Walking in UK National Parks

Want to know more about Britain’s best National Parks? What they’re really like? What to see? Where to go? The best walks and hikes, lakes, hills, woods and waterfalls, beaches and bays, picnic spots, villages, castles, pubs and views …

Look no further. Armed with a little inside information, you can go straight to the best places, enjoy the best walks, save time and make every minute of your visit count.

Walks in the Lake District

Walks in the Lake District


Boats and trees in a quiet part of Windermere  in the English Lake District National Park
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Most popular National Park?

The Lake District National Park is the largest and most popular of the thirteen UK National Parks in England and Wales. Created as one of Britain’s first National Parks in 1951, its role is to ‘conserve and enhance’ the natural beauty, wildlife and culture of this iconic English landscape, not just for residents and visitors today but for future generations, too.

Remarkably, the National Park contains every scrap of England’s land over 3,000 feet, including its highest mountain, Scafell Pike. Packed within the Park’s 885 square miles are numerous peaks and fells, over 400 lakes and tarns, around 50 dales, six National Nature Reserves, and more than 100 Sites of Special Scientific Interest — all publicly accessible on over 1,800 miles of footpaths and other rights of way. It’s no surprise then, that the Lake District attracts an estimated 15 million visitors a year.

“[The Lake District is] a sort of national property in which every man has a right and interest who has an eye to perceive and a heart to enjoy.”

William Wordsworth, Guide through the District of the Lakes, 1810

Best circular walks in the Lake District

The Lake District National Park’s boundaries are all within Cumbria. As well as hosting England’s highest mountain – Scafell, the Lake District National Park contains both its longest lake — Windermere, and its deepest lake — Wastwater. It’s also a walkers’ paradise, with walks to suit every age and ability, from short easy circuits around pretty lakes and tarns to tougher day walks in the mountains, fells and ridges. There are pub walks, fell walks, lakeside walks, walks to tarns, history walks, woodland walks, walks to viewpoints and literary walks. These are some of the best walks in the Lake District.

 

Walks from Lake District towns and villages

Northern Eye Book’s popular ‘Top 10 Walks’ series gives walkers more than 80 of the best, tried-and-tested circular walks to choose from, all beautifully laid out, written by outdoor experts and illustrated with excellent Lake District photographs.

Many of the walks start and finish in the Lake District’s main towns and villages, including Ambleside, Bowness-on-Windermere, Windermere, Keswick, Kendal and Penrith.

There are great walks too from popular Lakeland villages including Hawkshead, Coniston, Grasmere, Glenridding, Langdale, Troutbeck, Grizedale, Gosforth, Oxenholme, Nether Wasdale, Loweswater, Braithwaite, Applethwaite, Threlkeld, Staveley Bridge, Lindale and Pooley Bridge.

Top ten themed walks

The ‘Top 10 Walks’ series also picks the best and most popular walks around each of the Lake District’s main lakes, too: Windermere, Derwentwater, Ullswater, Coniston, Buttermere, Loweswater, Crummock Water, Grasmere, Rydal Water, Thirlmere, Bassenthwaite Lake, Wastwater and remote Ennerdale.

There are popular fell walks on Skiddaw, Helvellyn, Scafell Pike, Great Gable, Bowfell, the Coniston Old Man, Catbells, Castle Crag, High Rigg, Helm Crag and Haystacks, among others.

There are walks to the Lake District’s loveliest tarns, including: Tarn Hows, Levers Water, Blea Tarn,Red Tarn, Angle Tarn, Bowscale Tarn, Stony and Eel Tarns and Wainwright’s favourite tarn — Innominate Tarn

Walks to Waterfalls will take you on short circular walks to the ten best waterfalls, cataracts, spouts and forces in the Lake District. They range from the mighty Aira Force and Scale Force to Holme Force, Lodore Falls and Skelwith and Colwith Forces.

Favourite Lake District pub walks include walks around the Sun Inn at Coniston, Queen’s Head at Hawkshead, Three Shires Inn in Little Langdale, Mortal Man at Troutbeck, Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel at Great Langdale, Tweedies Bar at Grasmere, Strands Inn at Nether Wasdale, Kirkstile Inn at Loweswater and the Dog & Gun at Keswick.

Other themes for walks include the top ten woodland walks in the Lake District, literary walks in the Lake District and historical walks in the Lake District.

