It’s English Tourism Week (5-13th March 2016), so what better way to celebrate the beauty and diversity of the English countryside than by donning your walking boots (and packing some waterproofs – just in case) and getting out and enjoying our national trails?
Walking, hiking, rambling – however you choose to describe your outdoor wanderings; we are spoilt for choice in England and whether you’re a long-distance enthusiast, or prefer just to take a gentle stroll in beautiful surroundings, there really is a route for everyone.
It’s important to take due care and stay safe whilst you are out and about in the Great British countryside. Always ensure that someone knows your intended route and how long you plan to be. Take care when crossing or walking along roads, or passing through fields containing livestock. If you are injured in an accident that was someone else’s fault, our personal injury solicitors can offer free advice on whether you can make a claim and help you recover damages.
Walking is a great way to exercise and unwind too – so if you are looking for inspiration on where to ramble during English Tourism week, a good starting point is to walk a section of one of our National Trails. These were developed after World War II from a desire to keep areas of Britain ‘special’ and to protect wild areas from post-war development. England has 12 dedicated National Trail routes and we have given a brief overview of these below:
The Cleveland Way
Distance: 110 miles
A rugged and spectacular coast and moorland route, much of which is within the boundaries of the North Yorkshire Moors National Park. It was the second National Trail to be opened in England and Wales and walkers don’t have to be over faced by the 110 mile distance – there are a variety of less strenuous circular walks on the trail including 1 and 2 day walks, and shorter, easy access routes too.
The Cotswolds Way
Distance: 102 miles
This long-distance route offers walkers long distance views from the Cotswold escarpment, running from the market town of Chipping Campden to the city of Bath. There are also a number of shorter circular walks to enjoy on this route too and easy access routes available, even an off road mobility scooter route around Crickley Hill Country Park.
Hadrian’s Wall Path
Distance: 84 miles
A route taking walkers from coast to coast following the World Heritage Site of Hadrian’s Wall. Walkers can take in Roman settlements and forts, many of which have dedicated museums or visitor centres. There are a number of circular paths from the route, where the less fit or inexperienced walker can still enjoy the spectacular moorland views and visit interesting historical sites.
North Downs Way
Distance: 153 miles
Enjoy the stunning English countryside at its best, from the White Cliffs of Dover in the East, through beautiful rolling landscape to Farnham in the West. Walkers pass through the Surrey Hills and Kent Downs Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and there are a variety of shorter walks on this route too.
Offa’s Dyke Path
Distance: 177 Miles
Following the English/Welsh border alongside the 8th Century Offa’s Dyke, which was originally constructed in the 8th century to divide the ancient Kingdom of Mercia from what is now Wales. It is a truly spectacular route which passes 8 different counties, crosses the border between England and Wales more than 20 times and links 3 areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty – the Wye Valley, the Shropshire Hills and the Clwydian Range / Dee Valley. If you want to walk a shorter route, some of the best bits of the Trail can be found on a number of circular walks.
Peddars Way and Norfolk Coast Path
Distance: 93 miles
There is something for everyone on this route, with the unique Brecks, a Roman Road, low cliffs and expanses of sandy beaches and dunes stretching into the horizon. Offering everything from a gentle stroll on one of the shorter circular routes to the long distance 93 mile trail, it runs through the Norfolk Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
Distance: 268 miles
This fabulous National Trail scales rugged mountain tops and wanders down to tranquil valleys, which form the backbone of England and offers some of the best upland walking that England has to offer. There is also a Pennine Bridleway for horse riders and cyclists. Completing the whole thing is obviously a big undertaking but it can be made into shorter routes fairly easily. It was the very first National Trail and still much loved.
South Downs Way
Distance: 100 miles
Following old routes and droveways along the escarpment and ridges of the beautiful South Downs, this route allows those from crowded London to escape the crowds and experience the tranquillity of the English countryside. It is a popular trip for long distance ramblers and also provides options for day trips and shorter routes too.
The South West Coast Path
Distance: 630 miles
The route is arguably the UK’s ultimate challenge for long distance walking enthusiasts – where else can you enjoy hiking mile upon mile of pristine coastline? It takes a fast, experienced distance walker around 30 days to complete, although many chose to split the sections up and enjoy the route in a more sedate fashion in order to enjoy all the sights this wonderful route has to offer.
Distance 184 miles
This route allows you to traverse the length of England’s greatest river from its source in the beautiful Cotswolds to the sea. It takes walkers through the heart of London to its end at the Thames Barrier in Greenwich. It is a relatively gentle route which can be enjoyed by all, no matter your age or ability.
Distance: 87 miles
This is Britain’s oldest road. Passing through ancient woodland and tranquil valleys, walkers can feel like they have left the modern world behind in this surprisingly remote part of southern England. It passes through the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and Chilterns AONB. Walkers can enjoy wide vistas of rolling hills disappearing into the distance, choosing different length routes circling on and off the main route to suit their experience.
The Yorkshire Wolds Way
Distance: 80 miles
Winding its way through some of the most peaceful and gentle countryside England has to offer, this route takes in the stunning scenery of the Humber estuary, historic woodland and gentle hill climbs which reward with wide open views. It is a gentle route suitable for almost all abilities and can be shortened accordingly to provide a pleasant day’s walking in beautiful surroundings or an enjoyable challenge for distance ramblers.
An exciting development is the creation of The England Coast Path which will be a new National Trail around England’s stunning coastline. It is opening in sections and is expected to be complete in 2020. When it is open, it will be one of the longest coastal walking routes in the world.
Further information about these walking routes can be found by visiting the National Trail website.
When out enjoying the English countryside it is important to remember the Countryside Code. Common sense prevails, namely to leave the countryside as you found it, shut any gates you open and be respectful of livestock, wildlife and those living in the areas you are visiting.
When walking, always carry a mobile phone and small change for a payphone in case you lose the signal. Ensure you have up to date maps and sensible clothing for the weather, including strong walking boots if you are expecting to walk a reasonable distance. It can be wise to wear lots of layers which you can take off, or put on as the weather dictates.
As personal injury solicitors, we also advise you to be careful when walking on roads or byways. It is inevitable that some routes will cross busy roads and you should always exercise extreme caution when crossing. If the land is hilly, always cross on the brow of the hill so you can be spotted and that likewise, you can see ongoing traffic easily. Never cross on blind bends. Even ‘quiet’ rural lanes can be a hazard as you will be more difficult to spot and pedestrians can disappear into the shadows under foliage from overhanging trees.
If you are out walking and are injured in an accident that was someone else’s fault, you may be able to claim compensation which will also help pay for treatment to aid your recovery. Freeclaim Solicitors have over 30 years’ experience of handling pedestrian accident claims and as many of our team are very keen walkers too, they know the dangers that ramblers face.
For a free consultation and expert advice, call our 24 hour helpline on 0800 612 7340 or visit www.freeclaim.co.uk and we will help you on the road to recovery and back into your favourite walking boots in no time!