These boots are made for walkin’ … AA reveals top 5 UK destinations to explore by foot during National Walking Month

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These boots are made for walkin’
AA reveals top 5 UK destinations to explore by foot during National Walking Month

The AA has revealed five of the best destinations across the UK to explore by foot during National Walking Month in May, which coincides with the launch of its new ’50 Walks’ walking guides.

With spring finally here and daylight saving in full effect, now is the perfect time to get outside and discover some of the UK’s hidden gems.

Whether you’re into striding along the rugged coastlines of Cornwall with a pair of binoculars in hand or taking in the views at the peak of a mountain, these five walks, featured in AA Publishing’s latest walking guides, have been hand selected by the AA’s team of trusted experts, and highlight some of the best destinations across the UK to explore by foot.

St. Just to Land’s End, Cornwall

Steeped in tin and copper mining history, St. Just retains its traditional character with coastal footpaths and shoreline views aplenty in this 6.5 mile (3hr 30 min) walk to England’s southwestern most point at Land’s End.

According to the AA’s 50 Walks in Cornwall walking guide:

“By way of taking the long view towards Land’s End, this walk follows footpaths
from the old mining town of St Just and then along an exhilarating stretch of
coast that runs south to Sennen Cove and to Land’s End. The path soon leaves the more obvious mining area and follows the delightful shoreline towards Land’s End, dropping to sea level as it reaches the great beaches of Whitesand Bay and the granite cliffs of the Land’s End area. The beaches here are some of Cornwall’s finest surfing venues. Beyond Sennen’s charming seafront, the path climbs once more and soon reaches Land’s End.”

Cerne Abbas Giant, Dorset

Not even our experts know the origin of this giant chalk man carved in the Dorset hillside. Make your own mind up with this 5.5 mile (2hr 30 min) walk across country paths and tracks in the Cerne Valley.

According to the AA’s 50 Walks in Dorset walking guide:

“The chalk outline of the Cerne Abbas Giant is so familiar that the reality, seen from the hillside opposite rather than above from the air, is a surprise. His proportions change at this shallower angle, and this of course is how he was designed to be seen – all 180ft (55m) of him. Quite when he was made, and by whom, is a mystery. Was he drawn by the Romans, a portrait of the demi-god Hercules? Could he be a post-medieval caricature of Oliver Cromwell?”

Llyn Idwal from Llyn Ogwen, Snowdonia

Despite Llyn, or ‘lake’, Idwal once being called the haunt of demons by Shepherds, this 3 mile (2hrs 30 min) walk around sometimes rocky terrain features a perfect hanging valley full of flora and fauna with views across the mountains.

According to the AA’s 50 Walks in Snowdonia and North Wales walking guide:

“The sunshine can paint a very different picture, with golden rocks that are a playground for the modern-day climber, and small mountain birds such as the wheatear and ring ouzel flitting through the grasses. Collectively, the foliage seems to flow down the rocks and you can see why it’s called the Hanging Gardens. Climbing above the rocks, the path attains a wild and windswept hollow of moor grass and rushes. Llyn y Cwn (‘dog lake’) is a shallow pool tucked beneath the loose boulder and shale slopes of Glyder Fawr. In summer bogbean rings the pool’s outer edges with its pale pink blooms. This is a fine, lofty place to dwell and admire the mountain views before going back down to the cauldron of Idwal.”

Rydal Water, Lake District

Just one of the Lake’s breathtaking walks associated with famous former resident of the area, poet William Wordsworth, it’s no wonder people from across the country and further afield visit the area to see the landscape which he took inspiration from. Enjoy this 3 mile (1hr 30 min) walk with historical links around Rydal Water.

According to the AA’s 50 Walks in The Lake District walking guide:

“This little circuit of Rydal Water would have been deeply familiar to both Wordsworths and they would still recognise most of it today. The best place to get a sense of the landscape that they knew is probably in the later stages, as you climb past Rydal Mount and then traverse the hillside along the old Coffin Route. Despite its popularity, this outing can never fail to inspire. Each season is different. Whether the lake is clad in ice, or the flora in
springtime blossom, it is a landscape to lift the spirit. This walk, with a little ascent and descent, visits wood, lake and river. Dippers can often be seen on the river, swans on the lake, ravens on Nab Scar, and roe deer in the woods.”

Ingelton Waterfalls, Yorkshire Dales

Open to visitors since 1885, the ‘Waterfalls Walk’ is one of the Dales’ jewels in the crown, located in traditional mining and quarrying town Ingelton. This 5 mile (2hr 15 min) walk has good paths and tracks throughout making it easily accessible despite its popularity.

According to the AA’s 50 Walks in The Yorskhire Dales walking guide:

“The spectacle of the Waterfalls Walk begins in Swilla Glen, where the River Twiss passes through a deep gorge, with rapids and whirlpools giving a taste of what is to come. The first of the cascades soon follows – Pecca Falls, where the river tumbles over a shelf of the hard greywacke stone, eating away at the softer slate beds below. Beyond, the narrow glen opens out as you approach Thornton Force. Unlike the other falls on the walk, this is not a series of rapids confined within the valley, but a majestic plunge of water 40ft (12m) from its
lip of hard limestone into a pool gouged into the slate beds below, which have been heaved into a vertical position. This is a classic spot for studying the geology of the area; the different strata are conveniently exposed.”

AA Publishing’s new ‘50 Walks in…’ series includes a map and step-by-step guide to each of the walks selected, as well as useful information on parking, dog friendly routes and nearby amenities including public toilets and places to eat, plus local history and points of interest.

Compiled by some of the AA’s most trusted experts, drawing on over a hundred years’ of experience and heritage, the new 50 Walks walking guides are available to purchase now at Amazon and all leading bookstores.

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