Eight Wonderful Winter Walks in the UK Countryside

Eight Wonderful Winter Walks in the UK Countryside

Stretch your legs with a walk through some of the UK’s most beautiful landscapes this winter, exploring snow-dusted fields, frosty hilltops and mist-swirled woodlands

the weather outside is frightful, we’re pulling on wellies
and woollies for a romp through the UK countryside. These walking routes – surrounded by snow-dusted fields, icy
waterways and frosty hilltop vistas – will have you embracing the
colder weather (and the indulgence of a post-walk pub lunch) as you
chug lungfuls of crisp winter air and crunch through Christmas
card-like frozen landscapes.

Lacing up our hiking boots and hitting the trails, we’ve found
our favourite footpaths around the country for festive stomps, New
Year hikes and all-through-winter walks.

The best one-day winter walks around the UK

Cwm Idwal in Snowdonia, Wales

Cwm Idwal Loop

Snowdonia, Wales

Just a 22-minute drive from Bangor, the sharp blades of granite
that make up Cwm Idwal provide a cinematic backdrop for a
Welsh winter wander, though we’d recommend picking a crisp, clear
day for your hike as the peaks are often crowned with clouds. Don’t
panic; you won’t be climbing the Sisyphean geological structure. An
easy 5km walk circumnavigates the glacier-carved tarn beneath the
(sometimes) snow-dusted peaks.

Routes start from the Ogwen Visitor Centre – look for the flight
of stone steps at the back of the car park – and curve towards the
lake. You’ll want to follow the trail clockwise around the shore.
For a more challenging route, continue left when the trail forks at
the end of the lake. You’ll have to navigate slippery boulders and
loose rocks as you head towards the ominously named Twll Du
(Devil’s Kitchen). If you’re wanting to keep it short and sweet,
turn right at the fork and follow the lake back to your starting

Marshes at Blakeney, Norfolk

Blakeney Coast Walks

Blakeney, Norfolk

Don’t get us wrong, we love the salt-sprayed expanses of
stretching sands near Holkham, but Norfolk’s most beautiful beaches get their fair share
of footfall in the colder months. Sidestep the windswept crowds in
favour of a salt marsh stroll half an hour down the coast. The sand
dunes and salt marshes around Blakeney offer the same dramatic
sunsets and table-flat topography, with a chance to spot seal pups
and wintering water birds as you walk, too. Opt for a stroll down
the shingled Blakeney Point, passing old watch houses (used to spy
19th-century smugglers), tufted sand dunes and the furious winter
waves of the North Sea, or pick your way along the mist-cloaked
salt marshes between Blakeney and Stiffkey for softer landscapes of
tumultuous skies and wandering creeks.

From Cley Beach car park, follow the shingle ridge for just over
6km, until you hit the dunes, when you’ll need to find the track
that takes you to the blue Lifeboat House. Due to the breeding seal
colony, this is as far as you can walk in winter, so bring
binoculars if you want to spot the seal pups. For the 6km
Blakeney-to-Stiffkey route, start at Blakeney Quay and follow the
mooring posts towards the Norfolk Coast Path.

The Twelve Apostles in West Yorkshire

The Twelve Apostles Walk

Bingley, West Yorkshire

Moody and melancholic, the tweed-toned moorlands of West
Yorkshire offer a Wuthering Heights-worthy landscape for a
morning’s perambulations. Head out when the undulating hills are
frozen hard to walk between glittering grasses under a pearly sky,
or don your anorak and wellies on days when the mud squelches
underfoot, and you’ll be treated to a folkloric landscape of
glowering clouds and shadowed hills. Near Bingley, a strange
collection of prehistoric stones set in a circle beneath the sky
offers an intriguing midpoint on a winter’s walk, while the
Dick Hudsons pub – the perfect spot to park up
before your hike – makes for a cosy post-walk pit stop.

A 6.5km up-and-down route accessed across the road from the pub
takes you up to the Twelve Apostles standing stones. It can be
completed in an hour-and-a-half. For a longer amble on Rombalds
Moor, continue towards Lanshaw Lad, the highest point in the area.
This circular 13km trail will take you past other ancient sites,
including bathing springs and prehistoric rock art, before your
return to the standing stones.

A deer in frosty Richmond Park, London

Tamsin Trail

Richmond, London

It might not have the wintry wilderness of Scotland’s isolated edges or the rugged rawness
found in national parks, but Richmond Park’s 1,012
hectares of bracken-furred parkland offer a slice of countryside to
jaded London urbanites, with the bonus that Richmond is serviced by
the District line. Roamed by deer, dotted with ancient oaks and –
in winter – prone to taking on a Narnia-esque beauty when a hoar
frost arrives, the Royal Park looks at its best on a crisp, cold
winter’s morning.

