10 outstanding walks to enjoy during May to celebrate National Walking Month
Updated: May 9
May is National Walking Month and, as the weather starts to improve, it’s the perfect time to plan a hike in some of the UK’s most beautiful locations.
National Walking Month aims to encourage people to walk more every day. It can help improve your mental and physical wellbeing, as well as reducing your carbon footprint. While walking to work and visiting your local park are excellent ways to take part in the awareness month, why not plan a trip to one of the nation’s favourite walks?
The Ordnance Survey asked more than 8,000 walking enthusiasts to identify the best walking route in Britain. Here are the top 10 responses.
1. Helvellyn, Lake District National Park
The Helvellyn walk in the Lake District was named the best route in Britain and it’s just one of several walks in the top 10 located in the national park.
The walk is 16.3 kilometres and takes around six hours to complete. You will need a good level of fitness and be comfortable with heights to complete this challenging mountain walk. But the rugged beauty will definitely make it worth your while.
2. Snowdon, Snowdonia National Park
Snowdown is the highest mountain in Wales, and it’s well worth a visit even if you don’t want to scale the summit.
If you do decide to tackle the walk, there are six routes to choose from with varying levels of difficulty. The Llanberis Path is the easiest and longest route to reach the summit. It is around 14.5 kilometres and takes six hours to complete.
If you’re an experienced hiker and want a challenge, the Watkin Path is the most difficult and guarantees stunning scenery.
3. Malham and Gordale Scar, Yorkshire Dales National Park
This circular route takes you through stunning natural areas in the Yorkshire Dales. It covers just over 12 kilometres and can be completed in under four hours.
During that time you’ll be taken through dramatic landscapes, from Malham Cove to Janet’s Foss Waterfall, and Malham Tarn, the highest lake in Britain. You can also see evidence of early settlements and an abundance of wildlife. If you’re looking for an easier walk, try going from Malham village to Janet’s Foss instead.
4. Catbells, Lake District National Park
The Catbells walking route in the Lake District is popular with families thanks to its shorter length. At five kilometres and taking a little over two hours to complete for the average walker, it’s suitable for most abilities, although there are some steep climbs.
You can enjoy views across the Newlands Valley and Western Fells as you stroll around the route so there are plenty of photo opportunities.
5. Scafell Pike, Lake District National Park
As the highest mountain and war memorial in England, Scafell Pike attracts thousands of visitors each year. There are three routes you can take to reach the summit, and all are strenuous. So, if you’re a beginner hiker, you may want to choose a different walk in the Lake District.
If you decide to tackle the mountain, you can expect it to take around five hours to complete the 11.6 kilometre route. You’ll find some of the best views of the Lake District on this walk.
6. Tryfan, Snowdonia National Park
Located in Snowdonia, the Tryfan walk offers some of the most dramatic mountainous scenery. There are several routes up Tryfan but all are hard. So, it’s not a route that’s suitable for casual walkers.
Those that do have the experience to climb Tryfan can expect it to take around five hours and they will be rewarded with spectacular views.
7. Buttermere, Lake District National Park
If you’ll be visiting the Lake District, Buttermere is another great walk to add to your list. It’ll take you around Buttermere Lake and offers incredible views of fells and mountains. It’s been a popular walk since the Victorian age.
It’s an excellent option if you want a walk that’s suitable for all abilities without compromising on the scenery. A walk around the entire lake is less than seven kilometres and can be completed within two hours.
8. Old Man of Coniston, Lake District National Park
Yet again, the Old Man Coniston walk is in the Lake District, proving just how popular the national park is with walking enthusiasts. The Old Man of Coniston walk is a circular route that loops around Brown Pike.
It’s a longer walk, taking around five hours to cover 12 kilometres, and so still suitable for most people. You can choose a shorter route, which is steeper, or opt for the long, gradual path. As well as the views you’d expect in the Lake District, you can also see industrial archaeology, including old quarry machinery and building foundations along the walk.
9. Dunstanburgh Castle, Northumberland
This walk is perfect for all walking abilities. Starting in the fishing village of Craster, you’ll follow the Low Newton coastal walk. You can enjoy stunning views across a sandy bay before you arrive at the mighty ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle. The castle dates back to 1313 and you can purchase tickets from English Heritage if you’d like to go inside.
The circular route will take around an hour and 15 minutes, not including any stops you want to make, and covers a little more than four kilometres.
10. Mam Tor, Peak District National Park
At the top of Mam Tor, you can find some of the most dramatic views of the Peak District over Hope Valley and Edale. You can also see remains of iron age forts and walk along the Mam Tor landslide road.
There are 10 routes you can take to Mam Tor, with varying degrees of difficulty and length, but all are circular. The short three-mile walk is perfect for families, while the 20-mile hike is ideal if you want a challenge.