Useful websites

www.lake-district.gov.uk

www.visitcumbria.com

www.golakes.co.uk

www.discoverthelakes.co.uk

www.amblesideonline.co.uk

www.keswick.org

Walks in the Peak District

Walks in the Peak District


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Dark Peak and White Peak

Created in 1951, the Peak District National Park extends over six counties and is the second most visited of the UK’s National Parks. Its highest point lies upon the seemingly remote Kinder Plateau, where a mass trespass in 1932 marked the turning point in a long and sometimes bitter campaign that led to the creation of Britain’s National Parks and the open access we enjoy today.

Despite its name, the Peak District contains few pointed hills. Instead, they are mostly rounded upland moors, or form long escarpments called ‘edges’. The high, peaty moorlands of the northern Dark Peak are founded on gritstone, their stark grandeur accentuated by impressive, weather-worn tors and edges. The moors extend out of the Pennines in two horns that enclose the limestone plateau of the White Peak, an upland pasture cleft by narrow gorges and dales. The transition between the two is abrupt and each has a distinctive character and beauty all its own: the wild openness of the north contrasting with the more intimate southern landscape, dotted with small villages and criss-crossed by old lanes. Both landscapes support their own, quite distinct wildflowers, plants and animals.

“However rugged the hills were, the vales were everywhere fruitful, well inhabited, the markets well supplied, and the provisions extraordinarily good; not forgetting the ale, which everywhere exceeded, if possible, what was passed, as if the farther north the better the liquor.”

Daniel Defoe, 1780s

Best short circular walks in the Peak District

The Peak District National Park lies mainly in Derbyshire but includes parts of Cheshire, Staffordshire, Greater Manchester and bits of both South and West Yorkshire. Surrounded by cities and large towns such as Manchester, Sheffield, Huddersfield, Derby and Stoke on Trent, the Peak District National Park is the perfect day out and ‘green lung’ for urban visitors, walkers and cyclists and attracts around 22 million visitors a year.

The Peak District is rightly popular with walkers, with circular walks to suit every age and ability, from short easy loops around pretty dales and valleys to tougher day walks and rounds over moors and tors or along the many rocky edges. These are some of the best circular walks in the Peak District.

Walks from Peak District Towns and Villages

Northern Eye Book’s popular ‘Top 10 Walks’ Peak District series gives walkers 60 of the finest, tried-and-tested circular walks to choose from, all lovingly laid out, written by experienced professional outdoor authors, and illustrated with inspiring, top-notch Peak District photographs by some of Britain’s best landscape photographers.

Many of the walks start and finish in the Peak District’s main towns and villages, including Holme, Fairholmes, Edale, Hope, Buxton, Castleton, Hathersage, Calver, Curbar, Peak Forest, Foolow, Ashford in the Water, Longnor, Wincle, Flash, Bakewell, Litton, Over Haddon, Taddington, Youlgreave, Ashbourne, Tissington, and Matlock.

Top ten themed walks in the Peak District

The ‘Top 10 Walks’ series picks the best and most popular walks for each of several key themes for that area. There are pub and teashop walks, dale and valley walks, walks to moors and tors, rock and edge walks, waterside walks and history walks.

Dales and Valleys explores low-level circular walks in most of the White Peak’s lovely limestone dales including Dovedale, Monsal Dale, Miller’s Dale, Chee Dale, Monks’ Dale, Cave Dale at Castleton, as well as the very different gritstone Dane Valley in the north. Moors and Tors looks at Kinder Edge, Lose Hill, Mam Tor, Big Moor, Win Hill, Whinstone Lee Tor, Shutlingsloe and Shining Tor

Waterside Walks visits a selection of rivers and reservoirs including Derwent Reservoir, Dove Stone Reservoir, Three Shires Head and the River Hamps.While Rocks and Edges features circular walks around Derwent Edge, Millstone Rocks, Stanage Edge, Curbar Edge, Millstone Edge, Rushup Edge, Bamford Edge, Birchen Edge and the Roaches.

‘Peak District: Walks with History’ will take you to all the best historical sites across the Peaks from the prehistoric Nine Ladies stone circle and Carl Wark hillfort to stately Chatsworth, Lyme Park and more.

Whatever interests you most, these superb, pocket-sized walking books will take you to the very best places in the Peak District.

Useful websites

www.peakdistrict.gov.uk

www.visitpeakdistrict.com

www.peakdistrict.org

Walks in the Yorkshire Dales

Walks in the Yorkshire Dales

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Magnificent landscape

Designated in 1954, the Yorkshire Dales National Park covers 1,762 square kilometres/680 square miles of the central Pennines. As well as some of Yorkshire’s most magnificent landscapes, the National Park also includes a corner of Cumbria, where the secluded Howgill Fells loom over the River Lune. ‘Dales’ is something of a misnomer, for in addition to the beautiful dales the area incorporates great tracts of wild moorland, or fells, the famous ‘Three Peaks’ and an intriguing industrial heritage.

