesA close-up of a Pennine Way sign pointed up a mountain in the Yorkshire Dales
Dreamstime The Pennine Method traverses a number of the finest upland landscapes in England

Beginning within the comparatively average hills of the Peak District, the path runs northwards by the Yorkshire Dales, throughout the North Pennines and over Hadrian’s Wall and the Cheviot Hills in Northumberland Nationwide Park.

The route varies from marching alongside clearly outlined paved surfaces to crossing imprecise and persistently moist peat bogs. Moist socks apart, the route showcases the wildest, prettiest and most distant inland surroundings in England.

Extra data: nationaltrail.co.uk

2. West Highland Method

Location: Scotland
Distance: 154km (96mi)
Length: 5-8 days
Begin: Milngavie (Glasgow)
End: Fort William

The Scots name their long-distance footpaths ‘Nice Trails’ – a worthy identify for Britain’s wildest mountain surroundings. Scotland’s first long-distance footpath opened in 1980 and takes in a number of the nation’s most well-known terrain together with Loch Lomond & The Trossachs Nationwide Park, Glen Coe and Rannoch Moor.

Hulking mountains on the west highland way – one of Britain’s best long-distance footpathsHulking mountains on the west highland way – one of Britain’s best long-distance footpaths
Dreamstime The Glen Coe area is a number of the nation’s most well-known terrain

It’s doable to include climbs of Ben Lomond and/or Ben Nevis (the UK’s highest mountain) on the path. Hikers may even name off at a distillery en route – and why not, you’ll have earned it.

Scotland’s oldest long-distance footpath can also be its busiest. It’s used broadly by guests in the course of the extra in style months between April and September so don’t count on to have the path to your self.

Extra data: scotlandsgreattrails.com

3. Wales Coast Path

Location: Wales
Distance: 1,400km (870mi)
Length: 60-80 days
Begin: Chepstow, Monmouthshire
End: Queensferry, Flintshire

Not an official Nationwide Path, however deserving of a spot amongst Britain’s finest long-distance footpaths, the Wales Coast Path incorporates the 299km (186mi) Pembrokeshire Coast Path.

A dramatic coastal scene with steep cliffsA dramatic coastal scene with steep cliffs
Dreamstime The Wales Coast Path incorporates the Pembrokeshire Coast Path

The trail runs by two nationwide parks (Snowdonia and Pembrokeshire Coast), three areas of excellent nationwide magnificence and thru or close to dozens of nature reserves, historic websites and heritage coasts.

Over time, the Wales Coast Path hyperlinks up with Offa’s Dyke Path which loosely follows the Wales-England border basically making a steady footpath virtually encompassing the entire of Wales.

Extra data: walescoastpath.gov.uk

4. Hadrian’s Wall Path

Location: England
Distance: 135km (84mi)
Length: 6-8 days
Begin: Wallsend
End: Bowness-on-Solway 

I’ve accomplished a number of sections of this wonderful coast-to-coast footpath that traces the ultimate ‘frontier of the Roman Empire’ and the UNESCO-listed Hadrian’s Wall. With a excessive level of solely 345m (1,130ft), the surroundings might not be as mountainous as some others on this record, however it’s no much less spectacular.

Looking along Hadrian's Wall – one of Britain’s best long-distance footpathsLooking along Hadrian's Wall – one of Britain’s best long-distance footpaths
Dreamstime Hadrian’s Wall close to Walltown

There’s historical past to be discovered alongside each step of the footpath. The defensive fortification within the Roman province of Britannia signified the northern restrict of the Roman Empire. Building started in 122 AD below the reign of the emperor Hadrian to maintain out the ‘Barbarians’ from the north.

The trail follows Roman settlements and forts throughout England by the least populated elements of England and Wales, usually dipping into historic market cities and sleepy villages.

Extra data: nationaltrail.co.uk

5. Southern Upland Method

Location: Scotland
Distance: 338km (210mi)
Length: 15-20 days
Begin: Portpatrick
End: Cockburnspath

Opened in 1984, the Southern Upland Method was Britain’s first formally recognised coast-to-coast long-distance footpath.

