Winter is the best time for walking. That’s the opinion of many people who say that not only is it more comfortable to get out in the cooler months (layer your clothing so you’re not too warm or too cold), but our landscapes look great, too.

        The National Trust has come up with some fabulous walks for holiday cottagers and here are just a few of them. For more, go the Trust’s website where you’ll find 100 downloadable treks.

Allen Banks in Northumberland  –  The River Allen has carved out a wooded gorge in this area of ancient woodland. 181 species of fungi have been recorded, along with roe deer and otters. A gentle 2.5 mile walk. Download it for free at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/walks or call 01670 774691.

 

Blakeney Point to Stiffkey, Norfolk  –  During the winter, hundreds of thousands of birds flock to the salt marshes and fields here to feed. Birds of prey skim the marshes, too. Grey and common seals bask off Blakeney Point. The Trust says, “Don’t forget your binoculars on this four mile walk”. Download it at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/walks or call 01263 740241. 

 

Box Hill, Surrey  – Box Hill, says the Trust, is a “green jewel in an urban landscape”. It’s  an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) of chalk downland and woodland with terrific views across the South Downs. Follow the footpaths or roam free. Collect a leaflet at Box Hill or call 01306 885502.

 

Clent Hills, West Midlands  –  With their magnificent views to the Welsh Black Mountains, quiet copses and ancient beech pollards, these hills are a great place to walk. A one mile path leads to the summit and from here you can take woodland or heathland paths back.  Download at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/walks or call 01384 872418.

 

Dodman Point, Cornwall  – A  three mile walk over the highest headland on the South Cornish coast through a landscape shaped by 4,000 years of human occupation. Iron age earthworks, bronze age barrows, mediaeval strip fields and fabulous views of the Lizard peninsula await. Download the walk at  www.nationaltrust.org.uk/walks or call 01726 844652.

 

Harting Down, Sussex  – A  moderate two mile walk over one of the largest areas of ancient chalk downland in the care of the National Trust. Magnificent views over the Weald to the North Downs from a path through ancient yew woodland. Download it at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/walks or call 01372 453401.

 

Hayfield to Kinder Scout in Derbyshire  –  In 1932 more than 500 people gathered to walk this eight mile route – illegally – to campaign for rights of access to the countryside. The Mass Trespass was a milestone in opening up the British countryside to walkers. You, too, can trek through this dramatic landscape.  Download the walk from  www.nationaltrust.org.uk/walks or call 01433 670368.

 

Old Harry Rocks, Dorset  – This 3.5 mile path leads through ancient coppiced woodland to the rugged sea stacks of Old Harry Rocks on the World Heritage Jurassic Coast, before heading inland over meadows and then back to the sea at Studland beach. Download at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/walks or call 01297 561900.

 

Tarn Hows, Cumbria  – This  five mile walk heads from Coniston water up to Tarn Hows. Some of the most famous Lakeland fells stretch before you, including Wetherlam, the Old Man of Coniston, Langdale Pike and Helvellyn: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/walks or call 01539 441951.

 

Whitford Burrows, Gower Peninsula  –  Whitford Burrows sit at the more northerly end of the spectacular Gower Peninsula in south Wales. The four mile walk takes you along the dunes, past mediaeval marshes, and through pine forests planted to help stabilise the  sands. The walk back is along the beach. Download at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/walks or call 01792 390636.