Starting at Berwick-upon-Tweed a hike up the coast up to the English/Scottish border is a must as the beauty of the coastline is just breathtaking with coves, headlands and rocks which look like heads staring out to sea. The walk is generally easy but can be quite steep and dangerous at times because of the path being very close to the cliff edges and sheer climbs. But as long as you take your time and stay vigilant you'll be fine. A pose by the fence marking the border between England and Scotland as well as a photo by the border sign on the East Coast Mainline are both a must. To get to the border sign by the railway follow these directions - once you have got through the turnstile in the fence which has the Welcome to Scotland sign in front of it just turn left and walk across the field and follow the fence up to the stone wall by the railway line and the border sign is opposite to you.
Once you are in Scotland there are clear views down the coastline to St Abbs head. The entire walk from Berwick upon Tweed up to the England/Scotland border takes between one and two hours and clear signposting marks the way along the path so just follow the signs and stick to the path
A walk on the town walls of
Berwick-upon-Tweed provides stupendous views of the North Sea and the coastline south of Berwick as well as of the town itself. There are hidden gems along the route such as the Lion House, watch towers.
Google map: bit.ly/1338TY2
Found down the end of a very bumpy lane and past a small clutch of gorgeous waterfront houses, Roundwood Quay is a little visited spot on the edge of the Carrick Roads. It's perfectly tranquil and the perfect spot to watch boats pass up and down the river, whilst there’s a pebbly, muddy beach for swimming and birdwatching, as well as a formal pathway that trails around the edges of the water and forms part of the Trelissick/Roundwood loop walk.
* Sian is our Been there local for Cornwall. You can check out her page here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/articles/been-there-local-cornwall.jsp and her own blog about Cornish living: www.adventureswiththeblackdog.co.uk/
I caught myself singing out loud as I was walking the coast path between Swanage and Corfe Castle on the first sunny day of spring. The walk is about 10 miles, taking in wild cliffs, rock pools, giant fossils, old quarries, stunning bays and finally the lush Dorset countryside, with rewarding views of the mysterious castle ruins at the end. Put up your feet at the Greyhound Inn, which does a good pint and meal. Returning to Swanage by steam train makes for a perfect end of the trip.
From Buttermere to the Kirkstile Inn return, around Crummock Water.
This will take you about five hours including an hour’s stop for lunch at the Inn.
Begin in the small village of Buttermere, following the path to Crummock Water. This skirts the lake on its western shore. The path is clear and hugs the water’s edge.
Spring is coming, heralded at last by the sound of water as the frozen waterfalls melt, there is the gold of gorse, birds nesting and the bleat of lambs.
We recite lines from Innesfree:
‘I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore’ and sing snatches of song as our spirits soar as we tramp along.
Mellbreak soon flanks us as we tramp the mile or so along the path to Dropping Crag’s sheer face, on to High park and then by road to the Kirkstile Inn.
I sampled delicious home made bread and soup and a wonderful plum and cinnamon crumble washed down with half of the local ale before setting off to Lanthwaite wood.
This takes us back towards the lake and her Eastern margins. A path again follows the water’s edge, light glittering on rock and water, milder air.
The last bit is along the road into Buttermere but can be avoided with some careful map reading.
The Sky Tea Rooms are still open for home made ice cream or cream tea to round off a perfect day out.
Stairway to Heaven is good mood music for a romantic journey to Castell y Bere - a cottage not far away was where Led Zeppelin started writing the song. The castle stands proud on a rock outcrop in the gorgeously peaceful and very remote Dysynni Valley. Visitors are infrequent - climb a wooden stairway and you may be alone to tour the extensive home of Llewellyn, the last prince of independent Wales, and Lady Eleanor, first Princess of Wales.
Once there, nearby for experienced walkers, is the start of the easiest route to ascend the 2930ft of Cadair Idris. Or the tiny chapel houses a scale model of the Dysynni Valley and the castle, and, from earlier times, has the poignant reminder of a leper hole. The small village, Llanfihangel-y-Pennant, was also made famous by the Bible Society as the place from where, in 1800, 15 year-old Mary Jones walked 25 miles barefoot to buy a bible.
To find it, head first for Machynlleth (‘Mach’ has a train station), pausing for sustenance perhaps, and check out the blue plaque marking the site of Laura Ashley’s first shop. Bron-yr-Aur, an unremarkable cottage unless you’re a Zeppelin fan, is up on the hillside (out of sight) as you head off towards Abergynolyn. The iconic Centre for Alternative Technology is a little further on. Satnavs or apps are said to function only erratically or not at all in the hills so a map is recommended to find Castell y Bere along a winding and narrow road.