An enormous boulder on the Southern upland way – one of Britain’s best long-distance footpathsAn enormous boulder on the Southern upland way – one of Britain’s best long-distance footpaths
Dreamstime Bruce’s Stone close to Loch on the Trool on the Southern Upland Method

The Southern Upland Method is a difficult, uncompromising and distant footpath that cuts throughout a variety of terrain. It was designed that approach. The footpath curves over the hills, moderately than following the road of least resistance alongside valley flooring.

As such, the sheer vary of surroundings on provide is astounding. Mountains, forests and lengthy stretches of desolate moorland should be negotiated, in addition to a substantial amount of hill climbing and, in the beginning and end, some rugged coastal strolling, making this considered one of Britain’s finest long-distance footpaths. 

Extra data: scotlandsgreattrails.com

6. Cotswold Method

Location: England
Distance: 164km (102mi)
Length: 7-9 days
Begin: Bathtub
End: Chipping Campden

A quintessential English expertise, the Cotswold Method can be a gents’s long-distance footpath, providing an undemanding stroll by the countryside versus a footslog up a boggy path to a windswept summit.

A cotswold way trail sign with a village in the backgroundA cotswold way trail sign with a village in the background
Dreamstime The Cotswold Method is a quintessential English expertise

The route hugs the western border of the Cotswolds Nationwide Panorama alongside what is called the Cotswold Escarpment. En route, idyllic viewpoints, wildflower meadows, picturesque villages and a big variety of historic websites break the path.

Probably the most demanding sections contain negotiating a fiddly lock on a gate, deciding which tearoom to attempt to whether or not to unfold jam or cream onto your scone first.

Extra data: nationaltrail.co.uk 

7. Coast to Coast Stroll

Location: England
Distance: 309km (192mi)
Length: 13-16 days
Begin: St Bees, Cumbria
End: Robin Hood’s Bay, North Yorkshire

I’ve accomplished the Coast to Coast Stroll twice – as soon as in every route. Neither a nationwide path nor a singular footpath, the unofficial however principally signposted Coast to Coast Stroll passes by three of England’s best nationwide parks: Lake District, Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors.

A hiker walks across a filed away from a Coast to coast trail signA hiker walks across a filed away from a Coast to coast trail sign
Dreamstime The Coast to Coast was devised and popularised by Alfred Wainwright

Devised and popularised by Alfred Wainwright who recommends walkers dip their booted toes within the Irish Sea at St Bees and on the finish of the stroll within the North Sea at Robin Hood’s Bay.

Regardless of its unofficial standing, the Coast to Coast Stroll is among the hottest of Britain’s finest long-distance footpaths. In 2004, it was named the second-best stroll on the earth behind solely the Milford Observe in New Zealand. 

Extra data: Go to Cumbria / The Wainwright Society

8. The Nice Glen Method

Location: Scotland
Distance: 125km (78mi)
Length: 5-7 days
Begin: Fort William
End: Inverness

This pleasant Scottish highlands stroll working principally alongside lochs and the Caledonian Canal presents sensational views over Loch Ness and the Nice Glen. The Nice Glen Method runs your entire size of Scotland’s longest glen, largely following the Caledonian Canal.

A hazy scene at Loch Ness on one of Britain’s best long-distance footpathsA hazy scene at Loch Ness on one of Britain’s best long-distance footpaths
Dreamstime The Nice Glen Method presents sensational views over Loch Ness

The path is alongside sturdy, well-defined footpaths and tracks with not a single stile to barter. It’s doable to hike the footpath with no map or guidebook, relying solely on the path’s excellent waymarking as a substitute.

Some of the spectacular sights en route is the superb feat of engineering that’s Neptune’s Staircase. Right here, the canal rises by 19m (62ft) in a sequence of steps unfold over 55m (180ft) of steady masonry, all ignored by the magnificent Ben Nevis. It’s a great place for lunch or to pause and watch a ship journey up or down the loch (when you’ve got round 90 minutes to spare that’s).

Extra data: highland.gov.uk

9. Two Moors Method

Location: England
Distance: 188km (117mi)
Length: 8-10 days
Begin: Wembury
End: Lynmouth

The Two Moors Method is an unofficial path that crosses the excellent moorlands of Dartmoor and Exmoor. It’s a distinct tackle the coast-to-coast expertise with the path crossing from the North Devon to the South Devon coast.

