Embark on one of the UK’s top 5 winter walks

Mountains, lakes, forests and beaches, the UK’s varied landscape changes with the seasons and winter is the most magical time to explore it.

Take a break from hibernation and recharge with a brisk walk through one of five beauty spots, discovering literary heritage, ancient history and wildlife along the way.

Rydal Water, Lake District (2.8m/4.5km)

Rydal Water“The loveliest spot that man hath ever found,” is how the poet William Wordsworth described the area surrounding Rydal Water – the second smallest of Cumbria’s lakes. Its diminutive size means a circular amble around this beauty spot is not too taxing, but rewards are mighty. You’ll enjoy the tranquil lakeside, beautiful woodland and, though free of his famous daffodils in winter, Wordsworth’s home and gardens at Rydal Mount. Particularly atmospheric, you can also walk the famous coffin road where the dead would be carried from Rydal to Grasmere for burial. Coffin stones, used to rest bodies, can still be found along the way.

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Ramsgate to Margate, Kent (6.8m/11km)

Ramsgate MarinaBeginning at Ramsgate’s royal marina, at low tide you can walk to the seaside town of Margate along the sands, fossil hunting and cave exploring along the way. Alternatively, you can follow the path along the chalky cliff tops on this ruggedly beautiful peninsula. The Thanet Coastal Path takes in expansive Blue Flag beaches and nine bays, each with its own unique character. The famous Viking Bay at Broadstairs is overlooked by Chrarles Dickens’ Bleak House. This coast is an internationally important asset for wintering birds and marine life too, so be sure to bring your binoculars.

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Meall a Bhuachaille, Cairngorms (5.25m/8.5km)

Meall a Bhuachaille CairngormsThe ‘Hill of the Shepherd’, is a brilliant introduction to walking this eastern Highland mountain range. It offers the dramatic views that people flock to the Cairngorms for, while having the benefits of accessible terrain and a moderate climb. A looped trail takes in ancient Caledonian pines and forests and there’s a good chance of spotting wildlife along the way, including deer. Stop and take in the tranquillity of An Lochan Uaine with its aquamarine depths that appear all the more magical in winter. The view from the summit towards the rolling Cairngorm plateau and the wide strath of the Spey is breathtaking.

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Blakeney to Wells-next-the-Sea, Norfolk (7.7m/12.4km)

Wells Next the SeaCheck the tides before heading out along this secluded stretch of salt marshes that flood during high tide. At low tide, you will only see the glint of the sea in the distance and inviting expanses of beaches offer the perfect terrain for a brisk winter walk. Waterproof boots will still be needed as you explore this liminal land. Begin at Blakeney Point – home to England’s largest grey seal colony with over 4,000 pups born each winter. Go on to spot overwintering birds as you explore the atmospheric marshes through Morston, Stiffkey and Warham, before reaching Wells-next-to-the-Sea.

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Three Cliffs Bay, Swansea (4m/6.4km)

Three Cliffs Bay SwanseaThe Gowar peninsula offers endless opportunities for winter walks, but among the most magical is Three Cliffs Bay. Guarded by its dramatic pyramids of limestone rock and peppered with bone-filled caves, the bay itself makes a rewarding mid-point on a circular clifftop walk. Begin and end at the romantic 12th century ruins of Pennard castle and soak in the stunning panoramic views, with Devon glinting on the horizon. Work your way towards the three cliffs for an aerial vantage point and, at low tide, down to the sandy beach where you can walk under the cliff’s arches.

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