National Trails

These longer walks are great for people who have a lot of time to enjoy the countryside. In the UK you can find out more at www.nationaltrail.co.uk

Cleveland Way (North East England)
Cotswold Way (England)
Glyndwr's Way (Wales)
Hadrian's Wall Path (English/Scottish Border)
North Downs Way (South East England)
Offa's Dyke Path (English/Welsh Border)
Peddars Way/Norfolk Coast Path (East Anglia)
Pembrokeshire Coast Path (South West Wales)
Pennine Way (Derbyshire, England to the Scottish Borders)
South Downs Way (South East England)
South West Coast Path (South West England)
Thames Past (South of England)
The Ridgeway (Oxfordshire)
Yorkshire Wolds Way (East Yorkshire)
Causeway Coast Way (Northern Ireland)
Croagh Patrick Heritage Trail (Co. Mayo, Ireland)
Sligo Way (Co. Sligo, Ireland)


Cleveland Way (North East England)


What is the Cleveland Way?
The Cleveland Way National Trail is a 109 mile (175 Km ) walking route through beautiful and ever changing landscapes and scenery.  It was the second National Trail in England and Wales and was officially opened on 24th May 1969. The Trail offers the best of both worlds, heather moorland and stunning coastal scenery. You don’t have to do the Trail in one go to enjoy the best it has to offer. There are a number of circular walks based on the Trail including 1 and 2 day walks, and shorter easy access walks for everyone to enjoy.

How long does it take to complete the Trail?
The official guidebook recommends a nine day trip. You make want to take a little longer if you want to see more of the sites along the way.

How hard is it?
Anyone who is reasonably fit can walk the Cleveland Way. The route is challenging in places, especially the coastal sections, which adds to the overall experience.  Whilst the route is well signed throughout, an up to date map or gps mapping is essential.
If you are planning to hold an event on the Cleveland Way please let us know . If we know events are planned we can let others know so they can choose to either join in, or avoid the Trail on that day.

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Cotswold Way (England)

What is the Cotswold Way?
The Cotswold Way is a 102 mile (164Km) long National Trail running between the market town of Chipping Campden and the city of Bath. For most of its length it follows the Cotswold escarpment giving wonderful views of the surrounding landscape. There are a number of circular walks based on the Trail including 1 and 2 day walks and shorter easy access walks for everyone to enjoy. You don’t have to do the Trail in one go to enjoy the best it has to offer.

How long does it take to complete the Trail?
The official guidebook suggests a seven to ten day trip. You might want to take a little longer if you want to see more of the sights along the way.

How hard is it?
Anyone who is reasonably fit can walk the Cotswold Way although many walkers are surprised at the frequency of steep climbs. The route is very well way-marked so finding your way is easy. However, it is always a good idea to take a guidebook or map. Getting to and from the Trail may take a little planning, there is information to help on the transport page. There are several places suitable for those with restricted mobility, and even an off road mobility scooter for hire to explore the Cotswold Way around Crickley Hill Country Park, through Countryside Mobility.

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Glyndwr's Way (Wales)

What is the Glyndwr’s Way?
Glyndwr's Way is an 135 mile (217 Km) long National Trail meandering through the open moorland, rolling farmland, woodland and forest of mid-Wales. You don’t have to walk the Trail in one go to enjoy the best it has to offer. You can enjoy is as a series of day walks.

How long does it take to complete the Trail?
It usually takes around 9 days to complete the Trail. 

How hard is it?
Anyone who is reasonably fit can walk the Glyndwr’s Way, although it is very hilly, often dropping into valleys and ascending hills several times in a day. You should be aware that it crosses country that is sometimes rough and remote. The ability to navigate by compass will be very welcome if it is misty.