A tor on Dartmoor with grass and cloudy skiesA tor on Dartmoor with grass and cloudy skies
Dreamstime Dartmoor’s moorland is dotted with tors

The unique path went from Ivybridge on the southern boundary of Dartmoor Nationwide Park to Lynmouth. Nevertheless, it was not too long ago prolonged, linking to trails working from Wembury on the South Devon coast.

I’ve all the time loved climbing in Dartmoor Nationwide Park because it’s the one space in England, Wales and Northern Eire the place wild tenting is – for now – formally authorized. Nearly half of the park is moorland and with its considerably barren panorama, it’s straightforward to see why it was the setting for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s traditional crime novel The Hound of the Baskervilles that includes detective Sherlock Holmes.

Exmoor Nationwide Park feels rather less wild. It has related terrain to Dartmoor, however the place Dartmoor is fully inland, Exmoor enjoys the excessive cliffs and rugged shoreline of the Bristol Channel.

Extra data: twomoorsway.org

10. John Muir Method

Location: Scotland
Distance: 215km (134mi)
Length: 10-14 days
Begin: Helensburgh
End: Dunbar

Named in honour of the Scottish-born conservationist, John Muir, who was born in Dunbar in 1838 and went on to develop into a founding father of the US Nationwide Park Service, the John Muir Method crosses the heartland of Scotland.

Blackness Castle reflected in the water along the John Muir WayBlackness Castle reflected in the water along the John Muir Way
Dreamstime The Method was named in honour of the Scottish-born conservationist, John Muir

The route, solely accomplished in 2014, takes in most of the Central Belt of Scotland’s most well-known sights together with Loch Lomond & The Trossachs Nationwide Park, the Roman Antonine Wall, the three Forth bridges and the capital metropolis of Edinburgh.

The path options a variety of terrain and surroundings, from highland tracks within the west, by rolling pastures, canal towpaths, nation parks and copse, to rugged cliffs and seashores on the jap coast.

Extra data: johnmuirway.org

11. South West Coast Path

Location: England
Distance: 1,014km (630mi)
Length: 40-60 days
Begin: Minehead
End: Poole Harbour

The South West Coast Path is at the moment England’s longest climbing path. The full top climbed all through the hike has been calculated as 35,031m (114,931ft), nearly 4 instances the peak of Mount Everest.

A trail sign along the south west coast path – one of Britain’s best long-distance footpathsA trail sign along the south west coast path – one of Britain’s best long-distance footpaths
Dreamstime The South West Coast Path is at the moment England’s longest climbing path

In 2016, I hiked the 135km (84mi) part between Newquay and Penzance and may attest to the difficult and unrelenting elevation modifications alongside cliffs that repeatedly rise and fall for river mouths and inlets.

The path runs from Minehead in Somerset alongside the coasts of Devon and Cornwall to Poole Harbour in Dorset, that means there are many alternatives to pause for a bag of fish and chips or a dip at a number of the finest seashores in England.

Extra data: southwestcoastpath.org.uk

12. King Charles III England Coast Path

Location: England
Distance: 4,345km (2,700mi)
Length: 8-12 months
Begin: Berwick-upon-Tweed
End: Gretna Inexperienced

The King Charles III England Coast Path remains to be a work in progress however will finally observe your entire shoreline of England, making it the longest waymarked coastal route on the earth.

Starting in Berwick-upon-Tweed, the northernmost city in England, the footpath is break up into 5 sections: North East, East, South East, South West and North West.

The sun sets over the sea on a section of the English coast. A trail sign is seen in the foreground.The sun sets over the sea on a section of the English coast. A trail sign is seen in the foreground.
Dreamstime The England Coast Path would be the longest waymarked coastal route on the earth

The primary three sections might be utterly steady, stretching across the English shoreline to the Welsh border. Right here, walkers can be a part of the Wales Coast Path or prepare transport to the ultimate North West part. This part might be indifferent from the remainder of the footpath and run from the Welsh border to the Scottish Border close to Gretna Inexperienced.

The England Coast Path will incorporate most of the present coastal footpaths in England together with a lot of the South West Coast Path, certainly making it considered one of Britain’s finest long-distance footpaths.

Extra data: nationaltrail.co.uk

Extra UK long-distance footpaths


Loved this submit? pin it for later…

Britain's best long-distance footpaths Pinterest pinBritain's best long-distance footpaths Pinterest pin

Lead picture: Dreamstime

Latest Posts

Stay in touch

To be updated with all the latest news, offers and special announcements.