Three top walking destinations in the UK

As autumn arrives, it’s time to get your boots on and head for the country, says Chris Carter

This week, keen hikers are heading to South Wales for the Gower Walking Festival (gowerwalkingfestival.uk), which runs until Sunday 19 September. The festival, postponed since June and pared back this year due to the pandemic, aims to celebrate the peninsula’s landscape and heritage with events that vary in terrain, distance and setting, says Liz Edwards in The Sunday Times. Of course, walkers can and do come here all year round, but the festival brings together visitors and locals, and attracts new walkers. Even locals don’t know all the footpaths, which is what makes the guided walks so interesting. The main event on Sunday is a free, family-friendly rock-pooling walk in Bracelet Bay. “At low tide we found limestone rocks knobbly with limpets, glossy heaps of bladderwrack, carrageen and laver seaweeds, and countless pools”, says Edwards, on a preview visit. “It was empty… and at each new pool we felt like explorers.” 

Hurrah for the lumberjills

Thetford Forest, Britain’s largest lowland forest, straddling the Suffolk-Norfolk border, hasn’t been a forest for very long, says Nick Hallissey in Country Walking magazine. This ancient region, called the Brecks, was originally sandy heathland, and in Neolithic times, it was worked heavily for flint-mining. In the Middle Ages, the land was broken up (“Brecks” means “broken land”) into tithed parcels for cultivation, which led to damaged soil, unmanaged irrigation and stripped woodland. Sand blew in and eventually the landscape came to resemble a sandy desert. During World War I, Britain developed a thirst for timber, and the area was identified as a prime planting zone. The new forest was tended to by the Women’s Land Army during World War II, who, as “lumberjills”, tended to every aspect of its management. Today, Thetford Forest, “mature and proud”, abounds with trails. It is a place “where wildlife can thrive, kids can play and walkers can walk”.

Ireland’s Appalachian Trail

The Appalachian Trail wasn’t content with its thousands of kilometres spanning the eastern US, says Sarah Baxter for Wanderlust magazine. The International Appalachian Trail (IAT) has spread across borders, linking what was once a single mountain range “rippling across the supercontinent of Pangea 175 million years ago”. The IAT’s Ulster chapter (walkni.com/iat) runs 485km along the north of the island of Ireland and has just been improved with new signs and trail art. It’s a diverse route, starting on the Atlantic coast by the “sea-smacked” peak of Slieve League. It then heads into the Blue Stack Mountains, “past peaceful Lough Eske and Killeter Forest, via the Sperrins (Glenelly Valley is a highlight), along the rocks and bays of the Causeway Coast and through the glens of Antrim, finishing by the Irish Sea at Larne”.

Recommended

Sterling crashes to its lowest since 1985 after mini-Budget
Currencies

Sterling crashes to its lowest since 1985 after mini-Budget

The pound has fallen hard and is heading towards parity with the US dollar. Saloni Sardana explains why, and what it means for the UK, for markets and…
23 Sep 2022
Earn 3.7% from the best savings accounts
Savings

Earn 3.7% from the best savings accounts

With inflation topping 10%, your savings won't keep pace with the rising cost of living. But you can at least slow the rate at which your money is los…
23 Sep 2022
Three top-notch Asian stocks to buy
Share tips

Three top-notch Asian stocks to buy

Professional investors Adrian Lim and Pruksa Iamthongthong, managers of the Asia Dragon Trust, pick three of their favourite Asian stocks to buy now.
23 Sep 2022
How to use Section 75 credit card protection for your purchases
Credit cards

How to use Section 75 credit card protection for your purchases

Your credit card can give you extra protection when the goods or services you purchase fall short of your expectations. Ruth Jackson-Kirby explains ho…
23 Sep 2022

Most Popular

Why we should abolish stamp duty – the worst tax in Britain
Tax

Why we should abolish stamp duty – the worst tax in Britain

Stamp duty is Britain’s most horrible tax. We should forget cutting it and abolish it altogether, says Merryn Somerset Webb.
22 Sep 2022
Mini-Budget: stamp duty and income tax cut as Kwarteng targets growth
Tax

Mini-Budget: stamp duty and income tax cut as Kwarteng targets growth

Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng announced sweeping tax cuts in his mini-Budget statement. Here's what was said.
23 Sep 2022
Could gold be the basis for a new global currency?
Gold

Could gold be the basis for a new global currency?

Gold has always been the most reliable form of money. Now collaboration between China and Russia could lead to a new gold-backed means of exchange – g…
22 Sep 2022