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Hadrian's Wall Path (English/Scottish Border)

What is the Hadrian’s Wall Path?
The Hadrian’s Wall Path is an 84 mile (135 Km) long National Trail stretching coast to coast across northern England, from Wallsend, Newcastle upon Tyne in the east to Bowness-on-Solway on the west coast. It follows the line of Hadrian’s Wall, along the way passing through some of the most beautiful parts of England - from rolling fields and rugged moorland to the vibrant cities of Newcastle and Carlisle. 
You don’t have to do the Trail in one go to enjoy the best it has to offer. There are lots of circular walks based on the Trail for everyone to enjoy.

How long does it take to complete the Trail?
If you are an experienced walker then we generally recommend allowing 6 or 7 days to complete the whole Trail, although you might want to allow some extra time to visit some of the Roman sites that you pass. They all have museums with interpretive displays and they also provide refreshments.

How hard is it?
Anyone who is reasonably fit should be able to walk the Hadrian’s Wall Path although it is not an easy walk. Some guidebook and magazine articles have described the Trail as "not a challenge walk" but it is more difficult than many people imagine it to be. The 23 mile (37 Km) section between Chollerford and Birdoswald is a switchback with lots of short climbs and descents; it is a bit like walking along the coast. The majority of the path has a natural grass surface; only the Tyneside section is tarmac.

Navigation is not difficult. The route is very clearly marked with the acorn symbol as well as way marking arrows. Even poor visibility in the higher central section should not present too many problems, here the path is alongside either Hadrian’s Wall itself, a modern field wall or the humps and bumps in the ground of archaeological earthworks. It is always a good idea though, to track your progress on your guidebook or map.

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North Downs Way (South East England)

What is the North Downs Way?
The North Downs Way National Trail offers walkers 153 miles (246 Km) of spectacular scenery, picturesque villages and glorious rolling countryside, passing through the Surrey Hills and Kent Downs Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. You don’t have to walk the Trail in one go to enjoy the best it has to offer. There are a number of circular walks based on the Trail for everyone to enjoy.

How long does it take to complete the Trail?
You should aim to take twelve days to complete the Trail. This allows a comfortable 13 miles a day. The trail has steep ascents and descents in places, and more energetic climbs up Box and the Colley Hills in Surrey and those in the Mid Kent Downs.

How hard is it?
As with all National Trails there is a variety of terrain. Much of the Trail is along relatively level ground but remember the North Downs Way follows the scarp slope of the North Downs and does go up and down it a few times. The section from Guildford to Reigate with St Marthas, Albury Down, White Down, Box Hill and Colley Hill is more challenging.

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Offa's Dyke Path (English/Welsh Border)

What is the Offa’s Dyke Path?
Offa’s Dyke Path is a 177 mile (285 Km) long walking trail. It is named after, and often follows, the spectacular Dyke King Offa ordered to be constructed in the 8th century, probably to divide his Kingdom of Mercia from rival kingdoms in what is now Wales

The Trail, which was opened in the summer of 1971, links Sedbury Cliffs near Chepstow on the banks of the Severn estuary with the coastal town of Prestatyn on the shores of the Irish sea. It passes through no less than eight different counties and crosses the border between England and Wales over 20 times. The Trail explores the tranquil Marches (as the border region is known) and passes through the Brecon Beacons National Park on the spectacular Hatterrall Ridge. In addition it links no less than three Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty – the Wye Valley, the Shropshire Hills and the Clwydian Range / Dee Valley.

How long does it take to complete the Trail?
It takes about two weeks to complete the whole Trail, although people have been rumoured to complete it in four days. Many people choose to complete only short sections in day trips or to complete the whole Trail over many weeks, months or years. You can also enjoy some of the best bits of the Trail along circular walks

How hard is it?
The Trail passes through many different types of landscape. The toughest part is probably the switchback section of the Shropshire Hills between Knighton and Brompton Crossroads and things can also be hard going in the upland stretches in the Brecon Beacons and Clwydian Range, especially in poor weather or visibility.