Try the Tamsin Trail, an 11km-odd long loop around the park’s
perimeter that takes in its highest point, King Henry’s Mound,
offering views of a distant, perhaps frost-dusted St Paul’s
Cathedral dome. Finish with a visit to The
for a bowlful of steaming sausage casserole, or –
if you’re up early – a well-deserved Thameside brunch at The Fat

Helen's Bay, Northern Ireland

North Down Coastal Path

County Down, Northern Ireland

If you’ve overindulged during the festive season, might we
suggest a windswept stomp along the coastline east of Belfast in
Northern Ireland? The 40km of rugged coastline
between Holywood and Orlock might take you most of the day, but,
with pretty villages, craggy beach vistas and the chance to spot
grey seals bobbing in the blustery coastal shallows, this
leg-stretching walk is worth the blisters. Stop for dinner (or the
night) at The Old Inn in Crawfordsburn, a cosy bed and
breakfast with a small spa attached, then continue onwards towards
Bangor and Orlock. The final part of the route offers distant views
of Scotland across the wild Irish Sea.

If navigating isn’t your strong point, fear not. The route is
super-simple. Start on the Holywood Esplanade and join the coastal
path. From there, it’s a one-way trail all the way.

Cows near Panswick, in the Cotswolds,  Gloucestershire

Painswick-to-Slad Circular Walk

Painswick, Gloucestershire

Looping through picturesque villages, over undulating hills,
along tinkling streams and beside hedgerows loud with bird chorus,
this 12km stroll through the Cotswolds countryside looks at its best on a wintery
weekend, when morning mist gathers in the pastoral folds of the
landscape and fields are crisped up with frost. Need a backdrop for
your Christmas jumper family photo shoot? Painswick has been picked
as the “prettiest town in the Cotswolds” more times than we’d care
to count – your photo will be Christmas card-worthy for when next
year’s festive season rolls around.

Start in Painswick, with a quick look at the village church’s 99
sculpted yew trees, before following the Painswick stream out of
town and traversing across Painswick Valley. You’ll then descend
into the Slad Valley. Make time for a brew at historic pub The Woolpack
– the fireside seats are highly coveted when temperatures begin to
tickle zero – before rolling up the other side of the valley into
the hamlet of Elcombe and looping through woodland towards the
point at which you started.

View of Ludlow, Shropshire

Climbing Jack Trail

Ludlow, Shropshire

Woodland walks in winter? Groundbreaking. But seriously, this
14.5km Shropshire stomp is beautiful come rain, fog or
snow. Starting at the Vinnalls Car Park, the route winds through
the vast woodlands of Mortimer Forest, passing through fir trees
and larch planted by the Forestry Commission in the 1920s, as well
as evidence of recent attempts to return the land to its ancient
flora, with conifers having been replaced by native woodland
species like oak, birch and beech. Remember your hiking boots; it
gets muddy. At the treeline, you’ll make a steep ascent towards
Climbing Jack Common, crossing the hill to panoramic winter
wonderland views across three counties, town and country, before
heading back into the woods and briefly joining the Black Pool
Loop. The woods are increasingly becoming a sanctuary for wildlife,
and word on the street is that pine martens are returning to the
trees. A left-hand trail will zigzag you through the forest to the
Whitcliffe Loop, before you take the next left-hand turn to return
to the car park. Worked up an appetite? Head over to The Clive Arms near Ludlow for a well-deserved

Stanage Edge, Peak District
Photo credit: Rupert Gibson Photography / Shutterstock

Hathersage to Stanage Edge

Hathersage, Peak District

Nearby Mam Tor might be the Peak District’s most popular peak,
but we’re willing to play the contrarian and suggest switching the
famous hill’s wind-whipped summit for a 14km hike that traces the
jaw-dropping cliffs of Stanage Edge. This strange gritstone
formation stretches for 6km through the Peak District, providing
misty moorland views across Hope Valley, the Derwent and the
hulking masses of Mam Tor and Kinder Scout. Make your base
The George
in Hathersage, a handsome pub with rooms that serves
locally brewed ales and tiptop handmade pies. For the hike, you’ll
head out of the village, passing a historic house that inspired
Charlotte Brontë’s Thornfield Hall, before clambering up towards
the incredible escarpment (avoiding the Pride & Prejudice
pilgrims – the Keira Knightley adaptation was filmed up here) and
swinging around the back to arrive on top. Watch out for boulderers
above your head when you double back beneath the cliffs; the
wind-worn stones are a popular climbing spot.

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A view across Regent's Canal

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