Over 1,300 miles of rights of way allow walkers to explore all facets of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. In addition, almost 110,000 hectares of open access land has opened up endless possibilities for exploring this heady mix of limestone and gritstone scenery. Upwards of 8 million visitors a year enjoy this striking countryside with its picturesque drystone walls, stone field barns (or ‘laithes’) and stone villages.

“When God had finished making Heaven, rather like you make an apple pie, with that bit of pastry that was left over, he fashioned the Yorkshire Dales.”

Russell Harty

Best circular walks in the Yorkshire Dales

The Yorkshire Dales National Park is rightly popular with walkers, with circular walks to suit every age and ability, from short easy loops around pretty dales and river valleys to tougher day walks and rounds over the moors and limestone scars and pavements. The ‘Top 10 Walks’ series contains some of the most popular and best known circular walks in the Dales.

The Yorkshire Dales are an upland area dissected by river valleys that spans both North Yorkshire and part of Cumbria. Much of it is composed of Carboniferous limestone whose characteristic landscapes include limestone pavements, coves, gorges, waterfalls and caves. Each dale is named after the river that runs through it. Famous dales include Wharfedale, Airedale, Nidderdale, Ribbledale, and Malhamdale.

There are short, easy circular walks from many of the Yorkshire Dales National Park’s main towns and villages including Malham, Grassington, Hawes, Reeth, Skipton, Settle, Sedburgh and Clapham.

Top ten themed walks in the Yorkshire Dales National Park

The ‘Top 10 Walks’ series picks the best and most popular walks for each of several key themes for that National Park. Current themes include: pub walks, walks to waterfalls, dales walks and fell walks.

Useful websites

www.yorkshiredales.org.uk

www.yorkshirenet.co.uk/yorkshire-dales

www.visittheyorkshiredales.co.uk

www.3peakswalks.co.uk

www.yds.org.uk

www.dalesbus.org

Walks on the Wales Coast Path

Walks on the Wales Coast Path

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870 miles of continuous coastal path

Wales is the largest country in the world with a continuous path around its entire coast. The long-distance Wales Coast Path offers 870 miles/1440 kilometres of unbroken coastal walking, from the outskirts of the walled Roman and medieval city of Chester in the north to the market town of Chepstow, with its clifftop riverside castle, in the south.

In fact, the Wales Coast Path runs through 1 Marine Nature Reserve, 2 National Parks, 3 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, 11 National Nature Reserves, 14 Heritage Coasts, and 23 Historic Landscapes. Large stretches of coast are also managed and protected by Wildlife Trusts, the RSPB and the National Trust. And, to cap it all, the Wales Coast Path links up with the long-distance Offa’s Dyke path at either end: creating a complete, 1,030 mile circuit of the whole of Wales.

Long or short walks?

Whether you choose to walk the whole coast path in one go, in occasional sections, or a few miles at a time, you’re in for a real treat. There’s something new around every corner, and you’ll discover plenty of amazing places that can only be reached on foot. Visually stunning and rich in both history and wildlife, the coast path promises ever-changing views, soaring cliffs and spacious beaches, sea caves and arches, wildflowers, seabirds, seals, whales and dolphins, as well as castles, cromlechs, saltmarshes, coves and coastal pubs. It’s a genuinely special landscape.

“The Wales Coast Path took me on an amazing, ever-changing coastal adventure. I promise, you’ll never look at Wales in the same light again.”

Steve Webb, early end-to-end walker, June 2012

Official Guides to the Wales Coast Path

The Official Guidebooks for the Wales Coast Path break the complete path down into seven main sections each of which is then sub-divided into carefully-planned ‘Day Sections’ — usually averaging around 10-15 miles each. These typically start and finish either in, or near easy-to-reach towns, villages or settlements, many of them on bus routes, and with shops, pubs, restaurants, cafes and places to stay nearby.

The Official Guides are the only series of guidebooks recognised by Natural Resources Wales, and contain everything walkers need to walk and enjoy the Wales Coast Path.

