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Best winter walks

By 30th November 2016Lifestyle, News


1. Beaulieu to Bucklers Hard, Hampshire

This walk is best in the afternoon, when the tranquil Beaulieu river valley is flooded with golden light.  The 4.5-mile circular trail links Beaulieu with the hamlet of Bucklers Hard, where a neat line of Georgian workers’ cottages run down to the river. The flat, easy trail – ideal for families and push-chairs – twists through woodland alongside the Beaulieu river.  Look out for New Forest ponies and discover the history of Bucklers Hard, a thriving ship-building village in the 18th century.  There’s an excellent museum and the Master Builders Hotel is a good stop for a drink or lunch.

Route details:

Stay at: The Montagu Arms


2. Teign Gorge Walk, Devon

Catch the last of the falling leaves on Dartmoor’s most famous walk, a 3.5 mile stroll along the tree-lined banks of the River Teign.  The route begins at Castle Drogo – the last castle to be built in England – before joining the Hunters Path through lush meadows and down to the river itself to cross 17th century Fingle Bridge.  The Fingle Bridge Inn is a great stop for lunch, before the walk back through Whiddon Deer Park and across the iron suspension bridge back to Castle Drogo.

Route details:

Stay at: Bovey Castle


3. Veryan Circular, Cornwall

Cornwall’s beaches are no less beautiful in the autumn and winter months, and this four-mile walk combines the stunning Carne Beach – with the gently undulating countryside behind the shore.  The walk begins in the village of Veryan, famous for its circular houses (built so that the Devil couldn’t hide in any corners) and runs through lush fields to the South West Coast Path.  Walk at low tide to see the beach at its best, dotted with quartz and fossils and a submerged forest, before heading back up through woodland to 16th century Mellinsey Mill (a good stop for tea).

Route details:
Stay at: The Nare


4. Broadway Tower Walk, the Cotswolds

The Cotswolds are crowd-free in the autumn and winter months, and this circular four-mile walk up to Broadway Tower, an 18th century folly, boasts views that span 13 counties.  The walk begins on Broadway’s pretty High Street, through ‘ridge and furrow’ fields and historic tracks that lead up to the second highest point in the Cotswolds.  If your legs can stand it, the climb to the top of the tower – 55ft up – gives a unique perspective – before the gentler route downhill, past dry-stone walls and back into Broadway.

Route details:

Stay at: Dormy House


5. Ambleside to Troutbeck, Cumbria

A circular six-mile route, beginning with a gentle rise up from Ambleside, steepening in the ascent to Wansfell Pike.  The swathes of autumn colour make the haul worth it, and from the Pike onwards it’s a slow, steady descent to the village of Troutbeck, where the 17th century Queen’s Head Hotel has real fires and local ales.  The path back offers more gorgeous views over Windermere from Jenkin’s Crag, before returning to Ambleside.

Route details:

Stay: Gilpin Hotel & The Lake House


6. Saundersfoot to Tenby, Pembrokeshire

Pembrokeshire has one of the UK’s most spectacular stretches of coast, and this 4.5 mile walk from Saundersfoot takes in unspoilt beaches, dramatic views from the headland at Monkstone Point and a couple of quite steep ascents and descents.  It’s a straightforward route, following the well-marked Pembrokeshire Coastal Path, and the harbour at Tenby, with its pastel-painted houses, is an ideal stop for lunch, before catching the bus back to Saundersfoot (or retracing your steps).

Route details:

Stay: Grove of Narbeth


7. Winnie the Pooh Walk, Ashford Forest, Sussex

Scuff through carpets of leaves on this easy two-mile, family walk through the medieval hunting forest, best known as the home of Pooh and his fictional friends.  The walk begins at Gills Lap, taking in the Enchanted Place, the Heffalump Trap and Roo’s sandy pit, as well as a memorial to the author, AA Milne.  Ashdown Forest sits on the highest ridge of the Kentish Weald, with glorious views from the rolling heathland.

Route details:

Stay: Ashdown Park Hotel


8. Loch Trool Trail, Galloway Forest Park, Scotland

The atmospheric Galloway Forest Park is at its most beautiful on a frost-tipped winters’ day, when Loch Trool shimmers under a cold blue sky. The five-mile, circular walk begins on the wide bridge across the Water of Trool, before climbing through the trees to give glorious views of the lake. Above the forest, the heather-covered glens stretch for miles; take a short detour to visit Bruce’s Stone, which commemorates one of Robert the Bruce’s victories against the English.

Route details:

Stay: Glenapp Castle


9. Constable Country Walk, Essex

Follow this circular four-mile trail around tranquil Dedham Vale, and many of the landscapes will seem familiar; made famous by the artist John Constable, who painted many rural scenes in the area.  The walk begins in Dedham and heads out across riverside meadows and fens, with signs marking the locations of paintings such as The Haywain and The Leaping Horse.  A short detour from the walk will take you to the 18th century Flatford Mill, also painted by Constable.

Route details:

Stay: Maison Talbooth


10. Castle Combe and By Brook

One of England’s most historic villages – Castle Combe – is the starting point for this 5.7 mile circular walk, which gently ascends through woodland and watermeadows, taking in hamlets such as Long Dean and Ford (the White Hart at Ford makes a good stop-off).  The By Brook valley gently undulates, so there are some climbs, but nothing too taxing, and there are lovely views of the Wiltshire countryside.  The footpath is waymarked throughout, and there are plenty of cosy teashops in Castle Combe for foodie treats on your return.

Route details:

Stay at: Lucknam Park


Article written by Annabelle Thorpe

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