Walking and Hiking

A Comprehensive Guide on Walking and Hiking in the UK

Walking and hiking are common outdoor recreational activities in the United Kingdom, and there is an extensive network of rights of way which allows access to the countryside. In fact, after the implementation of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, access to most unenclosed and uncultivated property has expanded. 

In the United Kingdom walking is used to define a variety of events, from walking in the park to hiking in the Alps. In the UK, apart from the word hiking, “rambling” is also used. The Ramblers are the main organization that supports walking. Walking in mountainous zones in the UK is known as hillwalking, while in the Yorkshire Dales, Lake District, and Northern England, it’s called fell walking, after the dialect expression fell, for uncultivated and high land. Sometimes mountaineering can involve scrambling. 

Walking isn’t just a pleasant workout, it’s just a perfect way to enjoy yourself when you get out and walk in the country. This piece aims to satisfy both novices and expert hikers with plenty of guidance on the gear needed to walk, actions to take where there’s an emergency, and the best places and way to walk. 

What is the difference between Hiking and Walking?

Hiking is carried out on natural trails, as well as in natural areas such as parks, deserts, or forests. The gears used include poles or walking sticks, hiking boots, or shoes; often, if the climb is lengthy, you’d need an outdoor safety clothing. Due to hills and uneven surfaces, hiking is usually greater than walking and burns more calories. Hiking frequency varies though but sometimes limited by season. 

Walking on the other hand is done on sand, concrete, gravel, and a treadmill or indoors. This may be achieved everywhere, from parks, sidewalks, or shopping malls. Used gears may just be walking shoes. Walking is less strenuous than hiking but as part of a regular fitness routine, its frequency is often, two or more days a week. 

Learning to Walk and Hike

There is trail etiquette that needs to be learnt like the notion of leaving no trace around, including knowledge of the correct gears to wear. You will need to come along with your water and learn how to manage bathroom needs properly. 

It’s smart to do a little training before you head for a long walk or hike if you seldom practice this, or have only walked on paved or flat surfaces before. High-altitude walking exercise has two targets. First, you usually need to develop your cardiovascular fitness by performing exercises that can allow you to exercise intensely and maintain the effort to maximize time. You do have to focus on doing those hill exercises or improving the treadmill’s incline so your muscles are primed. 

10 Common Hiking Mistakes Made By Beginners

Beginners in hiking may sometimes forget to take important items along which might make it tough uphill. OK, here’s what it takes to escape such trouble. 

  • Verify that your phone is fully charged  
  • A packed lunch/snacks can offer a much-required boost to strength 
  • Take abundant water with you 
  • You shouldn’t put on trainers (especially for hiking rather than walking) 
  • Carry some bandages, emergency blanket, and plasters 
  • Taking wet wipes will help a lot
  • A traditional paper map is never going to let you down 
  • Take a spare fleece or hoodie (in case there’d be cold) 
  • You should do things at your pace not rushing.
  •  Before you go let another person know where you’re hiking.

Types of Walking Route

Walking as an activity can be virtually done anywhere. Several people may not consider themselves to be ‘devoted’ walkers in the true sense of the word, but they still regularly walk even though that might mean a 20-minute walk around their playground or local park, or walking to shops. However, there are practically hundreds of walks that can be classified by those that want their walks to be more formal. 

  • National Trails: These are trails that have been officially recognised, designated, and managed by either the Countryside Council for Wales or the Countryside Agency in Wales or England. These involve some of Britain’s most popular, well-loved, and frequently traversed roads, passing across areas with outstanding national beauty with much to do and see by the way. They are all labelled using an acorn as their emblem and were all written thoroughly with various guide books released to assist you on your journey. Any of these trails on certain links found inside this website are illustrated in greater detail. 
  • Long Distance Routes: These are the equivalent of the National Trails for Scotland. They are the responsibility of the relevant Scottish local authorities passing through the routes and were also chosen because they pass through places. The long-distance routes are waymarked with an emblem of thistle and have exceptional national beauty. Six of Scotland’s great trails are long-distance routes that run in and across the national park and form part of Scotland’s national walking network and also have foreign connections. You will see some of the country’s most beautiful scenery and create plenty of new findings. And when you finish a long-distance path nothing beats the feeling of accomplishment. 

Every path is characteristically located off-road, and is at least 25 miles long, making it suitable for day and multi-day trips.

