Grab the countryside by the horns and try something new with our guide to seven active and adventurous ways to experience the great outdoors.
1. Wild swimming
Dive in to this intensely invigorating way of experiencing the countryside! The majestic mountains surrounding our many lakes, lochs and llynoedd form amphitheaters for a truly unique way of getting the most out of the Great Outdoors. Growing in popularity, there are a huge amount of outdoor swimming clubs and events around the country throughout the year. Check out the Outdoor Swimming Society for tips and find a location near you with our guide to the best wild swimming spots in Britain.
More than a walk but less than a climb, srambling is essentially an exposed walking route and requires you to use both your hands and feet to scramble up terrain. If you want more from the mountains and a bigger challenge than a walk this is the ideal activity to get involved in. Beginners should start on Grade 1 routes with someone more experienced supervising – Plas Y Brenin in Snowdonia offers introduction courses.
3. Trail running
Bored of the treadmill or the park path? Trail running provides an opportunity to get fit whilst taking in some stunning scenery. Whether you’re looking for a relaxed jog or to really push yourself, this activity exposes you to all that is desirable about the countryside and is a truly refreshing way to enjoy it. Forests, hills, riversides, fields and beaches- the whole of the outdoors is your gym and is there to be seized! Check out the Trail Running Association for guides and events.
4. Sea kayaking
Exploring the nooks and crannies of our shores is not only a thrilling experience but also provides a unique vantage point from which to see marine wildlife. Coastal kayaking is particularly good for reaching otherwise inaccessible areas to spot seabirds on cliff faces only accessible from the sea. Cornwall and Pembrokeshire are paradises for sea kayakers and both have a number of centres that cater for all abilities.
Scotland is teeming with towering peaks and provides the perfect place to try skiing or snowboarding right here in Britain. Although restricted to certain times of the year, Scotland’s numerous ski resorts provide introductions for all abilities and open the door to a thrilling way of experiencing the thrill of powder in beautiful surroundings. There are even six ski centres in England (Pennines and Lake District) if Scotland is out of your reach – find the best spot for you with our guide to the best places to ski in Britain.
6. Off road cycling
Walking through a forest is nice. But speeding through it on a bike with the wind in your hair and the sweet smell of pine stimulating your senses is exhilarating. If you fancy an exciting change to your weekend strolls, off road cycling is the perfect alternative and allows you to squeeze in more of the countryside in a short space of time. There’s no obligation to rush along though, it is just as enjoyable to gently roll along and absorb the sublime surroundings upon your steed.
Even at night the countryside has as much to offer as in the day. Away from urban light pollution, rural areas are sanctuaries for the stars. Stargazing is a magical experience that you can try with barely any equipment, and you might even catch a glimpse of nocturnal nightlife, which is always a rare treat. There are many websites that have information on what to see, where and when – try the National Trust‘s beginner-friendly guides.