In spring the English countryside really starts to show off.
ll those gorgeous views of woods, meadows and rolling hills are lit up with spring flowers, the scent of blossom and a new generation of wildlife. Here are a few of our favourite springtime walks.
1. Mam Tor , Peak District, Derbyshire
A well-known landmark in the heart of Derbyshire, Mam Tor was once the site of an Iron Age fort. The remains of this can still be seen at the crest of the hill, which looms above the surrounding valleys and offers sweeping views across the neighbouring peaks. It’s a choice spot to gaze at spring flowers in the valleys and sprightly lambs among the flocks of sheep. From the village of Hope, walk to Castleton and follow the Limestone Way up to Mam Tor. From here you can either follow the fortifications around the hill, or continue along the ridge overlooking the Hope valley.
2. Coquet Valley , Northumberland
The Coquet Valley is a lush haven of springtime verdure, fresh blossoms and all sorts of wildlife. A favourite route among walkers starts in the valley, heads across the moors following the Pennine Way for a short while, and ends up at Windy Gyle, one of the Cheviot Hills and the last landmark before the English border with Scotland.
3. Golden Cap , Charmouth, Dorset
Golden Cap is the highest point on the south coast, and forms part of the Jurassic Coast, England’s prime natural World Heritage Site. Naturally, it affords breathtaking views over the surrounding springtime countryside and the ocean, not to mention all kinds of interesting wildlife, from snakes and lizards to soaring birds and a host of seasonal flora. If the final climb is too much, don’t worry – most of the route takes in these spring sights. Begin at Langdon Hill car park, and follow the contour of the hill south towards Golden Cap – it’s difficult to miss!
4. The Stiperstones , Shropshire
One of Shropshire’s most distinctive natural landmarks, the Stiperstones is a series of quartzite tors offering outstanding views over the surrounding countryside. Steeped in legends of witches’ gatherings, a springtime walk here will lead you through a sea of purple heather and green whinberry bushes, up to fresh spring winds around Manstone Rock, the highest point. Start at the Knolls car park, and head north through Gatten Plantation.
5. Seven Sisters , East Sussex
White cliffs towering above, bright in the spring light, while the sea sighs in through the stones at your feet. The Seven Sisters certainly isn’t an area that scrimps on drama, and the large chunks of cliff-debris you’ll pass add a sense of poignancy, apt for this fleeting season. Start at Birling Gap and walk along the beach to Cuckmere Haven. On the way back, walk along the cliff tops, looking down at the waves below.
6. Clifton Suspension Bridge , Bristol
The impressive Clifton Suspension Bridge runs loftily over the rich green run of the Avon Gorge, and is a spectacular path to take on any walk in this area. Beginning at the bridge, cross to the west side and walk down past Burwall’s House, towards Burwall’s Wood. Here you’ll find snowdrops, bluebells and a host of wildlife, including peregrine falcons and green woodpeckers.
7. Bow Wood , East Midlands
All the spring beauty you could want is here: oak and birch trees and carpets of springtime flowers dappled with light through the leaves above. Bow Wood is a spring idyll, and its crisscrossing paths lead through its trees and up to Wickey Tor, a hill from which you can look out over the blossoming trees and across the Derwent Valley to the northeast. Bow Wood is noted for its central field, which allows a great deal of light in between the trees, and makes it a top spot to enjoy the season.
8. Beacon Hill , The Chilterns, Buckinghamshire
The rolling green Buckinghamshire countryside is some of the most quintessentially English landscape you’re likely to find. In springtime it’s resplendent with seasonal blossom and wildlife. One of the best ways to see it is by walking up to Beacon Hill, a steep chalk hill and the site of Cymbeline’s Mount, mentioned in Shakespeare’s play, Cymbeline. Begin near the church in nearby Ellesborough and follow the footpath upwards.
9. Cotswold Way , Gloucestershire
For 102 miles between Chipping Campden and Bath, the Cotswold Way National Trail undulates gently over sumptuous green hills, through untouched country villages and passes a number of Roman historical sites. Fortunately, you don’t have to walk the entire length of it to get a taste of spring. A good introductory excursion starts at Chipping Campden Tourist Information Centre. Follow signposts to the Cotswold Way, branch off at Dover’s Hill and head into The Lynches Wood , which is usually blanketed with bluebells in May. The path then curves back toward Dover’s Hill – in spring, this is the scene of the Cotswold Olimpicks , a folk sports event that dates back to the 17th century and is associated with the beginnings of the modern Olympic Games.
10. South Downs , Sussex
In the heart of the southeast of England, the South Downs are a haven for kestrels, falcons and wild rabbits. They’re also a prime location for fine views over the rolling hills to the sea and, particularly with this walk, across the region’s wooded hills, known as the Weald. Start at the car park beside The Trundle, a hill topped with the remains of an Iron Age fort. Walk down into the snug village of Lavant, passing through it, and follow footpaths up through the Downs to return to The Trundle. You’ll see plenty of spring lambs and great views to the coast at Bosham from the top.
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Falling Foss Tea Garden
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