7 Scenic Winter Trails To Help You Stay Active

    winter walk stanage edge

    From Instagram-worthy Edinburgh to Jane Austen’s stomping ground, here are seven brilliant wintry UK walks chosen by lifestyle journalist Carole Beck

    Research has shown that exercise in winter can make you feel more energetic, strengthen the immune system and boost the body’s store of vitamin D (which tends to decrease during winter months).

    Here are seven of Carole Beck’s favourite walks to help you get those steps up this season.

    1. Best for snow-lovers

    What: Fisherman’s Path and Cwm Bychan

    Where: Snowdonia National Park, Wales

    Distance: 6 miles

    Start/finish: Beddgelert village

    Highlights: Don’t worry – this isn’t a trek up Mount Snowdon. Instead, this trail is on the other side of the valley, with breathtaking views of the snow-dusted Snowdon Horseshoe. Take a peek at the old copper mine halfway up.

    The Snowdon Horseshoe over Llyn Llydaw, Snowdonia National Park, Wales.

    2. Best for dog walkers

    What: South West Coastal Path

    Where: Cape Cornwall

    Distance: 5 miles

    Start/finish: The market town of St Just

    Highlights: If your dog loves splashing about in the sea, this one’s for you. The trail passes two dog-friendly beaches – think bracing winter air, seal spotting opportunities and crashing waves. There’s also a prehistoric stone circle, Iron Age castle ruins, and old mining works en route.

    South West coastal path

    3. Best for a spot of lunch

    What: Craster to Low Newton

    Where: Near Alnwick, Northumberland

    Distance: 6 miles

    Start/finish: The fishing village of Craster

    Highlights: This walk hugs the coast, passing rock pools and the stunning ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle, which dates back to the 14th century. Look out for seals basking on the rocks along the way, then stop for lunch at The Ship Inn in the pretty village of Low Newton, which looks out over the rugged sands of Embleton beach. Or wait till your return to Craster and check out sea views at The Jolly Fisherman pub.

    craster winter walk

    ©English Heritage

    4. Best for Instagram

    What: Arthur’s Seat

    Where: Edinburgh, Scotland

    Distance: 3 miles

    Start/finish: The car park near Holyrood Palace

    Highlights: For a walk up an extinct volcano in a city, you can’t beat Arthur’s Seat. The summit offers panoramic views, including the iconic Edinburgh Castle – one of the UK’s most frequently Instagrammed sights. Nip back down to the city afterwards for a warming lunch of haggis, neeps and tatties.

    arthur's seat festive trail

    5. Best for adventurers

    What: Stanage Edge

    Where: Peak District

    Distance: 7.5 miles

    Start/finish: Hathersage village

    Highlights: Stanage Edge is one of the most popular destinations for climbers in the UK and the longest gritstone ridge in England, stretching for 3.5 miles. This makes it a spectacular, steep trail overlooking the valleys below. Craving more adventure? Try scaling the tors and rocks along the route.

    stanage edge

    6. Best for bookworms

    What: Chawton to Farringdon

    Where: Alton, Hampshire

    Distance: 4.5 miles

    Start/finish: The village of Chawton

    Highlights: Literary lovers will enjoy following in the footsteps of Pride And Prejudice author Jane Austen in Chawton, which becomes even prettier in winter. The trail takes you past the house where she lived for the last eight years of her life, and the church where her mother and sister are buried. Stop for a visit at Chawton House – a grade II-listed Elizabethan manor, now a library – and have a wander round the grounds.

    chawton/farringdon winter walk

    7. Best for families

    What: National Memorial Arboretum

    Where: Alrewas, Staffordshire

    Distance: Around 2 miles

    Start/finish: The on-site remembrance centre

    Highlights: This is the UK’s permanent centre of remembrance to acknowledge those who have served and continue to serve the nation. With beautifully landscaped gardens, 150 acres of woodland and modern sculptures, it’s a peaceful place to stroll. There’s a buggy-friendly path, taking you past some of the 300 memorials. Look out for the famous Armed Forces Memorial, while kids will love the activity trail (which is even more fun in the snow!).


    ©National Memorial Aboretum

    Looking to increase the pace? Read our surprising reasons to take up running.