The flattest stretch is the section between Buttington Bridge and Llanymynech which largely follows the River Severn and the Montgomeryshire Canal. Elsewhere it is largely a case of gentle ups and downs. The Trail has long been notorious for the number of stiles on the route. Many of these have been removed in recent years and we plan to reduce these still further to make the Trail more accessible. If you walk entire Trail from south to north there is about 28,000ft of accent, which is the same as the height of Everest.

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Peddars Way/Norfolk Coast Path (East Anglia)

What is the Peddars Way / Norfolk Coast Path?
The National Trail combines two long distance walking trails; Peddars Way and the Norfolk Coast Path. The route starts in Suffolk at Knettishall Heath Country Park and follows the route of a Roman road to Holme-next-the-Sea on the north Norfolk coast. The Peddars Way meets the Norfolk Coast Path at Holme-next-the-Sea as it runs from Hunstanton to Cromer.

The Trail provides 93 miles (150 Km) of walking through fantastic scenery and landscape.  The majority of the Trail runs through the Norfolk Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and the Brecks, a unique area of forest, heath and low river valleys.

How long does it take to complete the Trail?
The majority of long distance walkers take around 7 days to complete both routes, however many take longer to enjoy all that the route has to offer. There is no need to complete the Trail in one trip though, you can enjoy short or day walks or one of the many circular walks based on the Trail.

How hard is it?
The Peddars Way and Norfolk Coast Path National Trail is one of the more gentle National Trails. The terrain is varied but is generally flat or with only gentle gradients. However we would recommend that you allow a little extra time to walk the shingle bank from Cley to Weybourne.

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Pembrokeshire Coast Path (South West Wales)

What is the Pembrokeshire Coast Path?
The Pembrokeshire Coast Path National Trail is a long distance walking route. Its 186 miles (300 km) twist and turn through some of the most breathtaking coastal scenery in Britain. Lying almost entirely within the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park —Britain’s only coastal national park – the trail displays an array of coastal flowers and bird life, as well as evidence of human activity from Neolithic times to the present.

The Trail starts in St Dogmaels in the north and ends at Amroth in the south, taking in almost every kind of maritime landscape from rugged cliff tops and sheltered coves to wide-open beaches and winding estuaries. You can find out more about the Trail by visiting the Pembrokeshire Coast Path website.

Both the Wales Coast Path (opened 5th May 2012) and the International Appalachian Trail follow the route of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path.

How long does it take to complete the Trail?
The official guidebook recommends a twelve day route (at around 15 miles (24 Km) each day). This is quite a challenging pace day after day and it is worth planning for at least some shorter days or spreading the walk over a series of visits.

Many sections of the Trail make a good circular or 'there and back' walk. You can make use of the walker buses to walk one way and get the bus back. Pembrokeshire Coast National Park’s website includes around 200 circular walks with free downloadable maps. Many of these routes are based on the Coast Path.

How hard is it?
In its entirety the Coast Path represents a formidable physical challenge - its 35,000 feet of ascent and descent is said to be equivalent to climbing Everest — yet it can also be enjoyed in shorter sections, accessible to people of all ages and abilities, with the small coastal villages strung out along its length offering welcome breaks and added enjoyment.

With all of the alternative routes for high tides, storm and firing ranges, the total maintained length is over 193 miles (312 Km). Depending on conditions and circumstances walkers will cover between 168 (270 Km) and 186 miles (300 Km) of the route. Once you have added on the walk to and from Trail to accommodation the figure is likely to be well over 200 miles (322 Km).

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Pennine Way (Derbyshire, England to the Scottish Borders)

What is the Pennine Way?
The Pennine Way National Trail is a 268 mile (429 Km) walking route from Edale in Derbyshire to Kirk Yetholm in the Scottish Borders. It crosses some of the finest upland landscapes in England, from the Peak District, through the Yorkshire Dales, across the North Pennines and over Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland to the Cheviots. It was the very first National Trail, opened on 24th April 1965, and remains one of the most famous. 