Stay for a few nights in a camping cabin at the Old Oaks Touring Park, stocking up on very local farm produce, home-baked cakes and cider at the friendly site shop. Check the weather forecast using your free WIFI, and then get up in the early hours of the morning ready for an adventure... Walk past Gog and Magog (two thousand-year-old oaks) up the tiny tree-shrouded lane from the site that climbs towards Glastonbury Tor, and then follow the spiralling path worn by countless millions of feet through the ages up the famous hill. The Somerset Levels are laid out before you as the sun climbs over the horizon, wreathed in spring mist and the fire of a new day. This is how I asked my fiancé to marry me, and it is a sunrise that should be on everyone's bucket list for the UK!
As I've written before, Pennard is a beautiful, calm and year-round treasure for this little part of Wales. Situated not far from Gower Golf Course, the stroll from the castle to Three Cliffs Bay is perfect for couples, families, dog-walkers and ramblers. During the day it's a hot surf spot and in the evenings in BBQ heaven. Known to the Sandy Lane locals as 'Tub', Three Cliffs Bay is a popular landmark on Gower for geologists and geographers alike, with it's twisting headland and arches set to inspire the children that visit. I know it inspired me to pursue my career in geography. I cant wait to go back this spring when my exams are over so I can pick wild raspberries and explore this gorgeous little part of the world.
Tbe meadows and woods around Kempley and Dymock offer spring country walks among wild daffodils. The most prolific meadows and woods in the UK displaying carpets of wild daffodils are accessed in a series of circular and waymarked walks that make up the Daffodil Way. All walks are easy and cross ancient woods and farmland where historic churches and old orchards with rare varieties of apple and pear are also home to the wild daffodil. Cultural interest along the walks include a church with 10th and 12th century frescoes and wall paintings and another decorated and furnished with works of the arts and crafts movement. April is the best time to visit the daffodils when local guides and excellent teas are offered in village church halls at weekends.
Location:On the border of Herefordshire and Gloucestershire. Best approached by car via Ledbury or Newent to reach the villages of Kempley and Dymock ,or from exit 3 of the M50. Parking available in Queens Wood near Kempley Green, or carefully, where convenient , around the various woods, farms, and villages.
Google map: bit.ly/YHLLAq
Set off from the top of the Dale on the A623 near Wardlow. For the first mile or so, the valley sides are carpeted with cowslips and early purple orchids. Easy stroll for all ages and abilities but can be extended into a circular walk through Miller's Dale, Tideswell Dale and Litton.
Wardlow Mires on A623
Google map: bit.ly/ZejuhA
From the main car park there are a variety of routes that take in paths through woodland, moorland along with the banks of reservoirs and streams. The simplest is a circuit of Jumbles Reservoir (just under two miles). But this can be extended to a route which leads up to the B6391 and then passes Turton Tower (a listed building dating back to the 1400s – open to the public). The track continues round moorland moorland and drops down to Turton and Entwistle Reservoir, which you can walk round, or just cross the dam and walk up to the railway hamlet of Entwistle. From here it’s a short walk through woodland to Wayoh Reservoir. The path then leads to Edgworth from where it’s a stroll along the road through Turton Bottoms and then a woodland track back to Jumbles Reservoir.
Refreshments are available from a kiosk by the car park, from Turton Tower (during opening days) and from pubs at Entwsitle and Edgworth.
Perched on the Worcestershire/Shropshire border, less than an hour from central Birmingham, is the Wyre Forest. One of England's largest remaining ancient woodlands, it's beautiful in spring with bluebells, daffodils and celandines in the clearings and the smell of wild garlic wafting in the air. There are trails for all abilities leading you through the bright oak forest. If you're lucky you'll catch a glimpse of fallow deer or kingfishers along the brook. If you want something more adrenalin-packed than walking or mountain biking through the forest, there is always 'Go Ape'. And round it all off with a cuppa and slab of cake on the sofas by the fire in the Forest Cafe.
Callow Hill, Bewdley, Worcestershire, DY14 9XQ
Google map: bit.ly/12y2Wrk
Three miles west of Bewdley on the A456. Follow brown Forestry Commission signs from Kidderminster, to arrive at the Visitor Centre.
Parking charge: £3 for all day.
The nearest train station is Kidderminster. Bus routes 192/292 operate between Birmingham and Ludlow.
Farndale, in the heart of the North York Moors National Park, is famed for its wonderful daffodils, believed to have been first planted there by medieval monks from Rievaulx. The carpet of spring flowers attracts some 40,000 visitors annually, but this year they are late to bloom, and won’t be at their peak until the middle of April. The Daffodil Walk runs alongside the River Dove for around 2 1/2 kms, and refreshments can be found the Daffy Caffy, or at the Feversham Arms at Church Houses, which does a marvellous Sunday lunch.
