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The National Parks at 70

 

With 2019 marking 70 years since the 1949 National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act was passed, the recently revamped ‘Discover National Parks Fortnight’ – as promoted by National Parks UK – offers the perfect opportunity to get outside and discover the length and breadth of Britain’s  countryside.

 

Here are some of our favourite walks in the UK’s magnificent National Parks.

 

SOUTH DOWNS 

National Parks UK says “A real haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Get inspired by the rolling hills, dramatic cliffs and picturesque villages found throughout the National Park.”

 

Exactly 100 miles of downland walking separate the Victorian seaside town of Eastbourne and Winchester, the former Saxon Capital of Wessex and England. Stretching over a rare large Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in crowded southern UK, this ancient route follows the chalk ridge just to the north of the popular seaside towns on the Sussex and Hampshire coast.

 

Find out more about walking the South Downs Way

 

south downs way

Photo: Joseph Pearson

 

YORKSHIRE DALES

National Parks UK says “The majestic rolling hills, old stone villages and farming heritage of the Yorkshire Dales truly showcase the best of the British countryside.”

 

A circular walk that threads its way around the valleys of Wensleydale and Swaledale and over the mountains and moorlands between these two emerald dales. The 50-mile route has been designed to take in some of the beloved countryside that James Alfred Wight, the vet who wrote about his experiences in the Yorkshire Dales as James Herriot, was so fond of.

 

Find out more about walking the James Herriot Way

 

James Herriot Way

 

 

LAKE DISTRICT

National Parks UK says “Rugged yet beautiful. An awe-inspiring landscape of high fells, deep glacial lakes and quaint rural villages.”

 

Celebrated by the poetry of Wordsworth and the stories of Beatrix Potter and Arthur Ransome, the Lake District is the first National Park in the UK to be awarded UNESCO World Heritage status. In between quaint market towns, the trail leads past the peaceful depths of Coniston Water and Derwentwater lakes, as well as the superb Tarn Hows, set in picturesque wooded hills.

 

Find out more about walking the Cumbria Way

 

The Lake Dsitrict

 

 

NORTHUMBERLAND

National Parks UK says “The perfect place to get away from it all. Fascinating ancient monuments, tranquil rolling moorland and the beautiful uplands of The Cheviot Hills”

 

Reflecting the life of the 7th century monk, the St Cuthbert’s Way takes you to the northernmost national park in England. Set between the Scottish borders in the north to just south of Hadrian's Wall, it is one of the least visited and least populated of the UK’s National Parks. It is home to England’s cleanest rivers and clearest air, as well as Europe’s largest area of protected night sky.

 

Find out more about walking St Cuthbert’s Way

 

 

 

LOCH LOMOND & THE TROSSACHS

National Parks UK says “One of Scotland’s most-loved landscapes. Home to the largest lake in the UK, multiple stunning lochs, extensive forests and dramatic mountain ranges.”

 

John Muir was born in 1838 in Dunbar, on the southeast coast of Scotland, and as a child developed a deep love of the natural world around his home. The John Muir Way is a path that symbolically links Dunbar with Scotland’s first national park, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs, and the seaside town of Helensburgh in the west, forming a Scottish coast-to-coast route. 

 

Find out more about walking the John Muir Way

 

 

Alternatively, you can take in the beauty of the North York Moors National Park on walks such as The Cleveland Way (one of the UK’s earliest official National Trails), the iconic Coast to Coast and The Pennine Way, a new addition for 2019.