I’ve teamed up with Berghaus to write about some of my UK best hikes. I’m rather new to hiking but last year I achieved 1000 miles! With one flat foot and the cardio of a person 3 (maybe 2 1/2) times my age, I’m not your obvious candidate for hiking and walking. I’m on a quest to show myself and the world, that anyone can get outdoors and it’s essential for our survival in this fast-paced world!
I adore coastal walking. Who doesn’t love constant sea views and some rest and relaxation with an ice cream or two, on the beach? I’d like to hike a section of the Anglesey coastal path in the near future.
Welsh Coastal Path: Porth Oer to Aberdaron – just over 8 miles
National Trust members get free parking here. Start at Porth Oer Beach (known as whistling sounds), a stunning sandy beach with clear blue waters and a cafe and toilet. Take a left on to the beach and head on over to the steps to start your hike to Aberdaron. This is the highest section of the well-marked coastal walk, in the Llyn Peninsula so be ready for some ascents.
- Be aware that dogs are only allowed on the beach September to March.
South West Coastal Path: Watergate Bay to Mawgan Porth 2.2 miles
Park at Watergate Bay (there’s a fee) and head north, leaving the bay by the scenic coastal road (it’s steep). Signs on the left show a small finger pointing to the narrow and winding coastal walk. You’ll hike over Strasse Cliff and Stem Point and there are many little hidden coves. Look out for the jet skiers and the kite surfers. Take care whilst on the horseshoe-shaped Beacons cove.
- Parents with small children beware as the path gets quite close to the edge.
Fife Coastal Path: Kingsbarns to St Andrews 8.5 miles
A glorious quiet section of the Fife coastal path but beware of Buddo Rock as high tide engulfs it. Some forward planning is required. Kingsbarns has a carpark with a toilet and picnic area. The walk takes you passed a golf course, scenic farmlands, meandering rivers and of course rocky coastline. There are lots of short steep sections.
- Dogs should be kept on leads due to grazing sheep.
I spend much of my free time rambling aimlessly in the Welsh hills and I’ve come to learn a hill is never just a hill. They vary in terrain and character substantially.
South Shropshire: Stiperstones 5 ½ mile circular
The Bog Centre is a good place to park (there’s a car park near to the Stiperstones if you fancy a shorter route), and to try their famous ‘bog cake.’ This walk is mainly lowland level, crossing vast fields with surrounding heather and bilberry hills. The hike up is somewhat steepish and short. Once you reach the top you can walk the exposed windy and jacquard ridge (it’s an ankle tester) that offers panoramic views. Visit each tower of quartzite rock which was formed some 480 million years ago! The area is steeped in mining history with tales of witches, devils and even the Romans. Why not visit the Devil’s chair to see if he’s home?
- Dogs on leads to protect ground-nesting birds
Scotland, Fife: Maspie Den 1.5 miles circular
Begin at the carpark (donations accepted) at the Falkland centre for Stewardship. Walk up the estate road, with the stables to your right and as you enter the woodland take the middle road. This hike will guide you over a wooden bridge, past historic structures, alongside streams, through old woodlands and a long dark tunnel, and as you ascend higher you’ll witness the beautiful Yid waterfall which is usually in full flowing force. I certainly can’t forget the views of the Lomond Hills here.
North East Wales: Ponderosa to Carrog – 7.3 miles
The Ponderosa cafe is your starting point between Llandegla and Llangollen. The first section is tough on the knees as you hike up and down the Llantysilio heather infused peaks. The first part provides 360 views of the Dee Valley, the Irish sea, and Snowdonia. You’ll then cross open fields, with views of the Clwydian hills, and end up on the ancient Drover’s Path and eventually drop down into the quaint Carrog village with lovely river views and a great local pub (awesome V and VE foods here).
I’ve only hiked a handful of mountains and they’ve all been in my lovely home of Wales. Whilst I’ve hiked Snowdon, I didn’t want to include it in my final list because there are so many lesser known mountains to explore.
Llandrillo to Cadair Bronwen 9.5 miles
Llandrillo car park is free. Start your walk by turning left from the car park, and a right before the community centre. Crossing the field diagonally through a gate and then up a road, and up a woodland track. Eventually, you’ll reach another gate which will lead you on to vast moorlands. Head for the forest here (great lunch stop). Follow the carved out grassy path until you’ll begin to see Cadair Bronwen to the left of you. Take great care due to deeps bogs! It’s actually better to do it in snow as the bogs tend to freeze over. The higher you reach you’ll be able to see Snowdonia, Bala, and the Dee Valley. The cairns mark the summit spot for Bronwen. Keeping the fence to your right, hike down the bog covered terrain until you reach a road, which will take you back to Llandrillo.
More route information.
Cadair Idris – The Pony Path 6 miles
My favourite and the first mountain I hiked in Wales. The popular Pony Path starts from Dolgellau side. Just up the road from the village is parking and toilets. After a bit of tarmac and woodland walking, you’ll begin your hike tackling the large stones which remind me of giant gappy teeth! Be warned they’re slippy due to water pouring down. The path zigzags and then flattens out halfway, before turning into uneven terrain nearer to the top. There is a low level of scrambling during your hike. It’s a lot quieter than the other Snowdonia mountains but it certainly packs a punch with varied terrain and spectacular views.
Capel Curig to Crimpiau – 4.5 miles
Capel Curig is my ultimate favourite place to start a walk – there’s so much to do around the area. I found Crimpiau during a walking course last summer. Although it’s not considered high, it is mountainous terrain so watch where you walk! There are wonderful views of Llyn Crafnant. It’s high enough to stretch those muscles but mostly I remember the last decent, which was so steep, my knees hurt for quite some time afterward. It’s easily done in an afternoon but as with every hike, always take a map! There are few chances to get lost around here if not.
How to stay safe on a hike
- Always tell someone where you are going;
- Learn how to read a map and use a compass;
- Hike with someone who has more experience than you;
- Don’t be afraid to turn back – the mountains will always be there;
- Wear and carry the right clothing and equipment (if in doubt ask) and make sure to include a first aid kit, head torch, and battery power pack
Talking of wearing the right clothing, I was gifted a Women’s Fellmaster waterproof jacket (size 14 – to put extra layers underneath) which I chose in a green shade, ready for the spring. I haven’t tried it out extensively yet but on first appearances, it’s got a handy inside pocket for a map, the hood fits snug and securely, it is GORE-TEX and they’ve confirmed that no animal products so it’s Vegan-friendly. I’ll be reviewing it properly at a later date.
How to make your hike more enjoyable
- Snack and drink throughout the day;
- Agree and set rest stops;
- Talk to your hiking buddy if you feel unwell, tired, or dehydrated;
- Apply blister proof plasters as soon as your feet begin to rub.
I’d love to know some of your best UK hikes and walks – please leave them in the comments below.