How long does it take to complete the Trail?
You can spend as little or as long as you like walking on the Pennine Way National Trail. Some people like to walk the full length between Edale and Kirk Yetholm. Others like to spend a week, a few days or even a day at a time taking in spectacular lengths of the route. Most full length walkers allow between 16 to 19 days to walk the Way.

The full length of the Pennine Way is 268 miles, but chances are, that if you walk from one end to the other you will walk nearer to 253 miles. The longer length includes both sides of the Bowes Loop, both route options into Kirk Yetholm, the alternative route at High Cup Nick and the de-tour to the summit of The Cheviot.

How hard is it?
The Way follows the Pennines – it is hilly and in places remote. Some sections are harder than others. Know your limitations - the first couple of days on the Pennine Way are quite hard and if you are unprepared may be a bit much - do a few weekends hill walking in preparation! If you aren’t sure perhaps try a circular walk on the Trail, or walk some of the gentler sections in the Yorkshire Dales or North Pennine valleys.

The terrain on the Pennine Way is varied; in some places such as Malham Cove and High Force the paths are smooth and firm, but in others the path may be narrow and uneven or wet and boggy. The length of trail which is still persistently wet is much reduced from what some walkers experienced in the past, but you should be prepared to spend time on at least a few days traversing wet peat bogs. If the weather has been good then you may well get away with dry socks, but it wouldn’t be the Pennine Way if wet socks were no longer a hazard.

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South Downs Way (South East England)

What is the South Downs Way?
The 100 miles (160 Km) long South Downs Way National Trail follows the old routes and droveways along the chalk escarpment and ridges of the South Downs. The route provides the visitor with the opportunity "to get away from it all" without having to travel too far in this busy part of England. The undulating route provides a wonderful trip for long distance riders as well as walkers. It also provides interesting day trips and short breaks.

How long does it take to complete the Trail?
Most people take 8 or 9 days to walk the whole 100 miles (160km) at 12 – 15 miles (25km) a day. It’s worth considering if you are walking that the villages where accommodation is are at the foot of the hill so you’ll have to walk down in the evening and up in the morning. To cycle the South Downs Way takes 2 or 3 days if you are used to off road cycling. It is possible to do it in a day but that’s an extreme challenge! There’s about 12,600ft (3800m) of climb as well as the 100 miles (160km) of distance.

How hard is it?
Anyone who is reasonably fit can walk the South Downs Way – if you can comfortably walk say 12 miles (20km) in a day you shouldn’t have a problem. You’ll enjoy it more if you do a few long day walks beforehand to get fitter. You should be used to off road cycling before you commit yourself to cycling the South Downs Way – doing it in anything less than 3 days will require quite a high degree of fitness. The South Downs Way is much more of a challenge for horse riders because of the road crossings and logistics of accommodation for horses.

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South West Coast Path (South West England)

What is the South West Coast Path?
The South West Coast Path is perhaps the UK’s ultimate challenge for the long distance hiker - a 630 mile (1,014 Km) adventure around the coastline of England’s southwest peninsula. You don’t have to walk it all at once though ! The National Trail offers everyone the opportunity explore some of the most inspiring and spectacular coastal walking anywhere in the world. On the South West Coast Path website you’ll find everything you need whether you’re planning to walk the whole path, or do as most people and just go out for the day. 

How long does it take to complete the Trail?
In terms of walking days, a fast walker can complete the whole Trail in around 30 days, but a more leisurely pace with time to stop to see some of the sights just off the path is between 7 & 8 weeks. As few people have enough time to be able to walk it in one go, most split it between several holidays and complete the path over several years.

How hard is it?
If you are new to the Coast Path, a key tip is don’t plan to walk as far as you would normally. It is a challenging route, with in total over 115,000 feet (35,000 metres) of up and down, and it is far better to be ahead of schedule and have time to explore, than having to rush to reach your planned overnight stop.

