Here are some of the best awe-inspiring countryside trials in Britain to get you feeling fighting fit.
Miners Way Trail – Dolaucothi Gold Mine, Carmarthenshire
Step back in time on this historical National Trust Miners Way walking trail. Retrace the steps of gold miners through the ages: from the mine entrances used by the Romans extracting gold for the Imperial Mint, to the remains of the crushing mill used in the 1930s. This one mile route includes a moderately steep climb and mixed terrain such as grass, woodland paths and a country lane, so sturdy shoes will be helpful. nationaltrust.org.uk/dolaucothi-gold-mines
Albana walk and Trim Trail – Ickworth, Suffolk
This circular route winds through the woodlands around Ickworth, passing some of the estate’s highlights such as the Italianate garden and the old deer park, which is now used as a sheep enclosure. Those keen to build up their fitness levels can take a detour to the Trim Trail, where adults and children alike can try their hand at various challenges from pole-climbing to ladder walks and leap frog. nationaltrust.org.uk/ickworth/trails
Trelissick to Roundwood Quay – Trelissick, Cornwall
Trelissick sits on its own peninsula, surrounded by water on three sides. This four-mile route follows the River Fal for part of its length before heading inland, so you can get fit while still enjoying spectacular views over water, woods and grazed farmland. The terrain is fairly easy-going so it’s great for beginners, with one short, steep climb at the end for a bit more of a challenge. Trelissick also hosts a 5km Parkrun every Saturday from 9 – 10am. This is a free event, but you’ll need to register beforehand at parkrun.org.uk/trelissick.
Walking Challenge! Wiltshire
The National Trust’s Wiltshire Landscape team have created a series of routes ranging from around four miles to nearly ten miles in length – your challenge is to complete all of the walks before 31st December 2018. If you manage it, you can enter a draw to win a prize. Whether you are walking up on the downs or down in the coombes, you’ll get to explore places rich in archaeology, wildlife and plants. Registration for the challenge is £12 nationaltrust.org.uk/avebury
Octavia Hill Trails – Toys Hill, Kent
Octavia Hill was a social reformer, philanthropist, artist, writer and co-founder of the National Trust. These two trails celebrate her life, passing through the countryside where she was born and lived, and which inspired her mission to provide open spaces for everyone to enjoy. The four and six mile routes can be done separately, but when combined they form a 10-mile figure-of-eight trail of varied terrain that is great for stretching your legs and building stamina. As a reward for your efforts, you’ll be able to enjoy spectacular views over the Weald of Kent, and celebrate Octavia’s life passing Crockham Hill village and the church where she is buried, up to Mariners Hill and on past Chartwell, former home of Winston Churchill. nationaltrust.org.uk/toys-hill
White Horse Hill to Ashdown – White Horse Hill, Oxfordshire
If you’re game for a challenge, this seven and a half mile trail is well worth the effort. As well as enjoying far-reaching views over six counties, you’ll be able explore history as you wander from the Neolithic burial mound of Waylands Smithy to the 17th Century mansion of Ashdown House. That’s not to mention the famous Uffington White Horse, the oldest dated chalk figure in England. nationaltrust.org.uk/white-horse-hill
Old Harry Rocks – Studland, Dorset
It’s much easier to find the motivation to exercise when you’ve got a good view. This three and a half mile route includes the most famous landmarks on the Jurassic Coast – the Old Harry Rocks chalk stacks on Studland. With miles of golden sandy beaches, the dramatic history of Studland Bay and internationally important heathlands, this is the British coastline at its most beautiful.
Monthly ‘Trust 10k’ runs
This 10km running route is open all year round, but the National Trust hosts special ‘Trust10’ events every month so you can enjoy the experience with fellow runners, and marshals on hand at points to give you extra motivation. To run the route by yourself, download the map from runtogether.co.uk/routes and keep an eye out for the pink waymarkers. nationaltrust.org.uk/features/trust10-trail-runs
Nordic walking course.
Nordic walking is currently the fastest growing fitness activity in the world as it is a safe and effective way to get fitter, meet new friends and enjoy the great outdoors. This course will teach you the basics over three sessions, all against the beautiful backdrop of Studland Bay. The price is £45 for the course. Booking is essential, please see website for dates and further information; nationaltrust.org.uk/studland-bay
Obelisk Trail, Nostell, Yorkshire
With over 300 acres of parkland to explore, Nostell is the perfect place for a gentle walk, or to push yourself with a run. The two mile Obelisk trail is a good starting point for exploring the parkland; leading you through peaceful woodland, pasture and meadows. With surfaced paths the whole way along, it’s a great option for spring when other trails start to turn muddy. Don’t forget to listen out for woodpeckers or spot early snowdrops and migratory birds. If you need a bit more motivation to get you going, why not try Nostell’s Saturday morning parkrun. It’s free to join in, just register online beforehand at parkrun.org.uk/nostell.
