Top 10 Winter Walks In The UK
Winter is the ideal time to explore a new part of the UK. With a light frosting settled on the branches of trees, the view from a walker’s perspective is picturesque, almost like a scene from a Christmas card. What’s more, walking is completely free, so you don’t have to worry about having enough money on your person, or the state of your bank balance.
You should however always research the walk you’re intending to go on, prior to setting off. It is wise to take into account your personal ability and fitness level to ensure that you can fully manage the walk. If you’re looking to try a new walk this winter, read on for our top 10 winter walks in the UK.
Festival of Winter Walks
If you’re up for meeting new people and would prefer to go on an organised walk, why not take advantage of this year’s Festival of Winter Walks. It is held from 21 December 2013 through to 5 January 2014, and run by ramblers.org.uk. It’s a great opportunity to admire some beautiful scenery, have a chat with some new faces, and get your New Year’s resolutions off to a good start.
All of the Ramblers led walks are free and take place in various towns around the country between the above dates. The best part is that there are plenty of varied length walks so you can choose the best one for your ability. Here’s one that we found that would be ideal for any guests staying at our Holme Lacy House country hotel in Herefordshire.
1. Thursday Morning “Walk and Talk”, Hereford
Taking place on Thursday 2nd January 2014 at 10:30am, this leisurely four mile walk starts from the RNC reception on Venn’s Lane, Hereford. There are a few stiles and a couple of small inclines along the way, but mainly the walk follows lanes and footpaths. If you require more information or you’re running late on the day of the walk, you can contact Arthur of the Hereford Ramblers on 01432 264 374.
Of course, you don’t have to choose an organised walk. You may be just as happy to set off on your own or with a partner or friend. That way, you can set the pace and you’re fully in charge of the stopping points, which is handy if there’s a local pub to stop for a rest and some refreshments.
Celebrity winter walks
Here are two winter walks that are favoured by celebrities Dame Judi Dench and Adrian Chiles. Let’s see what makes these walks so great.
2. Adrian Chiles – Uffmoor Wood, Worcestershire
Adrian says: “Take Uffmoor Wood, near Halesowen. It’s a real green oasis, being so close to such a massive urban population, and it’s perfect for walking off your Christmas dinner too!”
A gentle stroll among the interesting and varied woodland of Uffmoor Wood is a great way to while away a few relaxing hours. And think of the health benefits too!
3. Dame Judi Dench – Hackfall, North Yorkshire
The Woodland Trust took over this site during the 1980s and managed to restore it into the pleasant woodland it is today. This is the perfect walk for those interested in spotting wildlife. And if you’re a guest at the Warner Leisure Hotels Nidd Hall, North Yorkshire, this winter walk is only a 30 minute drive away, making it a great day out.
Judi says: “The ancient woodland site is still dominated by oak with beech, sycamore, ash and even lime originating from the 18th century. Hackfall teems with wildlife and sustains a thriving range of wild plant communities.”
To discover more UK winter walks favoured by celebrities, head to visitwoods.org.uk.
4. Gordale Scar & Malham Cove, Yorkshire Dales
Continuing with the Yorkshire theme, the Gordale Scar & Malham Cove walk is ideal for those looking for peace and tranquillity. A bit longer than the rest, with a total distance of 7.2 miles (11.6km), it’ll take you around three hours to complete. There are car parks near the start of the walk, so accessibility shouldn’t cause any problems.
Starting in Malham village, this moderate walk is a circular course that provides some of the most spectacular limestone scenery in the whole of the Yorkshire Dales. You’ll pass popular tourist spots such as Janet’s Foss Waterfall, Gordale Scar, Malham Tarn and the limestone scar at Malham Cove. Be sure to take extra care over the limestone as it may be slippery. Once you’ve completed the walk, you’ll find plenty of eateries in Malham.
Coastal winter walks
Nothing beats the feel of the breezy wind in your hair. One benefit of walking along the coast is the truly stunning scenery, from the crashing waves of the sea to the jagged rock face of the cliffs. Here are four of our favourite coastal winter walks.
5. Breezy Bembridge, Isle of Wight
The Warner Leisure Hotels Isle of Wight based coastal hotel Bembridge Coast provides a great base for walkers. If you’d like to see more of the surrounding island, take the AA recommended Breezy Bembridge walk. Stroll along the coastal path to Culver Cliff, home to the only windmill on the island. This medium level walk should take you just short of three hours to complete and crosses a mixture of coastal and field paths, as well as three stiles and some pebbly beach. Full directions for the walk can be found here.
6. Sir John Betjeman Walk, Rock, Cornwall
Great for history buffs, the Sir John Betjeman Walk spans a gentle 3.7 miles. You’ll wind your way through the sand dunes until you arrive at St Enodoc Church. At Brea Hill you’ll find the remains of an ancient Roman encampment and burial mounds dating back to the Bronze Age.
7. Miles of shingle, Suffolk
You’ll find your pick of coastal walks to choose from on the coast of Suffolk. If you head to Walberswick, a small Georgian village, you’ll come across The Anchor pub. Stop here and you’ll find that delicious refreshments, along with idyllic birdwatching perches are on the menu. If you’re a guest in one of our two Suffolk based coastal villages, getting out and about to explore the delights of the county is easy – and if you’re a fan of walking, you’ll be spoiled for choice.
8. Hayling Island walks, Hampshire
If you’re considering a stay at our stunning Lakeside coastal village in Hampshire this winter, you’ll find many a winter walk right on your doorstep. The Hayling Billy Trail begins at the old railway station in West Town. Follow the path, overlooking Langstone Harbour, and cross the bridge to discover the old shiplap building, the former home of the gatekeeper. Walk along the cutting until you reach the old town hall. But don’t worry; if you’re feeling tired after this walk – head back to Lakeside, settle back, relax and enjoy our evening entertainment.
Away from the coast
Of course, you don’t have to go to the coast to find a great winter walk. There are many beautiful scenic routes to choose from away from the coast too.
9. Thetford Forest, Norfolk
Thetford Forest is one of the largest pine forests of the country. With many different paths to choose from, you’ll be able to tailor your forest walk to suit your needs. You’ll encounter many different species of wildlife along the way. Visiting the forest in winter however adds a truly magical Narnia-esque touch. Don’t forget to take your camera.
10. Bradford on Avon to Bath Canal Walk, Somerset
This nine mile walk is the longest of our top 10 winter walks. It is however very gentle with some great sights to see along the way. You’ll meander along the Avon Valley, crossing the river twice during the walk. Look out for the many colourful narrowboats along the way. The end of the walk brings you to the heart of Bath, ideal if you’re looking to grab a quick bite to eat or do a spot of shopping before heading back.
As you can see, finding a winter walk is easy, no matter where in the UK you’re based. If you’re a guest at one of our 13 hotels and coastal villages, you may also be interested in taking part in our daily Walk a Mile with Warner activity. Each day we take a mile-long ramble around the stunning grounds of our properties – ideal if you fancy a short walk to set you up for the day.