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Thames Path (South of England)

What is the Thames Path?
The Thames Path is a long distance walking trail, following England's best known river for 184 miles (294 Km) as it meanders from its source in the Cotswolds through several rural counties and on into the heart of London. On its way the Trail passes peaceful water meadows rich in wildlife, historic towns and cities and many lovely villages, finishing at the Thames Barrier in Woolwich just a few miles from the sea.

Easy to reach by public transport, the Thames Path is a gentle Trail, able to be walked by people of all ages and abilities. This National Trail can be enjoyed in many ways, whether for an afternoon's stroll, a weekend's break or a full scale, but relatively gentle, trek of its whole length.

How long does it take to complete the Trail?
As a guide, using roughly 15 miles/24 Km a day as an average daily walking distance, the Trail can be completed in 14 days allowing for a couple of days’ rest. However it’s important to walk at the pace that suits you, allowing time for exploring and relaxing, and there is no pressure to do it quickly - the Thames Path is there for you to enjoy, and doesn’t have to be a route march! You don’t have to walk it all in one go of course, you can dip in for half or a full day’s walk or complete is section at a time.

How hard is it?
The Thames Path is a gentle Trail, suitable for people with a wide range of abilities. It is mainly flat, with just a few natural slopes. Many places along it can be accessed by people with limited mobility such as users of wheelchairs or mobility scooters, parents with pushchairs or those using a walking stick. In recent years most of the stiles along the Trail have been replaced with gates. However there are still structures which may be barriers for many people with reduced mobility.

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The Ridgeway (Oxfordshire)

What is the Ridgeway?
The Ridgeway National Trail a walking route in a surprisingly remote part of southern central England. It travels in a northeasterly direction for 87 miles (139 Km) from its start in the World Heritage Site of Avebury. As Britain’s oldest road The Ridgeway still follows the same route over the high ground used since prehistoric times by travelers, herdsmen and soldiers.

West of the River Thames, The Ridgeway is a broad track passing through the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and is often quite a distance from villages or towns. Here you’ll experience wide, open views of rolling chalk downland and find many archaeological monuments close to the Trail including Stone Age long barrows, Bronze Age round barrows, Iron Age forts and the figures of white horses cut into the chalk. East of the Thames, The Ridgeway travels through the more-wooded and intimate hills and valleys of the Chilterns AONB where, as well as further archaeological treasures, there are several nature reserves rich in the wildlife found in chalk grassland habitats. In the Chilterns, The Ridgeway goes close to or through several villages and small towns where refreshments and other facilities are easily available.

How long does it take to complete the Trail?
As a guide, using roughly 15 miles (24 Km) a day as an average daily walking distance, the Trail can be completed in 6 days so it’s perfect week’s break. If you have seven days spare it usually makes sense to start gently, with just half a day’s walk, and to have a short day in the middle, particularly if you’re not used to long distance walking.

It’s important to walk at the pace that suits you, allowing time for exploring and relaxing, and there is no pressure to do it quickly – as a historic route The Ridgeway is there for you to enjoy, and doesn’t have to be a route march! You don’t have to do it all at one of course, you can dip in for half or a full day’s walk or enjoy the Trail in sections.

How hard is it?
Much of the surface of the Trail remains natural so that it can get a little wet and muddy during and after wet weather and in places some rutting will be encountered. You are advised to wear sturdy footwear.

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Yorkshire Wolds Way (East Yorkshire)

What is the Yorkshire Wolds Way?
The Yorkshire Wolds Way is a 79 mile (127 km) walking route in the chalk landscape of the Yorkshire Wolds. The National Trail wends through some of the most tranquil and gentle countryside in England. From the banks of the mighty Humber estuary, along wooded slopes and through serene dry valleys, the walk climbs gently onto the airy tops of the rolling hills where on a clear day "you can see forever". Descending from the northern escarpment the final section of the Way finishes on the dramatic headland of Filey Brigg.

