Hiking in the UK can be a rewarding, exciting activity for people of all ages and levels of experience, so Mountain Warehouse has compiled a list of the top ten hikes to be found in diverse areas of the country, for your walking pleasure! Wholesome, exciting and often visually stunning – hiking is like a trip to the cinema without the £10 price tag and the pic ’n’ mix (unless you pack some in your rucksack!) Craggy cliffs and voluptuous vistas, wonderful woods and glorious glades; explore the world and she will welcome you with open arms. Hiking has a multitude of benefits; both emotionally cleansing and physically rewarding, it releases precious endorphins while you drink in all the scenic splendour Mother Nature has to offer. Walk, trek, climb, stroll or stride – it doesn’t matter what you call it, as long as you’re doing it!
The Pen-y-Ghent – Wales
If you love to hike, but secretly fancy yourself as a bit of a climber, get up close and personal with the Pen-y-Ghent. Prepare yourself for an exhausting climb, but be rewarded by a fantastic view and an exhilarating descent. At the bottom you’ll find a gaping hole that extends two hundred feet down into an underground river. You’ll need some serious mountain wear for this mini-mission, so make sure you come prepared with quality hiking boots and durable, waterproof clothing.
Glastonbury – Short Hike
Do you dream of wizardry and magic, King Arthur and dangerous quests? If so, Glastonbury might be your chalice of mead. Not just the home of loud guitars and hippies, Glastonbury is actually one of the most mystical places in England, with holy wells and crumbling towers steeping the landscape in history. Start at the Chalice Well, and take the path to the top of Glastonbury Tor and its medieval tower. Once upon a time, the Tor was an island in the lakes of the Somerset levels, and on a particularly foggy day it’s one of the most isolated (and magical!) places in England.
Striding Edge – Lake District
Like a little terror with your trekking? Striding Edge is a notoriously precarious walk, and only for the hardiest of hearts (and most dedicated of mountain lions). This is a winding, narrow path that leads up from Red Tarn to the summit of Helvellyn, in the Lake District. Make sure you pack hiking boots with plenty of grip, because this is one precipice you don’t want to slip into!
Coast to Coast walk – Lake District to Robin Hoods Bay
England's classic "Coast-to-Coast" walk is thought of by some as one of the top ten hikes in the world. It traverses a long distance, from the Irish Sea to the North Sea, snaking through three national parks: the mountainous Lake District; the Yorkshire Dales; and the bleakly beautiful plains of the North Yorkshire Moors. Make sure you fill your rucksack with goodies if you’re going for the long haul, because those soaring skies won’t look so delicious on an empty stomach.
South West Coast Path – Somerset to Dorset
Got stamina? Take it in chunks or attempt the whole thing. The longest of the long England hikes has got to be the South-West Coast Path – at 630 miles. It will send you soaring to the heavens then plunging to sea level in the blink of an eye. You can also expect sleepy fishing towns, bleak, antiquated landscapes and sandy beaches with dramatic waves. On a trek of this magnitude, nothing much matters apart from being warm and dry, so make sure you pack base layers, hiking boots and waterproof clothing for comfort on the run.
Hadrian’s Wall – Solwat Firth to Tyne River
Built in 122AD to mark the northernmost outpost of the Roman Empire, Hadrian’s Wall provides a historically rich spine from which numerous different routes begin. Both scenically stimulating and an authentically educational experience, choose your route and go accompanied by one of the most impressive examples of ancient engineering known to the modern world.
Ben Nevis – Fort William, Scotland.
The hike up to the UK’s highest mountain is perhaps one for more experienced hikers, as it is not without its dangers. The summit is 1,344m up, so leave plenty of time for your ascent. The panoramic splendour of the view at the top is worth every trudging footprint. This is the kind of trek outdoor clothing was made for, so prepare yourself with warm hiking gear and efficient equipment and you can’t go wrong!
Malvern Hills – Worcestershire, Herefordshire
A miniature mountain range, these hills contain some of the oldest rocks in Britain at 650 million years old. Prehistoric, challenging and steeped in history – what’s not to love? If you want to experience the thrill of mountain climbing without the terrifying altitude, the Malvern Hills is the place for you, so stuff your rucksack, pull on your hiking boots and enjoy the delights of life at the top!
White cliffs of Dover – Dover
Discover the world famous white cliffs with this steep and dramatic walk along the legendary coastal path that offers unparalleled views of the English Channel and France. Other sights include the crumbling remains of a military prison and an abundance of rare plants and wildlife. Visually spectacular and legendary the world over, the White Cliffs will not disappoint even the most well travelled hiking aficionado.
Brecon Beacons – Wales
This rocky – and sometimes treacherous – walk through Llangenny and Pen Twyn leads to the 600m high Sugar Loaf, one of the most popular landmarks in Wales. Its highest point is a winding ridge that offers great views of the Bristol Channel and the Malvern Hills. It can be dangerous, but as long as you come prepared with great quality outdoor clothing and equipment, hiking at the Brecon Beacons should be a breeze.