England's oldest road, the Ridgeway track descends from the Chilterns to the Thames Valley, skirting Salisbury Plain and following downlands towards Avebury. It is easily walked in day sections, my favourite starting just past Wendover,where I can shoulder my pack and stride up into the beech woods at Coombe Hill, following the undulating hills and valleys to Princess Risborough, before striking out across fields and then following the downland marked by their distinctive chalk carvings, the Whiteleaf and Bledlow Crosses and the white triangle south of Watlington cut at the orders of the vicar to cover the ignomy of the lack of spire on his church.
This is my favourite day on the Ridgeway, as I feast on my packed lunch overlooking Chequers, and end the day walking down into the evening welcome of the lights of Watlington.
A very English spring walk in which a flock of lapwings can wheel above the downland and the sound of woodpeckers drumming can echo through the woodland. Pure joy that could be the same as that experienced by the young Rupert Brooke, striding out in search of laughter and inn fires 'as a free man may do.'
Richmond Park, the biggest Royal Park in London, is loved and visited by many. Keen walkers can attempt the eight mile round trip while families can follow the less challenging walking trails leading to Pen Ponds.
Isabella Plantation is my favourite place for a stroll particularly in the spring when its azaleas, camellias and rhododendrons are in full bloom. Viewing St Paul’s Cathedral through a telescope located at the top of King Henry’s Mound near Pembroke Lodge is also a must.
We - my wife and I and our then 15-year-old youngest daughter - were walking Hadrian's Wall a few years ago, with pre-booked accommodation. The rain set in as we left Birdoswald Roman fort; we crossed the River Irthing on a new bridge and walked alongside the ancient Roman bridge; and there, built in the remains of a milecastle, was our next bed for the night: Willowford Farm, run by a couple from Manchester, Liam and Lauren, who breed sheep. Our rooms, with a view over the farmyard, had footbaths - very welcome after a long day's walk - and their home cooked evening meal, for meat-eaters and vegetarians, was superb: they're part of a consortium of farmers who produce locally sourced food. The next morning, as we put our damp boots on for the next bit of the walk, we were entertained by Milly the dog in the farmyard. Willowford had the best food and the nicest people of our whole walk along Hadrian's Wall.
You don't need a car to get to this lovely Chilterns walk as it follows the old drovers trails as they moved livestock along ancient sunken lanes that criss-cross the area.
Starting from Tring station, you have a choice of a four or six mile circular route through an area that supports an amazing diversity of birdlife; red kites, goldcrest and the lesser-spotted woodpecker. Wild fallow deer are a common sight too, badgers and the rarely found dormouse. But spring brings out the beautiful bluebells that can be enjoyed in the Ashridge Woodland, a National Trust estate.
Refreshments aplenty along the route at Ashridge and Aldbury.
Tring station on the London Midland line from Birmingham and London Euston.
The Chilterns nr Ivinghoe Beacon
Google map: bit.ly/11b7JNX
I rediscovered this spot throughout my summer. I moved into Sandy Lane on Gower and inherited a dog named Sput, which needed walking every day. His favourite spot was the ten minute stretch from the Lane to the castle overlooking Three Cliffs Bay or 'Tub' as it's known to the locals. Every sunny evening we'd walk the stretch so Sput could chase rabbits and bounce around in the sand below the castle. It has the most beautiful views and rekindled my love with my country. There are very few places in the world that can make me feel so peaceful and perfectly happy. Even in the pouring rain, there is something mystical about this point that will stay with me forever.
2 Southgate Road Swansea, Southgate, Swansea, West Glamorgan SA3 2BT
Google map: bit.ly/W17ihO
They do many events throughout the year and most people would say go in autumn when the leaves are changing colour. I suggest go in winter as they do an Enchanted Christmas walk through a mile of trees illuminated in the winter night sky. A fantastic time to walk the grounds wrapped up warm with your family and dogs. An absolute must.
From small formal gardens, the architectural structure and arts and crafts style of Jekyll and Lutyens, to a Victorian terrace and shrubbery, to my favourite, the landscaped Georgian gardens which take up a small valley, there is something for everyone at Hestercombe.
I love a good stomp and the valley walk through woods, up hill and down dale is fabulous and so many of the follies are a delight to stumble across: the Mausoleum, all Gothic Hobbity; the Witch House's coppice-woven-comfort; the Temple Arbour, Tuscan Doric style, which is positioned to turn your back on and stare breathless at the stunning view. The cascade where nature's power crashes through the woods and knocks the stuffing out of me.
And if all that isn't enough, there is a watermill and a gallery to leave the indoory types happily indoors or sometimes I just have lunch in the restaurant - which is literally in the stables - and plan my next route around the grounds.
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