  • Recreational Routes: With the trails earlier mentioned, there are many more signposted walking routes for you. Local authorities built them more frequently than not with support from local ramblers’ groups and other experienced walkers who banded together to care for and preserve them. These come in all kinds of types and lengths – from brief wellness walks to long-distance treks, but each path is labelled with its branding to keep you on the right track. 
  • Unmarked Routes: They are walks that have been documented online or in books as paths that might be of special interest to walkers, but are not publicly approved routes, not classified as waymarks or the responsibility of any single agency. The Coast to Coast walk in Northern England, designed by Alfred Wainwright, a well-known hill walker, and writer, links the Irish Sea to the North Sea on the East coast of England and crosses 3 National Parks along its way, is one of the most popular of these styles of road. 

Studies find that walking in natural settings or parks provides advantages in terms of stress reduction and mental well-being. If you usually go walking in a gym or on a treadmill, consider adding short walks to your fitness routine in local parks. 

Best Places to Walk and Hike in the UK

Walking and hiking are common outdoor recreational activities in the United Kingdom, and there is an extensive network of rights of way which allows access to the countryside. In fact, after the implementation of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, access to most unenclosed and uncultivated property has expanded. 

In the United Kingdom walking is used to define a variety of events, from walking in the park to hiking in the Alps. In the UK, apart from the word hiking, “rambling” is also used. The Ramblers are the main organization that supports walking. Walking in mountainous zones in the UK is known as hillwalking, while in the Yorkshire Dales, Lake District, and Northern England, it’s called fell walking, after the dialect expression fell, for uncultivated and high land. Sometimes mountaineering can involve scrambling. 

Walking isn’t just a pleasant workout, it’s just a perfect way to enjoy yourself when you get out and walk in the country. This piece aims to satisfy both novices and expert hikers with plenty of guidance on the gear needed to walk, actions to take where there’s an emergency, and the best places and way to walk. 

South Downs Way

The South Downs Way at 100 miles long and running from Winchester to Eastbourne, features some of the most spectacular coastal scenery in England. For more than 8,000 years, people have walked this chalky hill, rendering the 100-mile (160 km) path from Winchester to Eastbourne very historic and scenic. As you move along you can see indications of past existence that date back to the Neolithic period, in the form of dips left by old flint mines in the soil. If you will be spending your holiday in this area, The Sewanee Inn, Best Western Inn Winchester, and Quality Inn Decherd are great accommodations to book close to the South Downs Way. 

While, there are traces of Iron Age hillforts scattered in many areas, Bronze Age Tumuli (rounded mounds) and the ruins of Roman roads that lined the Downs in parchments. There are enthralling museums all open to the public including ancient castles, Roman villas, and old buildings.

The Cotswold Way National Trail

Enjoy a summer holiday and stroll down the Cotswold Way, stopping along the way at special lodging places nestled in peaceful areas. 

This route provides more than 100 miles of beautiful walking, including long-distance views from the Cotswold escarpment and journeys across picturesque Cotswold honey-colored towns, through popular ancient sites and local attractions. 

Beautiful handmade stone markers are placed at Bath and Chipping Campden and it will help you realise when you’ve finished the trail so you get the heady feeling of accomplishment. If you will be spending your holiday in this area, Charingworth Manor, Woolmarket House, and The Lodge at Broadway, are great accommodations to book close to the Cotswold’s Way National Trail.

Marsden Moor

Walk, climb, or cycle your way through this rough wild landscape steeped in ancient times that has inspired people from prehistoric times. Hill-walkers, tourists, ramblers, and thrill-seekers can delight in the miles of unspoiled moorland, calm lakes, lush wooded valleys, and rugged peaks that make up Marsden Moor’s spectacular landscape. The field spans over 5,000 acres and is part of the South Pennines. It’s also part of the national park of the Peak District, host to an array of wildlife. The old goods yard show brings the Moor to life and can steal your heart away from the spectacular 360-degree views at Buckstones. If you will be spending your holiday in this area, Coddy’s Farm, The Alma Inn, and Kirk Lea Guest House are great accommodations to book close to the Marsden Moor.

The South Foreland Lighthouse Walk

A fast, scenic path perfect for a beginner, the South Foreland Lighthouse Walk along the southeast coast of England brings in one of the most popular natural scenery in the country: the Dover White Cliffs. Beginning at the White Cliffs Visitor Center, the 4-mile (6.4km) walk winds along past cliff-top sites showing the importance of the coastline during World War II including Langdon Hole, an underground tunnel system that previously housed a war-time radio command center. It finishes at the magnificent south foreland lighthouse, built-in 1843. On a good day, step up to the peak and you’ll be treated with spectacular views over the English Channel to France. If you will be spending your holiday in this area, the Maison Dieu Guest House, Beulah House Apartments, and Hillview are great accommodations to book close to the South Foreland Lighthouse.

