Like all of us, you have probably been recently dreaming of a great day out, getting back on the trails, and feeling the air fill your lungs. This year creates a great opportunity to (re)discover hiking trails closer to home.
Here are five beautiful trails that will definitely bring you a lot of joy and adventures. So get ready to explore the hidden treasures of the UK!
1. Cader Idris, Snowdonia
Cader Idris (the Chair of Idris) is not the tallest point in Wales standing at 2,930 ft, but is definitely one of the most spectacular places in this country. The two tracks to the summit give hikers a good choice, depending on their experience. Both are about 5 hours long and about 6 miles (10km) up and down.
The Minffordd Path starts in Minffordd (on A470 then A487 on the road from Bangor to Swansea through Snowdonia). The climb is varied and passes a lake before reaching the summit. You can make it a loop heading North-East on the way down.
On the other hand, the Pony Track is much more relaxed and starts from the Ty Nant. It is slightly longer but kinder on the legs.
2. Thor’s Cave and The Manifold Valley hike (Peak District)
This place is quite a gem because few hikes anywhere in the world take you underground. It is located in the south of the Peak District National Park. You will need to reach Wetton, from Buxton or Leek.
The path to the cave takes you along Manifold Way, an easy track which used to be a railway. Remember to take a pair of shoes with a good grip, especially if there is a risk of rain, as stones get slippery. A beautiful and wide arch opens into a prehistoric cave. The round trip through Grindon (about 7 miles) will take you back to the Royal Oak Pub. Do pack some lunch for a stop on the way as it is a medium difficulty hike.
3. Stonehenge from Amesbury/Salisbury
This hike will be a treat for any history buff. The Stonehenge Trail is extremely popular and in fact rather crowded by hiking standards. In order to get there, reach Salisbury either following the M3 from Basingstoke or A36 from Southampton.
In general, it’s a peaceful and easy 8 mile (12 km) hike, and its highlight is of course the visit to Stonehenge. The stones are cordoned off so you can enjoy them fully.
If you are with children the walk from Amesbury to Stonehenge is only 3.5 miles long (5 km) and does not require any kind of preparation or clothing. Therefore, it’s an ideal place for a family hike!
4. Malham Cove (Yorkshire)
Malham Cove is a spectacular spot on a short and leisurely 4 mile (about 6.5 km) hike in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. In order to reach Malham, the best option is to enter the Park from A65 at Gargrave (near Skipton), whether you are driving from Leeds or Manchester.
The short but entertaining trail goes through a small waterfall and an impressive canyon. The grand final is the cave at the end of the trail. It is a curved limestone formation, with a height of 260 ft (80m). You could see it in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part 1). Interesting fact: at the end of the last ice age, a waterfall graced this lovely cave, but sadly, it is no longer the case.
The limestone cliff contains a complex system of caves and tunnels, which are filled with water, and therefore, have not yet been fully explored. The cliff is a very popular spot for rock climbing, but you can actually reach the top through stone steps on the west side of the face.
5. South Downs Way (South)
If you live in London, visiting the southern coast of England is a fantastic idea for a weekend get-away. Start from Winchester, but while this hike would take you more than a week as a whole, it can be conveniently broken into smaller hikes. Ideal for a weekend break or even a day trip. Additionally, South Down Way is a perfect biking route, so if you love cycling, do not forget to take your bike with you!
The South Downs National Park extends from Southampton to Eastbourne and follows an easy road on the coast. The green land, white cliffs, and (hopefully) blue sky, form a harmony of colours like no other, especially in locations such as the Seven Sisters.
Hopefully this list will inspire you to leave your house and go for a hike!