As the summer holidays approach I have listed 10 of my favourite walks that are well worth driving the extra few miles to do (whether you have kids or not).
I have not selected the obvious choices but ones that are less well known, some will have summits, some will have rivers to walk beside and some are just full of interest. They will all take a minimum of 3 hours. ENJOY.
1. Dow Crag from the Duddon Valley, Lakes
The Duddon Valley is my favourite Lakeland valley and the walk up Dow Crag via Seathwaite Tarn ticks all the boxes. Varied scenery, great views, quiet and a perfect ridge with a dramatic rock face. Even the 3 tarns are so different in stature; however they all nestle dramatically in the mountain scenery.
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2. Hebden Beck and Grimshaw Reservoir, Dales
Hebden Beck is a little gem. 150 years ago it marked the workings of the lead mining industry, today it still cascades through the same Dales landscape but the mines are a thing of the past, memories only. A rough crossing then will take you to Grmshaw Reservoir nested in the moors.
3. Ancient Castles of Mallerstang, Pennines
Heading out of Kirkby Stephen I did not expect a lot but this is an excellent lowland walk through the quiet valley of Mallerstang and sticking close to the embryonic River Eden. The highlight is without doubt the ruins of Pendragon Castle, perched on a small rise near the river, a symbol of a more violent past.
4. Mellbreak and Crummock Water, Lakes
A walk with everything whatever the age. A steep climb up Mellbreak will keep everyone interested, a long flat ridge with great views up the Buttermere valley and then drop to the shores of Crummock Water. Many pass this walk to the upper reaches of the valley, they are making a big mistake.
5. The Lonely Howgills
The Howgills are a rolling series of fells mid way between the Lakes and the Dales which offer a splendid walking on the high ridges. Once the initial slog is over there are miles and miles of easy walking on good, but not eroded, paths with panoramic views in all directions. The return is on a low level path with farms, ponies and dry stone walls.
6. Rosedale Explorer, Moors
I took to the North York Moors on a summer’s day and enjoyed a classic walk in varied scenery that took in the pretty unspoilt valley of Rosedale with some high level walking on the moors. Rosedale Abbey is a good village to start from and there are some pretty hamlets on the walk including a lovely farm selling tea and coffee half way round!
7. Kentmere & Troutbeck, Lakes
There is barely a walker who would travel in to Kentmere and not take on its Horseshoe. I did and there is a great low level walk that links the valleys of Kentmere and Troutbeck, the paths are quiet and I particularly enjoyed the initial section before arriving at High Borrans. I was tempted to climb up to Sallows well but resisted.
8. Discovering the Upper Nidd, Dales
I have revisited the Upper Nidd on many occasions as I do enjoy its feel of remoteness coupled with excellent paths and bridleways. The reservoirs offer a focus for the walk but I prefer the open moorlands and big skies. There is plenty of wildlife out there and starting and finishing at Lofthouse or Middlesmoor is always a pleasure
9. Ridges over Dovedale, Lakes
Hidden amongst the giants of the Ullswater Valley is a circuit of the steep sided Dovedale. A long easy angled ridge leads on to the Fairfield Horseshoe where the ridge becomes rockier. However the views are tremendous with the Lake District laid out in front of you. It is difficult not to spot one of the giants. The return over High Hartsopp is spot on, a walk to take your time.
10. Limestone walking from Austwick, Dales
The limestone scenery of the Western Dales offer some of the best walking country in Britain. In a triangle between Ingleton, Malham and Settle the exposed rock glistens white on the scars and pavements that dominate the scenery. This walk from Austwick showcases the lands beautifully and takes in some isolated farms and the perfect village of Austwick as well.
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