Best short circular walks on the Wales Coast Path

The hugely popular, pocket-sized Top 10 Walks series explore the best circular walks along the popular 870-mile Wales Coast Path. These handy little books give walkers the ten finest routes in each area, in an attractive, highly-illustrated, full colour, A6 format. There will eventually be ten books, each covering a key section of the Wales Coast Path.

Current titles in the Top Ten Walks: Wales Coast Path series include: Llyn Peninsula, Cardigan Bay North, Ceredigion Coast, Pembrokeshire North, Pembrokeshire South, and Carmarthen Bay & Gower.

Useful websites

www.walescoastpath.gov.uk

www.visitwales.com/things-to-do/activities/walking…/wales-coast-path

www.ldwa.org.uk/ldp/members/show_path.php?path_name=Wales+Coast+Path

Walks in Snowdonia and North Wales

Walks in Snowdonia and North Wales


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Dramatic landscapes

North Wales is a dramatic landscape with something to stir the blood of walkers and hikers of every taste and ability. At its heart lies the huge and rugged Snowdonia National Park, embracing cloud-wrapped mountains, deep glacial valleys, tranquil lakes, soaring cliffs and plunging waterfalls — as well as forest, moorland and seashore. Snowdonia itself is home to Wales’ fourteen highest peaks, all over 914 metres/3,000 feet, topped by Snowdon, whose highest summit, Yr Wyddfa, rises to 1085 metres/3,560 feet.

From Roman times onwards, this natural mountain fortress has protected the native Welsh from incomers and invaders. Llywelyn, the last Prince of Wales, retreated here to lick his wounds in 1277; and later, Snowdonia was Owain Glyndŵr’s last redoubt in his fight for an independent Wales. Centuries on, English slate barons made their fortunes here, on the backs of Welsh workers, in the mines and quarries; today, their dark spoil heaps and derelict works bring an atmospheric edge to the area’s natural scenic grandeur.

“Wales is one of the most picturesque countries in the world, in which Nature displays herself in her wildest, boldest, and loveliest forms…”

George Borrow, Wild Wales, 1862

Snowdonia visitors

From the mid-nineteenth century onwards, Snowdonia drew ever-increasing numbers of visitors to marvel at her mountains, lakes and waterfalls. Numbers have grown ever since. Today, thousands of enthusiasts converge on Snowdonia during holidays and at weekends to enjoy what, by consensus, is the most dramatic and alluring part of Wales.

Further west lie Ynys Môn, or Anglesey, and the Lleyn Peninsula. In contrast to the mountainous mainland, Anglesey is largely flat, levelled by successive ice sheets and subsequent erosion. The resulting glacial boulder clays make for some of Wales’ richest farmland; and the island was once known as Mam Cymru, or the ‘mother of Wales’ for her role as the country’s bread basket. Away from the attractively varied coast, the landscape remains largely pastoral, with small fields, drystone walls, and traditional white-painted stone houses.

The end of Wales

The Lleyn takes its name from an old Irish word for ‘peninsula’. Known sometimes as the ‘Land’s End of Wales’, it’s a still relatively unknown, rocky finger jutting south-west into the Irish Sea. With its tiny coves and sandy bays, the wild north coast, especially, is a walkers’ paradise. From the distinctive triple peaks of Yr Eifl, the hills diminish towards Aberdaron, at the tip of the Lleyn — from where early pilgrims once set sail to the holy island of Bardsey, or Ynys Enlli — island of 20,000 saints. The tip of Llyn is a wonderful place, full of wild landscapes and swirling seabirds.

Top ten themed walks in Snowdonia and North Wales

The ‘Top 10 Walks’ series picks the best and most popular walks for each of several key themes for that National Park. Current themes include: Mountain Walks and Ridge Wales, both by well-known outdoor writer Carl Rogers.

Useful websites

www.visitwales.com/explore/north-wales

www.gonorthwales.co.uk

Walks in Pembrokeshire and South Wales

Walks in Pembrokeshire and South Wales


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South Wales Coast

Despite the massive industrialisation and urbanisation of the 19th and early 20th centuries, much of the south coast of Wales remains surprisingly unspoilt and harbours a tremendous wildlife and recreational resource that sits on the doorstep for much of the country’s population.

And those from afar, whose only knowledge of the area has been gleaned from the history of coal, iron and steel, will certainly be stunned by the great open sweeps of fine beaches, great dune systems, impressive cliffs, tidal salt mashes and reclaimed meadowlands, all of which revel in a profusion of wildflowers, insects, birds and animal life.