See Nostell’s grand mansion, lakes and imposing Obelisk Lodge in a new light on a Night Run around this historic estate. There are plenty of other activities to keep you and your supporters entertained, from family crafts and games in the stables to warming refreshments in the café. There’ll even be prizes for the best-dressed competitors! Booking is essential, for further details please visit nationaltrust.org.uk/features/book-your-night-run.
Mam Tor and Kinder Scout – Peak District
Whether you’re walking or running, the steps up to the top of Mam Tor are sure to get you working that bit harder. Fortunately the views from the top are more than worth the effort; providing a dramatic 360 degree panorama over the Derwent Moors and the Edale valley. Alternatively visit nearby Kinder Scout, the highest spot in the Peak District, for a longer eight mile walk over more challenging terrain. visitpeakdistrict.com
Full Estate Trail – Speke Hall, Merseyside
Explore the full Speke Hall estate on this two mile route and let the fine views of the Wirral, North Wales and even Liverpool’s city centre skyline inspire you. The varied terrain includes gravel and grass paths, plus some woodland tracks, so there’s plenty to keep your interest. There’s also Trust10, a free monthly 10km trail run, every fourth Sunday, 9 – 10.45am. Here you follow a special route through the beautiful landscape of Speke Hall, and then finish off the experience in the café with a warming treat. Find out more at nationaltrust.org.uk/speke-hall-garden-and-estate
Ashclyst Forest Trail, Killerton, Devon
Whether you’re after a good walk through beautiful landscape or an antidote to road running, Killerton is the place for you. With over 60 miles of footpaths there’s no shortage of places to explore, from parkland and rolling hill to dense woodland. If you’re after something a bit more challenging then Ashclyst Forest has a good mix of terrain to test your fitness. nationaltrust.org.uk/ashclyst-forest
All Seasons Trail, Clumber Park, Nottinghamshire
Clumber’s 3,800 acres are criss-crossed with maintained trails and woodland paths, so there’s no shortage of opportunities to explore on foot. The estate is largely flat with a few small inclines, so it’s great for novice walkers and runner who aren’t yet ready to tackle steep hills. For a good two mile stretch try the ‘all seasons’ trail, which provides gentle introduction to Clumber’s woodland, heathland and lakeside views. If you prefer a bit of company when you exercise, Clumber’s 5km Parkrun is at 9am every Saturday. No charge, just register online before the event; parkrun.org.uk/clumberpark
Once a fortnight you can join in with a four mile ‘Feel Good Friday’ run around the beautiful Tyntesfield estate. Led by members of Nailsea Running Club, you can start your day with a gentle jog through woodland, parkland and the formal gardens surrounding the distinctive Victorian Gothic house. The run is open to all running abilities so no one will be left behind, and you can warm up afterwards with a tea or coffee in the Cow Barn restaurant. nationaltrust.org.uk/tyntesfield
Pule Hill Walk, Marsden Moor, West Yorkshire
For a good introduction to walking at Marsden, look no further than the 4.5 mile Pule Hill trail. This circular walk starts along the canal towpath before gently contouring around the sides of Pule Hill, offering views over the moorland and the remains of the area’s industrial mill heritage, as you pass the Engine House and ventilation shafts that extend down to the railway and canal tunnels below. nationaltrust.org.uk/marsden-moor-estate/trails/pule-hill-walk
The local National Trust team also offer guided walks, which are a great option if you’re new to the area or would just like to walk in a friendly group. There are many different types of guided walk with something to suit everyone, from slow-paced walks to more challenging hikes.
Every Monday, 10.15am-12.15pm The National Trust in West Yorkshire offer weekly walks suitable for both novices and experienced walkers, allowing you to develop your Nordic walking technique. This activity uses 90% of muscles but reduces stress on joints, so it’s a great way to increase fitness. Each walk covers approximately 3 miles, and equipment is provided. It is free, however donations are welcome. Booking line: 07761 488745.
Every second and fourth Wednesday, 10.45am-1pm The National Trust offer 2-4 mile ‘Health Walks’ with fresh air, beautiful scenery and good company, guided by experienced walk leaders, who take you around the Marsden countryside, with all the benefits of walking in the great outdoors.
Giant’s Causeway, County Antrim
If you’re looking for something to motivate you to get outside, the spectacular scenery of Giant’s Causeway could be just the thing. This World Heritage Site offers plenty of interest to keep your mind active while you walk or run along the trails. The Yellow Trail is just under two miles long and stretched all the way along the causeway coastline: a great introduction to the landscape. nationaltrust.org.uk/giants-causeway
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