For some, winter is a time of hibernation, staying in and never straying too far from the fireplace. For many others, though, it’s a time to get out the scarves, gloves, earmuffs and woolly hats which themselves have been hibernating for most of the year, and head out into the fresh chill outside.
Keen walkers know that the some of the UK’s most beautiful landscapes really come into their own in the colder season. A touch of frost here, a layer of snow there; it all adds up to make some of Britain’s most stunning scenery. So if you’ve got your layers on and fancy a stroll, here are some of our favourite winter walks around the country.
Old Harry Rocks, Jurassic Coast, Dorset
Whether to fossil-hunt, go kayaking or in this case go on a winter walk, this historic coastline is always a winner.
As you’re strolling towards the rocks, along Old Nick’s Ground, there’s never a dull sight. Up above are the breathtaking views; peregrine falcons flying majestically through the sky, while down amongst you is the ancient woodland. When you reach the peak of the climb, you can see Bournemouth and Poole in one direction, Swanage and Weymouth in the other; it’s a photographer’s dream. It’s worth noting that there are no barriers along the cliffs, so don’t venture too close to the edge.
Parts of the walk will be busy, even in winter – a testament to the area’s beauty. With the grand heights and cold breeze swooping in from the sea, it will be cold, so make sure you’re wrapped up snug. Remember, you can always warm up with a tipple in front of the log fire at the Bankes Arms pub at the end of your excursion.
You could try our walk of the week for a nice circular walk in the area.
Fforest Fawr, Brecon Beacons National Park, Wales
Not far from Cardiff in the Brecon Beacons is this gorgeous area of woodland, moorland and meadows. When the sun is shining and snow has recently fallen, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more appealing place to take a brisk winter walk.
It’s a fantastic spot for both kids and adults alike. You can follow a fun sculpture trail through the forest; soak in the scenery which includes river valleys and crashing waterfalls; learn the history of the area which used to be a royal hunting ground and more. You can easily spend a good half a day stretching your legs around the Fforest Fawr, regardless of the cold weather.
Wastwater, Lake District
Whether you’re a keen walker, budding photographer, landscape artist or you’re just taking your better half on a romantic winter getaway, there’s no better place than the Lake District.
The Wastwater lake in particular is a thing of jaw-dropping beauty; peaceful, quiet (compared to some of the other nearby lakes), and with some of the best views in the whole of Britain. Scratch that – the whole world. We’re lucky to have it on our doorstep, relatively speaking.
It feels truly wild and remote, with its wondrous plunging mountains scattered around the crystal clear water. There’s something about visiting on a cold, frosty yet sunny day that really brings out the best in the Lake District. We recommend starting and ending your winter walking day with a bite to eat and a drop at The Strands Inn pub.
New Forest, Hampshire
You could never get bored of walking through the woodlands of the New Forest. The frost and condensation that winter brings turns it into an enchanting wonderland; there’s definitely something magical here.
While there are many professional guided walks on offer, visitors also have the option to freely make their own way around the vast heathland, admiring the streams, wildlife and long-distance views as you go.
If you feel like escaping the cold for a bit, there are plenty of pleasant pubs in the area – it just depends whereabouts in the forest you are. A couple of establishments to look out are the Empress of Blandings and The Chequers Inn; perfect if you’re in the mood for roaring fires, tasty food and hearty ale.
Meall nan Tarmachan, near Killin, Scotland
If you like your winter walks to make you feel like you’ve been transported to another planet – one consisting entirely of white, snowy mountains and what seems like a never-ending arctic tundra – then get out and hike around Meall nan Tarmachan, near Killin in Scotland.
Beautiful when their natural green, but arguably even more so when covered in snow and surrounded by fog, the views from the peaks you’ll encounter here will stay with you for a very long time. It’s certainly one of the more challenging winter walks on our list (like we said, it could be considered more of a hike than a walk, and surfaces can get icy) but it’s well worth it.
So there you have it. These are just a very small selection of some of the places you can head to over the coming months. It’s impossible to list all of our favourite winter walks (unless you have all day), but the important thing is that you make the most of your scarves, gloves, earmuffs and woolly hats before they go back into hibernation. Hopefully you’ve been packing your winter warmers while you’ve been reading this!