Britain’s best spring walks

The arrival of the spring equinox signals the start of longer, warmer days and the countryside is awash with colour and wildlife. A perfect season for hiking, here is our guide on the best spring walks in Britain

Bluebells growing in a woodland in Northern England

Spring is a magical time of year to be out exploring Britain’s countryside. Unfurling flowers lace the forest floors, coastlines teem with returning seabirds and mammals and amphibians emerge from their winter slumber.

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March, April and May are busy months for insects too, as butterflies, bees and ladybirds begin to appear in search of food.

Celebrate this glorious time of year with our pick of the best spring walks in Britain.

Roseberry Topping, North Yorkshire

Roseberry Topping
Rosebery Topping in spring
Getty

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

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.

Rosebery Topping walking route

A wild exmoor pony trots through a forest

Brigsteer Woods, Cumbria

Daffodils
Wordsworth’s famed daffs nod their heads to countless Lake District visitors beside Ullswater ©Shutterstock
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Distance: 4 miles | Duration: 2 hours

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.

Brigsteer Woods walking route


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
Distance: 4 miles | Duration: 2 hours
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.

Rockcliffe to Kippford walking route

Wild garlic guide: where to find, how to cook it and recipe ideas

Late spring is the perfect times to go foraging for this versatile and pungent plant, which can be whipped up into a delicious soup or pesto. Our expert guide on where to find it and forage responsibly, how to cook it and tasty wild garlic recipe ideas.

 

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Coille Mhor, Balmacara, Highland

Coille Mhor Balmacara
Coille Mhor, Balmacara ©Getty

Distance: 5 miles | 3 hours

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

Coille Mhor walking route


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

Handa Island, Sutherland walking route


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

Marshfield, South Gloucestershire walking route

Bluebells guide: when do they flower, how to identify and best bluebell walks in the UK

One of the most welcoming signs of spring, make the most of the bluebell season this with our bluebells guide – learn when bluebells flower, how to tell the difference between English and Spanish bluebells and the best places to see.

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 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

St Catherine’s Hill, Hampshire walking route


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

Llanthony and Hatterall Ridge, Monmouthshire walking route


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.

Bridge of Allan to Dunblane, Stirlingshire walking route


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

Aberystwyth, Ceredigion walking route


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

River Stour, Suffolk walking route


Cwm Idwal, Snowdonia, North Wales
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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

Valley of Rocks, Devon walking route


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

Monsal Dale, Derbyshire walking route


Killerton Estate, Devon

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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

Killerton Estate, Devon walking route