Ten long-distance trails to try after lockdown
- Friday 26 March 2021
As we look forward to a summer when lockdown restrictions may be eased, and the possibility of planning a holiday, Big Trails: Great Britain and Ireland Volume Two is the perfect book if you want to plan a summer’s hiking or running adventure, close to home. While it contains several popular, iconic trails – such as the Beacons Way, the Cumbria Way, the Dingle Way and the Southern Upland Way – it also describes several undiscovered gems, great if you want to escape the crowds. Here are ten trails that you may not have heard of.
Best Seaside Trip – Channel Island Way
The 165-kilometre Channel Island Way winds its way around five of the Channel Islands – Jersey, Guernsey, Sark, Alderney and the car-free Herm. You can enjoy the islands’ unique culture, tall towers, military history and, of course, delicious Jersey ice-cream on beautiful beaches.
Sedbusk High Pasture above Sedbusk in Wensleydale - Lady Anne's Way. © John Coefield.
Lakes and Dales Alternative – Lady Anne’s Way
If every bed and breakfast on the Dales Way is booked up through to 2025, why not explore away from the tourist honeypots and hike the 154-kilometre Lady Anne’s Way? It follows in the footsteps of the intelligent and independent Lady Anne Clifford – starting in the charming market town of Skipton, it meanders over the Dales, visiting Lady Anne’s castles, and finishes in Cumbria’s verdant Eden Valley.
Great Long Weekend – Burren Way
On Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Coast, the Burren Way packs a whole lot of scenery into just eighty kilometres. Starting at Lahinch, you walk the length of one of Ireland’s favourite tourist destinations, the spectacular, striated Cliffs of Moher. You then head inland to explore the other-worldly landscape of the Burren Park’s limestone karst.
Descending Tennyson down towards Freshwater Bay - Isle of Wight Coastal Path. © Mark Rainsley.
Family Friendly Fun– Isle of Wight Coastal Path
The 113-kilometre Isle of Wight Coastal Path encircles the pretty island, taking in beaches, high cliffs, seaside towns and castles and forts. If little legs get tired, you can take a break at Fort Victoria’s planetarium, marvel at Alum Bay’s multicoloured sand or visit Queen Victoria’s home – whilst the kids have an adventurous day out at the UK’s oldest amusement park, Blackgang Chine.
Great Trail Running – Yorkshire Wolds Way
This summer, people rushing for Yorkshire’s fantastic coast will blithely drive past Yorkshire’s best kept secret – the butterflied, flower-rich rolling chalk hills of the Yorkshire Wolds. Starting on the Humber estuary, the 124-kilometre Yorkshire Wolds Way offers grassy paths through gentle green dales, perfect for easy running. You can reward your efforts with fish and chips on the beach at Filey (although the route technically ends further on at Filey Brigg, where the Cleveland Way begins).
The River Barle in Exmoor National Park, Two Moors Way. © Mark Rainsley.
Cream of Devon – Two Moors Way
The 172-kilometre Two Moors Way starts at the Devon seaside but leaves the crowds behind as it crosses the sometimes spooky Dartmoor, passing Widecombe-in-the-Moor and taking a pit stop at the high Warren House Inn with its ‘eternal fire’. After a green wander through the pretty woods, villages and farmland of mid-Devon, you traverse Exmoor to reach Devon’s Little Switzerland at Lynton and Lynmouth. The one downside – they do put the jam on the cream.
Our Office Favourite - Peak District Boundary Walk
As a company proudly based in England’s Outdoor City, Sheffield, we may be a little biased here – I sometimes run sections of the Peak District Boundary Walk after work and at the weekend. The 303-kilometre Walk is a new, waymarked route that circumnavigates the Peak District National Park. It offers views of the northern giants, wood-fringed reservoirs, heathered moorland, pastures and valleys, and stunning views of our green city of Sheffield. We’re pleased to welcome you all back soon to our favourite places.
Running the Houdkirk Road in winter - Peak District Boundary Walk. © Jon Barton.
Skip Snowdonia - Glyndŵr’s Way
Whilst Wales’ mountains and beaches get all the attention, there are beautiful farmland, tranquil high hills, lush valleys and heathered moorland to explore in solitude on the quiet 217-kilometre Glyndŵr’s Way as it wends its way on a horseshoe route from Knighton to Welshpool through Powys’s glorious green countryside.
First-time Adventure – Moray Way
If you’ve never tackled a Big Trail before, the 155-kilometre Moray Way is a great place to start. It’s easy to navigate, offers moors, forest and coast, and you are generally not too far from the next town or village (there is a long, exposed stretch between Grantown and Forres). If you’re a whisky lover, the Way passes through Speyside, so there are plenty of distilleries to be visited, and you could make a pitstop at the Quaich Bar in the Craigellachie Hotel, where you can sample more than 900 single malts.
Covesea Lighthouse Near Lossiemouth - Moray Way. © Helen and Paul Webster.
Best Undiscovered Countryside – Shropshire Way
The 345-kilometre Shropshire Way is a glorious figure of eight route through Shropshire’s beautiful countryside. It takes in the high Clee Hills and Stiperstones, the Linley Beeches avenue, the wooded Ironbridge gorge and historic Shropshire towns such as Wem, famed for its treacle mine*. The loops meet in the riverside town of Shrewsbury, a medieval powerhouse whose fine Tudor buildings are still standing. I love Shropshire’s hills so much that I’ve already booked my first post-lockdown walking and cycling holiday there.
Big Trails: Great Britain and Ireland Volume 2 is the second volume of this inspirational guide to the most iconic long-distance trails in England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland and the Channel Islands.
The twenty-five routes featured in this book comprise more of the best trails in Great Britain and Ireland. From some of Wales’ best views on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path and the magnificent moorlands of the Two Moors Way (Devon Coast to Coast) in South-West England, to Scotland’s wild moors on the Southern Upland Way and over high cliffs on Ireland’s Burren Way. In the shadows of Lakeland peaks on the Cumbria Way and around five islands on the Channel Island Way, the book incorporates the highlights of Great Britain and Ireland, from its centre to its outermost edges.
Big Trails books are designed to inspire big adventures. Rather than being carried along the route, this guide provides everything you need to plan and explore further, including a general overview of the trails, specific technical information, overview mapping, key information and stunning photography. As well as this, each route specifies approximate timings devised using the Jones–Ross formula, which allows for custom itineraries to be generated depending upon the speed of the user. Whether you’re walking, trekking, fastpacking or running, let Big Trails: Great Britain and Ireland Volume 2 be your guide.
* The exact location of the Wem Treacle Mine is such a closely guarded secret that some cynical commentators have questioned its existence.