Seven beautiful UK walks for the Easter weekend

Seven beautiful UK walks for the Easter weekend

Daniela Soave celebrates the season with our pick of UK walks with charming highlights along each route.

Daniela Soave celebrates the season with our pick of UK walks with charming highlights along each route.

Once spring has firmly arrived, there’s nothing I like more than looking forward to a good walk somewhere new.

I’m not talking about a Fitbit march, but a leisurely, interesting journey that takes me out of myself. Sometimes I make a weekend of it, staying in a B&B or pub with rooms. I’ve even been known to camp!

It’s also such a good way to catch up with friends and family. What’s not to like? Fresh air, friends, exercise and food – making it the perfect way to spend the long Easter weekend. Happy walking!

The South Downs, Sussex

Britain’s newest national park, which stretches from Winchester in the West to Beachy Head in the East, is home to 2000-year-old woodlands, rolling hills, sites of ancient pathways and Roman villas, as well as breath-taking coastal walks.

I’ve chosen the Firle Estate in Sussex. There are several scenic hiking paths to the top of Firle Beacon, with its wonderful far-reaching views to the sea. Visit Charleston Farmhouse, home of the Bloomsbury Group; Firle Place Herb Garden; and Middle Farm, a working farm open to the public. Enjoy local produce at its tearoom or call in at The Ram, an ancient village inn oozing rustic chic, delicious food and Sussex ale.

Northumberland Coast Path

An area of outstanding natural beauty, the Coast Path is split into six manageable walks, passing by sandy beaches, ancient castles, fishing villages and dramatic cliffs. The leg from Seahouses to Craster takes you south along craggy cliffs towards Dunstanburgh Castle, one of the most photographed ruins in the country (and, according to legend, still haunted by the ghost of a 16th-century knight). This stretch of the path is also a haven for seabirds, wildfowl and shorebirds. In Craster, quench your thirst at The Jolly Fisherman Inn and enjoy stunning sea views sitting above the harbour, while you tuck into fresh seafood and local venison.

Brecon Beacons, Wales

One of only seven Dark Sky Reserves in the world, this is a stargazer’s delight. During the day it’s pretty wondrous, too, with its green, open spaces, lakes, forests, deep gorges and the ancient earthen border between England and Wales, created by King Offa in the eighth century.

In fact, history lovers are spoilt for choice, whether it’s the aforementioned Offa’s Dyke, the Garn Goch Iron Age Hillfort, ancient standing stones a-plenty (there are more than 30 different sites) or walking in the footsteps of the Roman Marching Trails.

Nearby Hay-On-Wye is worth a visit, with the Wye Valley Trail and Offa’s Dyke Path passing through this pretty town. The Griffin, in the nearby village of Felin Fach, is a fine place to rest your legs, offering comfy sofas and a mouth-watering menu that is keenly priced.

Loch Lomond and The Trossachs, Scotland

Split into four distinct areas, you’ll find mountains and glens, mirror-like lochs, woodlands, wetlands and waterfalls within an area covering 720 square miles. If you’re lucky you might spot golden eagles, ospreys, otters, red squirrels, pine marten and deer. No surprise, then, that this is the UK’s largest National Nature Reserve, The Great Trossachs Forest.

There’s a Woodland Trust visitor gateway centre with convenient car park just outside Brig o’ Turk, where you’ll find leaflets with colour-coded walks. The Brig o’ Turk Loop walk is a gentle stroll that should take a couple of hours through oaks, birchwood, Scots pine, willow, alder and rowan, with beautiful views towards Ben Venue above Loch Katrine. After your walk, head to The Byre Inn at Brig o’ Turk, which specialises in locally sourced fish and game, and microbrewery ales.

Exmoor, Somerset

Fifty-one miles of trail from Lymouth on the coast, across moor, heathland, hillside and pastureland towards Nether Stowey, the Coleridge Way is as romantic and rugged as the poet who inspired it. Most of the walks are five miles on average and easy to moderate, apart from one challenging ascent from Oare to Watersmeet.

North Exmoor is a Site of Special Scientific Interest for its lowland heath and bogland, wood lichens, very rare butterflies and breeding bird communities. There’s a lovely sign-posted walk from Cutcombe to Luxborough, not quite five miles.

Points of interest include a stained glass window at Wheddon Cross depicting a line from Coleridge’s poem ‘Frost At Midnight’, and an ancient Bronze Age barrow on the summit of Lype Hill. Reward yourself with lunch at the Royal Oak Inn at Luxborough, a haven for walkers and dogs. Flagstone floors, oak beams, even a record player and vinyl should you wish.

The Lake District, Cumbria

Fields, fells, woodland, lakes and mountains – no wonder Beatrix Potter fell in love with the Lake District. Almost equidistant between Coniston Water and Lake Windemere is Grizedale Forest, home since 1977 to an exceptional sculpture trail by some of the leading names in contemporary art. So a chance to enjoy scenery, fresh air, nature and culture!

There are many sign-posted walks through the forest, ranging from moderate to hard; provision has been made on some walks for pushchairs and wheelchairs. The Bogle Crag Trail will take between one-and-a-half and two hours depending on your route. Nearby in Sattertwhaite, The Eagle’s Head is proud of its honest pub food. Hand-made pies are a speciality, filled with local produce such as wild game, chicken and steak, but you’ll also find light lunches.

North Down Coastal Path, County Down, Northern Ireland

Just a stone’s throw from Belfast, this nine-mile moderate walk starts at Holywood Station and ends in Bangor four hours later. You’ll walk past seafronts and yacht clubs, woodlands and beaches, coves and marinas. There’s time to watch sea birds on coastal shelves, revisit history at Grey Point where defensive guns were trained across the water during two World Wars, and to admire the beach at Helen’s Bay and the wider expanses of Crawfordsburn Beach.

When you reach Bangor, your reward is waiting: a view overlooking the marina, Belfast Lough, the Irish Sea and, on a clear day, Scotland. Here you’ll find the Salty Dog Hotel and Bistro, two Victorian townhouses that have been converted into a very chic yet friendly hotel. Time to tuck in and relax.

The walks I’ve chosen are all rural, but urban walks are also fun. If you’re looking for more inspiration, check out websites such as The Ramblers  and The National Trail.

Where’s your favourite walking route? We’d love to hear about it in the comments section below.

 

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