The Lizard Peninsula Coast of Cornwall

Down in Cornwall on the southernmost point of mainland Britain is the Lizard Peninsula, a scenic stretch of land dotted with picturesque coves and small, unspoiled fishing villages. The lizard coastline is connected by the South West Coast route from the nice town of Porthleven to the quiet village of Helford, which is one of its most common stretches. Home to uncommon flora and fauna, the coast of the lizard peninsula is a paradise for nature lovers, particularly in spring and midsummer when its mild environment sees species flowering including fringed rupturewort. If you will be spending your holiday in this area, Haelarcher Farmhouse, Cadgwith Cove Inn, and Mullion Cove Hotel & Spa are great accommodations to book close to the Lizard Peninsula Coast of Cornwall.

Glenfinnan Viaduct Trail

This is a one to two-hour walk. The railway bridge from the Harry Potter movies is located here. The Glenfinnan Viaduct path has a length of 2.5 miles (4 km) and promises nice benefits, such as views of Loch Shiel and a visit to the beautiful Glenfinnan monument, which is a memorial to Jacobite clans and was built in 1815. If you will be spending your holiday in this area, The Prince’s House Hotel, The Old Library & Lodge, and Berkeley House are great accommodations to book close to the Glenfinnan Viaduct Trail.

Coire Gabhail Walk

Famous for its atmospheric peaks, bloody history, and taking a star turn in a little-known film about a spy called James Bond (had ever heard of him?!), Glen Coe is also a gateway to a myriad of stunning walks in the western Highlands. Move into Coire Gabhail’s secret country, known as the Lost Valley, for a rough and ready trek of two to three hours across 2.5 miles (4 km) of breathtaking mountain scenery. It’s not just a nice spot for a photo either – it still has a fascinating background, and is claimed to be where the Macdonald clan used to conceal from their neighbours the cattle they’d rustled. If you will be spending your holiday in this area, RiverBeds Lodges with Hot Tubs, Holly Tree Hotel and Swimming Pool, and  The Glencoe Inn, are great accommodations to book close to the Coire Gabhail.

Lancashire Walk

Lancashire provides numerous options for walking and hiking, including a variety of high ground locations like the Gragareth (close to Whernside), the highest point, at 627 metres. The Gragareth Rivers drain westward to the Pennines. The coast is supported by a plain on the coast. Excellent walking areas include Beacon Fell Country Park, Arnside, and Silverdale AONB, and the Bowland AONB Forest that includes Pendle Hill. Further south is the Rossendale Forest and the West Pennine Moors. If you will be spending your holiday in this area, Royal Oak Hotel, Garstang, The old joinery at the Trawden Arms, and Willows by Marston’s Inn, are great accommodations to book close to the Lancashire. 

Dorset Walk

Dorset is a stunning county where you can stroll with a diverse scenery featuring granite ridges, chalk downs, a magnificent coast, and low-lying valleys. The walking is mainly rural providing spectacular scenery and charming villages. Given its geological value, most of the coast is part of the Jurassic coast environmental world heritage site, including Lulworth Cove, Durdle port, and Chesil Beach. If you will be spending your holiday in this area, Horton Inn, The Kings Arms, and Guest Suite at 31 Little England, are great accommodations to book close to Dorset.

Lake District Walk

No one would doubt this beautiful jewel as the most frequented National Park in England. This beautiful area is filled with mountains, hills, valleys, and lakes. The sheer assortment of landscapes across the area means that just about anyone can make a hike that suits. 

The countless lakes and endless rolling hills are the perfect places to admire the setting and get away from it all if you prefer to take an easy stroll. Yet if you’re ready for a true adventure head to the park and scale the highest mountain in England – Scafell Pike. Those who get to the top of the 3,209-foot peak will be rewarded with an unparalleled sense of tranquility with amazing park views. If you will be spending your holiday in this area, The Coniston Inn, The Crown Inn, and Lakeland House are great accommodations to book close to the Lake District.

Isle of Skye Walk

Inner Hebrides’ largest island, linked by a bridge to the northwest of Scotland, is appreciated for its quaint fishing villages, stunning scenery, and historical castles. Due to its abundance of hiking facilities, it continues to attract thousands of walkers from across the globe each year. Host to a rocky rough coastline and the snow-topped Cuillin Mountain Range that boldly peaks above the majority of the country, those searching for adventure are truly spoiled for options. If you will be spending your holiday in this area,  the Breakish Escape, Greshornish House Hotel, and Roskhill Croft House B&B, are great accommodations to book close to the Isle of Skye.

