Walking is a free, fun and sociable exercise that almost everyone can enjoy. And with spring upon us, it’s also one of the best ways to keep an eye on nature. Britain is a fantastic place to go walking, offering a wide variety of landscapes and environments without the need to travel very far to reach them. With fields, lanes and parks filled to the brim with daffodils and other spring blooms, whether walking on your own or with a group, there are plenty of opportunities to make the most of the spring weather, wildlife and countryside. Ramblers groups all over the country will be out enjoying the warmer weather, and they have a knack for knowing how to find our country’s hidden natural treasures.
Bluebells have been spotted early this year so keep an eye out for one of nature’s finest displays. Soon fields, footpaths, forests and parks will be sprinkled with shades of violet, indigo and blue as the British Bluebell pops up and joins other spring blooms to greet the balmier weather. The health benefits of walking are endless and it can make a big a difference to people’s lives, both in improving mental and physical wellbeing. Walking for just 30 minutes a day, five times a week can produce endless benefits: it helps to combat osteoarthritis, strengthens joints and muscles, it can dramatically cut diabetes and cardiovascular disease, as well as reducing levels of breast and colon cancer.
If you’re new to walking, joining one of the Ramblers 500 local walking groups will provide the benefit of our experienced walk leaders, a well planned route and the comfort and company of walking with others. There are already over 5000 walks listed on Ramblers' groups walksfinder from now until the beginning of June. The walks are free, open to all, and offer a chance to see Britain’s beautiful woodland and countryside at its loveliest. Once you get started walking there is plenty of advice on the Ramblers website on walking gear, health and safety, maps and navigation, access arrangements for walkers, finding transport and accommodation and organising walking events; and details of popular trails and routes, parks and countryside areas. But whether you want to walk as part of a group or just fancy a Sunday stroll, there’s a walk out there to suit.
Offa’s Dyke, Shropshire
Offa’s Dyke Path National Trail offers a huge diversity of landscapes. This particular section, from Oswestry to llangollen, is less physically demanding than other parts and boasts stunning views of the Ceiriog valley and Chirk Castle. Part of it also takes you across the highest navigable aqueduct ever built.
Distance: 7.5 miles
Start: Oswestry Old Racecourse Country Park
Harting Down, Hampshire
A circular route, the trail starts by following the South Downs Way and finishes at Harting Down, an area of ancient chalk downland within the South Downs National Park. It is also a local nature reserve with an Iron Age hill and earthworks to explore. The final stretch involves an ascent of Beacon Hill for a breathtaking 360-degree panorama of the surrounding Downs.
Distance: 5.5 miles
Constable Country, Essex
The circular walk takes you through the picturesque water meadows and gentle rolling hills that provided inspiration for the work of John Constable, who was born nearby. Ramble through tranquil countryside, including Dedham Vale and the Stour Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Try fit in a visit to Bridge Cottage at Flatford, a small museum dedicated to the artist’s work.
Distance: 7 miles
Start: Dedham Car Park, Mill Lane
The Jurassic Coast, Dorset
The Dorset and East Devon coast was England’s first natural World Heritage Site. One of the most spectacular features is Durdle Door, a dramatic natural archway that lies to the west of Lulworth Cove along a stretch of magnificent coastline. Inland there is excellent walking to be had along the downland ridges, which afford a wealth of extensive views.
Distance: 16 miles
Riverside walk, London
Take this easy circular walk through Bermondsey and along the River Thames to explore London old and new. In under an hour you can take in some of the capital’s major tourist attractions including Tower Bridge, the Tower of London and City Hall, and venture off the tourist trail to enjoy local landmarks such as the gardens of St Mary Magdalene Church.
Distance: 2.3 miles
Start: Artesian Health Centre, 138 Grange Road, SE1 3GF
Ramblers rules: how to stay safe on country walks
Walking in most of Britain should be hassle free but it always helps to be prepared and follow a few simple rules.
- Don’t take unnecessary risks by tackling overly long or difficult routes.
- Take a compass or a map with you on the walk so you always know where you are
- Make sure you have plenty of water and food, especially on longer walks
- Wear appropriate footwear and clothing to suit the weather conditions and length of time you’ll be out.
- Weather in Britain is rarely severe but changeable and often wet. Check the forecast before you set out, always take a waterproof jacket and keep an eye on the sky.
- Take extra care when crossing fields with livestock
To find a Ramblers Easter Weekend walk near you visit www.ramblers.org.uk/walksfinder. For more information and advice on walking or to become a member of Britain’s Walking Charity, visit www.ramblers.org.uk.
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