Good hikes can really make a weekend away. They give you guilt-free lounging time for the rest of your stay, get you outdoors in the sun and have a handy tendency to end in pub gardens. These are some of the team’s favourites.
Megan, our designer, loves this less popular alternative to Scafell Pike, which can get a bit crowded in peak season. It’s a five-mile loop starting from the village of Glenridding, on the shore of Ullswater. You go up through Birkhouse Moor, getting incredible views of the lake and then climb Striding Edge.
This second climb is pretty hairy, as the ridge is thin and the wind can be unnerving, but the views from the top are immense. You’re looking down on Red Tarn, which you can drink from and even swim in, if you’re feeling brave. You can go back the way you came or extend the route around Red Tarn towards Catstye Cam. You’ll end up passing back down the other edge of Birkhouse Moor and back to Ullswater.
Base yourself at: Hinterlandes, a converted bus with a camper bedroom on the roof, that’s as deep into the Lake District as it’s possible to stay, or Scales Plantation gorgeous shepherd’s in the woods near Penrith
This gentle stroll among the bluebells is perhaps more walk than hike, but it doesn’t always have to be thigh-burn and scrambling ascents. Brede High Woods is a beautiful ancient woodland but the loop also takes in a little history and some varied terrain.
You’ll pass an ancient iron works, the sandy heath of the High Weald AONB and stunning views of the Powdermill Reservoir. Start from the Woodland Trust Car Park and follow the trail south. You’ll see the reservoir and eventually reach Lower Jacobs Farm. Cross to the other side of the water and come through Cryalls Wood, Ward’s Wood and Streetfield Wood, full of tall Scots pines and a great spot for birdwatching. When you come out onto the heath you get a superb view of the sort of gentle countryside that Sussex is famous for, before you head back down to complete the loop.
Base yourself at: Swallowtail Hill, where an incredible array of wheeled cottages, round cabins and “wooden tents” are scattered across acres of a thriving wildlife habitat and informal animal sanctuary.
This well-known local route was found by our copy writer Chris in the welcome pack during a recent stay. It’s an extremely simple trail, with the only potential difficulty being finding the tiny car park to start out from, which is at the end of a narrow lane 3.5 miles northwest of Longtown.
The path starts off with a solid climb, but once you’re up on the ridge, you can walk from hilltop to hilltop fairly easily, with the Brecon Beacons reaching out for miles on all sides. It’s possible to drop down into the Olchon valley at several points, which gives a lovely feeling of sinking down into the trees. Just be wary that if you want to come back along the ridge, you’re going to have to do that climb again.
Base yourself at: The Potting Shed, a homely, charming space with a little bit of a frontier feel or stay a 3 minute walk from the start of the trail and have a warm bath waiting for you at the bottom at The Nook.
This is another free-form ramble in the hills that you can cut short or extend depending on how you’re feeling. From the car park at Lynton, head inland following the river and cross over the bridge. You’ll be in a quiet, magical landscape of deep forest, cut by streams and bridges.
What you’re going to do is turn left and climb the hill, then left again and come back down the coast path into Lynmouth, just below Lynton. There are several places where you can make either turn, but we recommend the one that means you reach The Blue Ball Inn for a little halfway stop. The cliffside return trail is a lovely counterpoint to the dense woodland of the first half and brings you down into lovely Lynmouth’s narrow cove.
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