How long does it take to complete the Trail?
It would be a shame to complete the walk in less than six days if you are to fully savour the beauty and interest of the route. Plan a leisurely stroll rather than a route march. The official guide book recommends a 5 or 6 day walk.

How hard is it?
With a few short exceptions there are no ‘serious’ hills along the Way. This is a gentle, subtle route suitable for almost all abilities.

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Causeway Coast Way (Northern Ireland)

What is the Causeway Coast Way?
This superb walking route takes you along Northern Ireland’s most celebrated coastline. High cliffs, secluded beaches and numerous historic and natural landmarks are just some of the treats on offer. With frequent access points and terrain suitable for all fit walkers, this is one route you’ll remember for years to come.

How long does it take to complete the Trail?
Approx. 2-3 days

More information about this walk
More information can be foun here: www.walkni.com/walks/186/causeway-coast-way

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Croagh Patrick Heritage Trail (Co. Mayo, Ireland)

What is the Croagh Patrick Heritage Trail?
The dazzling quartzite pyramid of Croagh Patrick (764m), which dominates the land south of Clew Bay in the west of Ireland, has been a holy mountain since before Christian times. Ireland’s fifth-century patron saint, St Patrick, is said to have made it his own when he fasted on its summit for forty days, and ever since it has been an important place of Christian pilgrimage: over 15,000 pilgrims climb to the top every year on the last Sunday of July each year, traditionally known as ‘Reek Sunday’. The Croagh Patrick Heritage Trail is a 61 km linear walking route that extends from the village of Balla in County Mayo, an early Christian monastic site with a broken round tower, to the village of Murrisk, site of a 15th century Augustinian friary, at the foot of the mountain. The route follows parts of an old pilgrim route as it wanders through the rural landscape of west Mayo towards the holy mountain, passing by a rich heritage of monuments and buildings including early churches, holy wells and castles. Walkers may want to linger in the village of Aghagower, a monastic site where they will find a 12th century church and the remains of another round tower, and at the Clogher Heritage Centre which includes a working blacksmith’s forge. Also along the route is Brackloon Wood, a rare oakwood, and a survivor from the time when much of Ireland was covered with such trees. The terrain consists mainly of stone-walled quiet side roads, forestry tracks, field paths and open moorland (some of which can be wet). The aggregate climb over the whole route is about 300 metres, most of which is at the end of the route. For more information follow link www.mayowalks.ie/ and http://www.croaghpatrickheritagetrail.com/

How long does it take to complete the Trail?
About 3 days.

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Sligo Way (Co. Sligo, Ireland)

What is the Sligo Way?

The Sligo Way is a 74 km route that traverses the County of Sligo in the northwest of Ireland from Lough Talt, in the Ox Mountains near the Mayo border, to the town of Dromahair in County Leitrim. There are magnificent views east over to Ben Bulben, north across Donegal Bay to Slieve League and west to the Nephin mountain range from the high moorland in the Ox Mountains during the early part of the route, and some pleasant woodland lakeside sections towards the end. As the route begins in the mountains, the total aggregate ascent over the entire route is only 900 metres, and there are no significant climbs involved at any stage. Attractions along the way include a crannog or early lake dwelling on Lough Talt, megalithic tombs, which are abundant in west Sligo, and WB Yeats’s Lake Isle of Inishfree on Lough Gill.

How long does it take to complete the Trail?
About 3 days

How hard is it?
But for short boggy and wet sections near Easky Lough, Ballygawley Woods, Lough Lumman and the Lough Gill area, the route provides, in the main, an enjoyable and comfortable walking experience. Terrain consists mainly of forest tracks and ride lines, quiet side roads, and open moorland paths (often wet and boggy in places). There are no accommodation options available for about the first 40 km of the route, but plenty thereafter.

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