With a crisp freshness in the air and a much-changed landscape from the riot of colour in autumn, a winter walk in the United Kingdom offers its own unique pleasures. Below are some of the best places to enjoy them.
Rhossili Downs This stretch of coastline near Swansea is one of Wales’ best. Much of the area is owned by the National Trust so it is unspoiled countryside and features Bronze Age relics. You can choose to walk along the downs from Hillend Burrows to Kitchen Corner, or, if the wind is a little brisk, down along the beach. Go on to Worm’s Head, a promontory sticking out into the sea.
The heathland and woods of the New Forest make for a lovely winter walk, the trees providing shelter from any wind. A woodland area is transformed into a wonderland by snowfall and the New Forest is one of England’s most pristine. It may also make see the fabled deer just that little bit easier. There are villages with guest houses and hotels in the New Forest National Park, so you could take a break and enjoy several days of walking.
The Weald Kent is often referred to as the garden of England and this walk allows you to experience it during its fallow period. A circular route from the village of Sutton Vallance, the walk wends through vineyards, hops and orchards, as well as past ancient Norman monuments.
In the Highlands of Scotland, a dusting of snow adds a pleasingly mysterious aspect to the landscape. This walk in Perthshire combines it with history, following in the footsteps of Scottish folk hero Rob Roy. With lochs, glens, hills and Rob Roy’s cottage, it is a great walk in any season, but particularly in the winter.
In Worcestershire, these undulating hills are thought to contain some of the oldest rock in the UK. The climb to the top of the ridge will certainly keep you warm, while the views over a snow covered rural landscape below will delight any walker.
Dorset’s Jurassic coast attracts walkers from all over the country. It steep cliffs and shingle beaches are spectacular. In winter the stark beauty of the landscape comes into its own, and the rolling waves of the sea add to its charm. Start at West Bay and walk east as far as you fell like then return along the cliff tops.
In Lancashire’s Ribble Valley, this 5 mile stroll is inspired by JRR Tolkien’s ‘Lord of the Rings’. Tolkien spent a lot of time in the valley and the walk takes you through woodland, along streams and through tiny villages. You could imagine you are strolling through The Shire.
Start at the weir in Lechlade and walk up the river Thames. Bordered by farmland and woods, this stretch of the river winds through the landscape and takes in World War II pillboxes and locks via which narrow boats rise up the river.
Take in the Georgian mansions bordering this royal park and try to spot some of the more than 600 deer that roam within it.
This Kentish village provides and easy way to escape the metropolis of London without having to travel too far. It was where Charles Darwin lived for much of his life and the surrounding countryside would have certainly delighted the naturalist, with winding country lanes and Cuckoo Wood.
Post by Hugo Riddle, from lastminutehotels.com. Hugo usually writes about travel destinations around the world, especially travel guides about the United Kingdom.
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