Snowdonia Walk

Snowdonia is host to Britain’s most clustered region with 3,000ft peaks and is considered as a haven for tourists. This region is known for its outstanding natural scenery, fast-flowing rivers, magnificent mountain ranges, and full of idyllic reservoirs. Wander the lower grounds and enjoy wild goats and horses, get lost in ancient Welsh woods, and spectacular waterfalls.

Yet for others, the attraction to North Wales is Mount Snowdon itself. For the unbeatable views, the rugged, challenging climb is more than worth it – on a good day, you can see as far as the Irish coast. It’s a test climb at 3,560ft that can be risky, so be careful – monitor the forecast and invest in good walking shoes. If you will be spending your holiday in this area, Ty Newydd Guest House, The Waterloo Hotel, and Bluebells guest house are great accommodations to book close to Snowdonia.

Yorkshire Dale’s Walk

The Yorkshire Dales is host to some of Britain’s finest hikes. Ticking off the three tallest mountains in the country is a fantastic feat and can be achieved in only one day. This isn’t a callous exploit – it’s hiking a 24-mile loop with over 1,600m of climbing as you climb in less than 12 hours over Whernside, Ingleborough, and Pen-y-Ghent. From all three peaks, there are impressive viewpoints and often interesting geology, such as the two separate sills of Pen-y-Ghent – the lower is calcareous the higher grit stone. If you’re keen on an adventure, but you’re weak in time, this is your stroll. If you will be spending your holiday in this area, Whoop Hall Hotel and Leisure, The Fat Lamb Country Inn and Nature Reserve, and 3 Millstones Inn, are great accommodations to book close to the Yorkshire Dales.

What to Wear Hiking

The first question everyone should pose themselves would be along the lines of, what is a good walking outfit when they go off for their first hike? When you usually have no experience with hiking or outdoor training, it may be overwhelming to set yourself up completely on your own. Here are a wardrobe reference and hiking gear you can learn everything before you set out. 

  • Waterproof jacket: The most essential thing to carry with you in the UK is a waterproof jacket to cover you from rain and keep you dry at high altitudes. For strenuous climbs, breathable design is suggested. 
  • Baselayers: A quick-drying or wicking baselayer top is highly recommended to help regulate your body temperature while you are on a hike. Leggings can also be a useful layer under your waterproof trousers, in case of the cold. 
  • Walking trousers: A pair of elastic walking trousers, shorts of zipping offs are perfect for walking, you can also carry a pair of waterproof over trousers along for they are ideal when it’s raining.
  • Backpack: You’re going to want a backpack that fits all you need for the hike without weighing you down. You’ll need plenty of space for drinks, food, extra blankets, and things like your keys and phone. 
  • Walking shoes/boots: it is important to have a good pair of walking boots. When moving downhill and getting strong control over rough or uneven surfaces they need to protect the ankles. A proper match is also important, blisters can inflict a lot of discomfort and make you slow down. 
  • Walking Socks: These will give your feet an extra layer of cushioning on walks or hikes. Depending on the conditions, you may choose between merino wool, anti-bacterial or IsoCool socks. 
  • Gloves: A pair of insulated or waterproof gloves can he

Accessories for Hiking

Some extra accessories can take your hike from comfortable to luxurious downright. Here are a few suggestions. 

  • Sunglasses: Particularly helpful when walking snowy terrain, even in beautiful summer days. Close your head, and drink in the views. 
  • Sunhat: Sunhats are helpful to keep the sun out of your head, and to shield vulnerable areas such as the neck, hairline, and face from sun rays. 
  • Gaiters: Keep dirt, burrs, gaiters, and mud hanging out of your shoes. Gaiters easily attach to hiking boots or shoes and come for wet and rainy conditions in a Goretex version too. 
  • Microspikes: If you walk on hard snow or ice, microspikes become a true game-changer. With the sort of landscape you’re walking, there are a few specific types of microspikes, so whether you don’t want to or need to invest in crampons, a set of microspikes would be helpful. 
  • Walking poles: a pair of walking poles on steep hills will improve your equilibrium and take some of the burdens off your joints. 
  • Chart/compass: the last thing you want to get lost when you climb in a new place!cell signals aren’t quite accurate and when equipment fails, a good old-fashioned chart is really handy. 
  • First Aid Kit: Being prepared can’t hurt, but lots of things can happen in rough terrains. Plasters, antiseptic wipes, blister therapy, pain relief medicines are all useful to keep you on. 
  • Torch: Visibility will unexpectedly deteriorate on the hillside, or anywhere you are trekking, so just carry a head torch or flashlight in case!
  • Eat and Drink: Prepare a lunch if you’re going to stay out much of the day, as well as desserts such as Kendal Mint Cake or other sugary treats to hold up your energy levels. It’s also advised that plenty of liquids stay hydrated. 
  • Suncream: Take the suncream to stay on the safe side even though it doesn’t feel warm before you start. 
  • Insect Repellent: When you’re loving the great outdoors, there are possibilities the bugs would love it too so don’t let them spoil your day. 
  • Multi-Tools: You might not know when you’re going to need pliers, a penknife, or sight so pack a compact multi-tool and get ready for anything.
  • Additional Layers and Socks: Bring any additional clothes as it gets chilly and a pair of warm socks if yours gets dirty!
  • Camping equipment: When going for a longer hiking trip then tents, sleeping bags, cooking facilities, and furniture will make life a little simpler. 

