Britain’s best spring walks

The arrival of the spring equinox signals the start of longer, and hopefully sunnier days, and puts a spring in the step of hikers everywhere. Here is our guide to the best spring walks in Britain

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From wildflower rambles to a coastline teeming with wildlife, celebrate the arrival of spring in the countryside with our pick of the best spring walks in Britain.

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1

Roseberry Topping, North Yorkshire

Roseberry Topping

Rosebery Topping ©Getty

Towering above Newton Wood is Roseberry Topping. Yorkshire’s Matterhorn, as it is also known, sits in the far north-west of the North York Moors National Park. It’s thought that its iconic profile may have been caused by a mine collapse in 1912. The soft clays and shales that lie beneath Roseberry Topping’s hard sandstone cap are rich in alum, jet and ironstone – it was this underlayer that the Victorians tunnelled into.

Distance: 8 miles (13km)
Duration: 4.5 hours

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2

Brigsteer Woods, Cumbria

Daffodils
Wordsworth’s famed daffs nod their heads to countless Lake District visitors beside Ullswater ©Shutterstock

Walk past a medieval castle and glowing wild daffodils with this four-mile walk in the Lake District National Park

This easy stroll passes Sizergh Castle before following woodland paths to tranquil Helsington Church, and one of the finest viewpoints in this corner of old Westmorland, an area earmarked for inclusion in an extended Lake District National Park.

Distance 4 miles
Duration 2 hours

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3

Rockcliffe to Kippford, Dumfries and Galloway

The Muckle’s gorse-topped summit, 100m above sea level, is ideal for little legs
The Muckle’s gorse-topped summit, 100m above sea level, is ideal for little legs/Credit: Simon Whaley
Explore Dumfries and Galloway’s blooming Rough Firth, a Scottish inlet dotted with tidal islands, gorse-clad hills and woodlands brimming with the sweet scent of bluebells in this four-mile walk

Distance: 4 miles
Duration: 2 hours

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4

Coille Mhor, Balmacara, Highland

Coille Mhor Balmacara
Coille Mhor, Balmacara ©Getty

A beautiful five mile woodland walk on the north-west coast of Scotland that comes alive with wildflowers, lichen, and trees in spring

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5

Handa Island, Sutherland

Handa Island
Hands Island ©Jake Graham

Wrapped by brutish Atlantic swells and biting winds, this remote island off the west coast of Scotland makes for harsh living. But in spring, enduring these forces is one of north-west Europe’s largest seabird colonies

Distance: 4 miles
Duration: 3 hours

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6

Marshfield, South Gloucestershire

The clear waters of the Broadmead Brook hold a few trout, bullheads and crayfish
The clear waters of the Broadmead Brook hold a few trout, bullheads and crayfish ©Raymond Bird
The southern Cotswolds, just south of the M4, is a hidden marvel on the edge of Bath and Bristol – explore this secret of the British countryside with a seven-mile walk alongside rivers and through fields

Distance: 7 miles
Duration: 4 hours

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7

St Catherine’s Hill, Hampshire

At the height of the wildflower season, more than 20 different flowers can be found per square metre on St Catherine's Hill, according to The Wildlife Trusts
At the height of the wildflower season, more than 20 different flowers can be found per square metre on St Catherine’s Hill, according to The Wildlife Trusts ©Tim Jackson Photography
Walk to the top of the tree-topped beacon of St Catherine’s Hill in historic Winchester with this easy four-mile stroll

Distance: 4 miles
Duration: 2.5 hours

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8

Llanthony and Hatterall Ridge, Monmouthshire

The route walks along a section of the Offa's Dyke Path
The route walks along a section of the Offa’s Dyke Path ©Alamy

Work up a sweat this spring by exploring one of Britain’s exhilarating national trails, the Offa’s Dyke Path. Running along the spine of England and Wales for 177 miles, this ancient path follows the eighth-century fortification built on the order of King Offa in an attempt to divide Mercia from rival kingdoms.

Distance: 4.6 miles
Duration: 3 hours

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9

Bridge of Allan to Dunblane, Stirlingshire

Bridge of Allen, Scotland
Bridge of Allen, Scotland ©Getty

The earthy scent of mosses, ferns and wild garlic are heavenly on this exquisite three-mile riverside ramble, where fish leap, herons stalk and weirs rumble.

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10

Aberystwyth, Ceredigion

Despite its attractions, even in the peak summer months, Aberystwyth never feels crowded
Despite its attractions, even in the peak summer months, Aberystwyth never feels crowded ©Getty

This spectacular five-mile cliff walk starts at the northern end of the town ascending Constitution Hill to follow the rugged Wales Coast Path to the dramatic sand dunes of Ynyslas.

Distance: 5 miles
Duration: 3 hours

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11

River Stour, Suffolk

Willy Lott’s House – the subject matter for Constable’s The Hay Wain
Willy Lott’s House – the subject matter for Constable’s The Hay Wain ©Alamy

A short walk along the marshy banks of the River Stour, running from the Suffolk town of Dedham to Flatford Mill – once home to painter John Constable – and back again

Distance: 3 miles
Duration: 1.5 hours

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12

Valley of Rocks, Exmoor National Park

Valley of the Rocks and Wringcliff Bay at sunset in Exmoor National Park, Lynton, England. (Photo by: Loop Images/UIG via Getty Images)
Valley of the Rocks, Devon ©Getty
Exult in towering sea cliffs where feral goats clamber skilfully between Devonian crags on our short circular walk around the Valley of Rocks in Devon.

Distance: 3.5 miles
Duration: 1.5 hours

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13

Monsal Dale, Peak District

Ramble the high tracks and waterside paths of Monsal Dale to revel in an explosion of seasonal colour
Ramble the high tracks and waterside paths of Monsal Dale to revel in an explosion of seasonal colour/Credit: Getty
On a sunny spring day with a hint of breeze, the new season’s wildflowers assault the senses. Stand on Headstone Viaduct and breathe deeply; ramson’s garlicky smell drifts by, while hints of yellow, white, blue and purple ripple tantalisingly on the flanks and floor of Monsal Dale.

There’s a treat in store on this four-and-a-half mile ramble across, above and into the Wye’s twisting, wooded gorge deep in the White Peak.

Distance: 4.5 miles
Duration: 2 hours

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14

Killerton Estate, Devon

Killerton, Devon

Cyclamens flower in the dappled light beneath the trees at Killerton Estate – later in spring, they are joined by rhododendrons, camassias, azaleas and camellias ©NT ImagesThe peaceful woods and parkland of this mid-Devon estate erupt with wild cyclamens in spring – it’s the perfect spot for a sunny April walk and a well-deserved cream tea

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Main image: Spring daffodils in woodland in the English Lake District, Cumbria/Credit: Getty