What’s your ultimate summer view? In a surprising list published to coincide with the Ramblers’ Walk Britain’s Great Views guidebook, there is no mention of the Lake District, while the White Cliffs of Dover and the mainstream sights of the Peak District are noticeable for their absense. Here is the Countryfile Magazine guide to the top 10 sites. Is your favourite among them?
1. Scotland: Glenfinnan
In the West Highlands of Scotland, the village of Glenfinnan with its loch side location is a fantastic place to wander on a hazy summer day. Why not do two fantastic things in one trip and visit during the August Highland Games? While you’re there, close your eyes and imagine Bonnie Prince Charlie rallying the troops as he did in 1745. This area of great natural beauty will astound seasoned walkers and beginners alike. Look out for the scenic railway that adorns the skyline, a feature of the popular Harry Potter films.
2. East: Cley Next The Sea
Situated along the Norfolk Coastal Path, Cley Next The Sea is truly a twitchers paradise. Enjoy the Blakeney Reggata and it’s ‘Greasy Pole’ event on 19 August this year. While you’re there, see if you can spot the Avocet, Spoonbill and Ringed Plover that make this corner of Norfolk their home. The Cley salt-marshes are protected by the Norfolk Wildlife Trust and are designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and it’s not hard to see why.
3. North East: Embleton Bay
The beautiful Dunstanburgh Castle overlooking the Northumberland coast provides a stunning gothic scene. The ruins overlook an empty coastland with beautiful views of the Embleton Bay. If you are a fan of food then visit during September for the Alnwick Food and Beer Festival. This year the 5th annual festival is being held from 19-20 of September. It’s worth attending as Alnwick was recently voted the 6th best place for gastronomy in the country.
4. South East: Seven Sisters
The Seven Sisters in East Sussex are a well-known spot of natural beauty. Almost devoid of modern buildings the majestic white chalk cliffs dominate the landscape. Erosion from the sea exposed the cliff side and it continues to recede. Each year new delights are on offer from this ever-changing landscape. Though, in order to see their true beauty, visit in June. Wait until the sun sets to enjoy the dramatic shadows that are cast over the smuggler’s beach.
5. South West: Clifton Suspension Bridge
For something a little more urban visit the Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol. Enjoy the incredible panorama over the Avon Gorge and take advantage of the fact that walkers can cross for free. The history of Brunel’s bridge is fascinating. Until recently, it was thought that the bridge’s supports were solid but in fact they are made up of incredible caverns, some as tall as a double-decker bus. The best time to enjoy a walk is during Bristol’s annual Balloon Fiesta from 6-9 August. Stay until the evening and see the bridge magically lit up.
6. North: Brimham Rocks
If you have a few spare days in July visit the Brimham rocks in North Yorkshire. One of North England’s best-loved natural wonders, the gritstone boulders have often been likened to different characters, and the 40 mile view is incredible. The rocks strange demeanour is due to erosion on Brimham Moor hundreds of thousands of years ago. Visit between 3-19 July and enjoy Nidderdale Festival, which boasts outdoor events as well as arts and drama.
7. Wales: Yr Eifl
In late summer the Yr Eifl hills of the Lleyn peninsula in North Wales are covered in downy bell heather. Its beautiful purplish-red colour along with dark green foliage makes an already beautiful walk all the more stunning. The trio of hills are often ignored by holidaymakers, who head for the Welsh coast. This makes it one of Britain’s hidden treasures.
8. South West: Golden Cap
The highest point on Dorset’s Jurassic coast is Golden Cap. Surrounded by ancient meadows, flower-filled hedgerows and thatched villages, a visit feels like a step back in time. The best time to visit is from late May to June when the clifftop Thrift is in flower. This flower often carpets coastal cliffs and is recognisable by its pink, globular flowers.
9. West Midlands: The Roaches
Staffordshire, the home of the Peak District, is full of amazing walks. Visit The Roaches to see one of the most dramatic landscape changes in Britain. These gritstone rocks guard the southwest approach to the Peak District National Park. They are best visited in June when Peregrine Falcons can be seen nesting in the area. Listen out, as Peregrine family groups tend to be quite vocal.
10. West Midlands: Stiperstones
These distinctive hills formed of Quartzite (a rare rock usually found in North America) are a haven for wildlife. With the finest views in Shropshire look out for weird rock formations and try and spot ravens, peregrines and red grouse. From the 4-7 June you could even join like-minded people by attending the annual Church Stretton walking festival. To join a walk you are advised to book in advance.
Walk Britain’s Great Views is published by the Ramblers, and available from bookshops priced £14.99 or free to Ramblers’ members.