Even so, there is no ignoring the industrial conurbations of Swansea, Port Talbot, Barry, Cardiff and Newport. But the commercial activity of the 21st century now looks towards high tech, specialised manufacture and the service and media industries. Reclamation and redevelopment of derelict and brownfield sites has removed much of the detrimental impact of the old industries on the environment and new areas have been deliberately set aside for open space and nature.  Yet even the abandoned ‘edgelands’ hold surprises, for this is where nature appears at its most feral. The plants here are the advance guard of natural regeneration, overcoming harsh conditions and bringing insects and birds in their wake.

“Dychwelyd i wlad eich hynafiaid; gwaed yn galw i waed.
Return to the land of your fathers; blood calls to blood.”

Horton Deakins

This final section of the Wales Coast Path may not portray the absolute wildness of Pembrokeshire’s Atlantic battered cliffs or the dramatic scenery of the Snowdonian fringe, but it is equally full of character and merit. Nature’s offerings are abundant and diverse, and the relics of industrial heritage give a wonderful insight into a past that helped make Wales great.

Pembrokeshire Coast National Park

The dramatic Pembrokeshire coast is a dream destination for walkers: for 300 breathtaking kilometres, the National Trail winds its way along the top of rugged cliffs, in and out of secluded inlets and along seemingly endless beaches. From the remotest reaches of the north coast on day one to the popular beaches around Tenby on the final day, it provides a wonderfully varied experience. Whether you come for the scenery, the wildlife, the history or simply to immerse yourself in an exceptional corner of Britain, you won’t be disappointed by Pembrokeshire.

The unique qualities of this special place were recognised in 1952 when it was designated as one of Britain’s first National Parks. There are also several National Nature Reserves, many Sites of Special Scientific Interest and one of the UK’s four Marine Nature Reserves, all helping to protect the area’s wildlife, its habitats and its geology. In addition, several sections of the coast are managed by the National Trust.

Official Guide to the Wales Coast Path: Pembrokeshire

The Pembrokeshire Coast Path runs for 186 miles / 300 kilometres between St Dogmael’s, close to Cardigan, and Amroth Castle on the county border with Carmarthenshire. The Official Guide splits the route into 14 convenient day sections, each of about 9-16 miles / 15-26 kilometres. Most of these start and finish in towns or villages with decent facilities for eating, sleeping and buying provisions. However, due to the remote nature of some sections, if you aren’t camping or staying in hostels, you may need to catch a bus or take a short walk inland to the nearest settlement.

Alternatively, you may prefer a series of short circular walks along the best sections of the path. Each one takes around half a day with a pub or cafe as a reward either en route or at the end of the walk.

Best short circular walks

There are two books in the popular Top 10 Walks: Wales Coast Path: Pembrokeshire series — North and South. Both are by seasoned professional outdoor writers, Dennis and Jan Kelsall, and will take you to some of the loveliest and most stunning sections of the coast.

Useful websites

www.visitpembrokeshire.com

www.visitwales.com/explore/west-wales/pembrokeshire

www.pembrokeshirecoast.org.uk/

Walks in Cheshire & Wirral

Walks in Cheshire & Wirral


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Cheshire’s central sandstone ridge

Sometimes mischievously called ‘The Home County in the north of England’, Cheshire is a prosperous and largely rural county that covers almost 1,000 square miles and is home to close on a million people.

Most people think Cheshire is flat. Indeed, seen from the tops of the Clwydian Range to the west or the high moorland of the Peaks and Pennines to the east, Cheshire certainly seems as level and green as a pool table. But look carefully from those same Welsh or Derbyshire hills and in the middle distance you’ll soon spot Cheshire’s central sandstone ridge rising abruptly from the Plain. All at once Cheshire is no longer really flat. It’s precisely that contrast that makes the central sandstone ridge so dramatic.In fact, Cheshire’s backbone is the only high ground west of the Pennines and east of the Welsh hills.

Cheshire’s 34 mile/55 kilometre long Sandstone Trail runs down the length of the central ridge, from the market town of Frodsham on the Mersey to the north, down to Whitchurch, just over the Shropshire border in the south. It’s probably the most popular middle-distance trail in north west England, and justifiably so. At the heart of this sandstone spine is isolated Beeston Crag, capped by the ruins of a medieval castle. Seen from afar, the crag’s prominence must surely have acted like a magnet to our distant ancestors. There’s ample evidence of people living on the hill way back in the Neolithic period. Today, farmland and wooded hills stretch away on either side. 