What to Do in an Emergency When Hiking?

People always claim avoidance is easier than treatment, and that is never truer than when you are on an adventure outside. To prevent collisions, casualties, and medical conditions it is important to exercise the best judgment and to obey common precautionary procedures.

  • Make sure to inform someone else on where you are setting out as your destination in hiking or walking before setting out.
  • When setting out, make sure that you have made a wise choice dependent on weather predictions and knowledge of your skill level.
  • At the least, equip yourself with the basics: a good waterproof jacket, waterproof trousers, base layers and fleece or thermal blankets, a cap, gloves, warm socks, and durable waterproof boots, and an ice axis and crampons or traction aids when ice and snow are anticipated.
  • If an accident happens, you will learn whether to call 112 or 999: the two mobile numbers you should recognize. 112 is going to put an emergency call somewhere in the country, although 999 is UK regional. However, all operate the same way in the UK and are easy to phone, and the connection should go straight through to the police when you dial either. Police are responsible for coordinating mountain rescue, and they can determine whether you require police help, an ambulance, fire brigade, coastal rescue, or mountain rescue.
  • Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs): PLBs are personal protection tools that send out a distress signal via satellite and an identity code when enabled. More sophisticated units have a GPS processor and even monitor your latitude and longitude position.
  • GPS Locator Most smartphones are equipped with an integrated GPS, so you should be able to find out your exact location as a reference OS grid. You could buy a navigation app like OS Maps or ViewRanger. There are also free GPS apps that you can use, like the GPS Test, Android app.
  • Always carry at least a miniature version of the classic first aid box with you if possible. That will be of priceless value if someone gets hurt or needs medical help. Being well versed in providing first aid is a great skill to have, especially if you happen to be the patient. 

What Else Do I Need to Know ?

How to Make an Emergency or Distress Signal

In case you are trapped in a situation where you are physically unable to contact emergency services, or your communication devices are not functional, it is essential to be fully aware of how to make an emergency or distress signal. Bring a flashlight and whistle at all times with you – these simple devices are sure to take you out of a tough scenario. Six bursts of a whistle form the universal warning signal, with a period of one minute for every six strikes. If anyone picks up your blasts you will anticipate three whistles to come back. If there is no answer, proceed to perform the six-whistle-blast process to attract more attention to your position. 

How can hiking injuries be prevented?

A good place to start is to fit the shoes and socks correctly to avoid blisters. Keeping your feet dry or unwet over long periods will also help to prevent blisters. Apply a layer of moleskin and athletic tape as soon as you feel one, to avoid rupture. 

Can a Walker Become a Hiker?

Walkers can spice up their walking routines across to the wild. When you stay next to a natural place, you’ll possibly love walking there at least sometimes. Before you go for a hike, be sure that you’re up to the challenge of walking on trails or uphill where roots and rocks exist. 

How long should a day hike be?

A hiking speed of 4–6km per hour is normal to good on flat terrain. Add half-hour for every 300 m of elevation rise. Hiking times differ a great deal depending on the landscape. 

Can you wear jeans on a hike?

Although hard denim jeans can be an appropriate option for a day outdoor job, you need sheet fabrics to cover up while you’re on hiking. For a safer option than jeans, look for a pair of wicking leggings or long underwear lined with hiking boots. 

How much water should you bring on a hike?

A strong general guideline for normal exercise at high temperatures is around a half-liter of water every hour. You can need to increase how frequently you drink because the action increases in temperature and strength. Strenuous high-heat hiking, for example, may require you to drink 1 liter of water or more every hour. 

How does hiking change your body?

It boosts your blood pressure and blood sugar. Improve bone mass, since walking is a weight-bearing workout. Develop resilience in the quadriceps, glutes, thighs and lower leg muscles, and hamstrings.