Castles and forest

Across the Beeston Gap, the lofty ridge runs north along the low-lying Delamere Ridge, through Delamere Forest, and on towards Frodsham and the Mersey estuary. To the south, the tree-clad sandstone ridge undulates past Peckforton Castle and Bulkeley Hill towards Rawhead and the Iron Age hillfort at Maiden Castle.

Many of its towns and villages feature Cheshire vernacular architecture using local sandstone or black-and-white half timbered construction.

When Beeston Castle wears a hood,
Huxley Meadows gets a flood.
As long as Helsby wears a hood,
The weather’s never very good.

— Old Cheshire weather lore

Two books celebrate the Sandstone Trail. The Official Guide to Walking Cheshire’s Sandstone Trail, by Tony Bowerman, gives precise route directions for the whole trail, as well as fascinating, in-depth information about places of interest, history, folklore and wildlife along the way.  The other book, Circular Walks along the Sandstone Trail, by Carl Rogers, takes you on 13 linked circular walks.

Cheshire and Wirral Villages

But Cheshire offers much more to walkers than just the Sandstone Trail. Explore its field paths, riversides and canal towpaths or the dappled shade of the ancient and accessible Delamere Forest. Or take in its pretty rural villages and unspoilt pubs and inns.

Several excellent walking books will guide you to the best of Cheshire, including: Walks in West Cheshire and Wirral by Jen Darling, Walks in Mysterious Cheshire and Wirral by Tony Bowerman and Short Walks from Wirral Villages by Joanna McIlhatton.

Useful websites

www.sandstonetrail.co.uk

www.visitcheshire.com

Walks in Loch Lomond & The Trossachs

Walks in Loch Lomond & The Trossachs


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Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park

Sometimes mischievously called ‘The Home County in the north of England’, Cheshire is a prosperous and largely rural county that covers almost 1,000 square miles and is home to close on a million people.

Most people think Cheshire is flat. Indeed, seen from the tops of the Clwydian Range to the west or the high moorland of the Peaks and Pennines to the east, Cheshire certainly seems as level and green as a pool table. But look carefully from those same Welsh or Derbyshire hills and in the middle distance you’ll soon spot Cheshire’s central sandstone ridge rising abruptly from the Plain. All at once Cheshire is no longer really flat. It’s precisely that contrast that makes the central sandstone ridge so dramatic.In fact, Cheshire’s backbone is the only high ground west of the Pennines and east of the Welsh hills.

Cheshire’s 34 mile/55 kilometre long Sandstone Trail runs down the length of the central ridge, from the market town of Frodsham on the Mersey to the north, down to Whitchurch, just over the Shropshire border in the south. It’s probably the most popular middle-distance trail in north west England, and justifiably so. At the heart of this sandstone spine is isolated Beeston Crag, capped by the ruins of a medieval castle. Seen from afar, the crag’s prominence must surely have acted like a magnet to our distant ancestors. There’s ample evidence of people living on the hill way back in the Neolithic period. Today, farmland and wooded hills stretch away on either side.

Castles and forest

Across the Beeston Gap, the lofty ridge runs north along the low-lying Delamere Ridge, through Delamere Forest, and on towards Frodsham and the Mersey estuary. To the south, the tree-clad sandstone ridge undulates past Peckforton Castle and Bulkeley Hill towards Rawhead and the Iron Age hillfort at Maiden Castle.

Many of its towns and villages feature Cheshire vernacular architecture using local sandstone or black-and-white half timbered construction.
When Beeston Castle wears a hood,
Huxley Meadows gets a flood.
As long as Helsby wears a hood,
The weather’s never very good.

— Old Cheshire weather lore

Two books celebrate the Sandstone Trail. The Official Guide to Walking Cheshire’s Sandstone Trail, by Tony Bowerman, gives precise route directions for the whole trail, as well as fascinating, in-depth information about places of interest, history, folklore and wildlife along the way. The other book, Circular Walks along the Sandstone Trail, by Carl Rogers, takes you on 13 linked circular walks.

Towns and villages

But Cheshire offers much more to walkers than just the Sandstone Trail. Explore its field paths, riversides and canal towpaths or the dappled shade of the ancient and accessible Delamere Forest. Or take in its pretty rural villages and unspoilt pubs and inns.

Several excellent walking books will guide you to the best of Cheshire, including: Walks in West Cheshire and Wirral by Jen Darling, Walks in Mysterious Cheshire and Wirral by Tony Bowerman and Short Walks from Wirral Villages by Joanna McIlhatton.

Useful websites

www.sandstonetrail.co.uk

www.visitcheshire.com