WOW FACTOR WALKS WITH THE NATIONAL TRUST
The National Trust look after some spectacular landscapes with mysteries and wonders just begging to be discovered. There’s no better way to explore these beautiful places than on your own two feet so to help you they’ve put together 9 different walks with extra wow factor.
Step out and you’ll find walks through countryside which inspired John Constable and Alfred Wainwright as well as jaw-dropping waterfalls, iconic coastlines and panoramic views.
BATH SKYLINE, SOMERSET
The National Trust’s most popular walking route, the Bath Skyline trail lives up to its reputation with spectacular views over the World Heritage city, particularly from the west side of the walk and from Sham Castle, an 18th-century folly commissioned by Ralph Allen. The balcony at point three on the route and Smallcombe (accessible from Widcombe Hill) around point two are also great places to watch the sun set. The route begins just a mile from Bath Abbey.
BRECON BEACONS, POWYS
The 88ft (27m) high Henrhyd Falls, the highest waterfall in South Wales, is the undeniable highlight of this walk through the Nant Lech valley in the heart of the Brecon Beacons. The falls doubled as the entrance to the Batcave in the 2012 film The Dark Knight Rises and you too can disappear behind the waterfall and imagine yourself in Batman’s hideout. You’ll find the falls even more dramatic in a downpour.
BRIMHAM ROCKS, NORTH YORKSHIRE
After marvelling at the rock formations including the Dancing Bear and Druids’ Writing Desk at Brimham Rocks, this walk through Nidderdale will capture your senses with panoramic views over the Yorkshire Dales countryside. You’ll also see manmade landmarks such as the curious RAF radomes on Menwith Hill. A short section of the walk follows the tranquil River Nidd.
BUTTERMERE VALLEY, CUMBRIA
Explore the Lakeland landscape of the Buttermere Valley on a walk from Buttermere village to the summit of Rannerdale Knotts, returning by the shores of Crummock Water. You’ll be rewarded for your efforts with views of Rannerdale (known as the Secret Valley), High Snockrigg fell, Buttermere lake, Crummock Water and Loweswater. On your return why not visit the memorial to Alfred Wainwright in the church in Buttermere.
CHILTERNS COUNTRYSIDE, BUCKINGHAMSHIRE
Head up to the highest point in the Chilterns on a walk on Coombe Hill and soak in the views across the Aylesbury Vale. See if you can spot Chequers, the Prime Minister’s country retreat. As a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest, there’s plenty to admire underfoot too. In summer you can expect to see over 40 different species of wild flower and up to 15 different species of butterfly on the chalk grassland.
Flatford and the landscapes of the Stour Valley and Dedham Vale were made famous by the works of John Constable. Retrace the footsteps of the 18th-century landscape painter on a walk through Constable Country. You’ll pass Willy Lott’s House and Flatford Mill which inspired Constable’s paintings The Hay Wain and Boat-Building near Flatford Mill. You can also see waterfowl and wading birds at Cattawade Marshes.
HADRIAN'S WALL & HOUSESTEADS FORT, NORTHUMBERLAND
Step back in history to Roman times at Hadrian’s Wall & Housesteads Fort and explore the rugged surrounding Northumberland landscape on a walk to Sycamore Gap. One of several meltwater channels carved through the North Pennines Whin Sill, Sycamore Gap is so called because of the lone sycamore tree which stands there. It famously featured in the in the 1991 film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.
NEEDLES HEADLAND & TENNYSON DOWN, ISLE OF WIGHT
A walk along Headon Down towards the Needles Headland offers superb views of the iconic chalk stacks, the Isle of Wight’s most recognisable natural landmark, and the striking 19th-century lighthouse. At the western tip of the island, the Needles Headland is also ideal for catching sunset. You’ll also have great views towards the mainland along the route and look out for Dartford warblers in the heather on Headon Warren.
PORTSTEWART STRAND, COUNTY LONDONDERRY
A two-mile stretch of golden sand on the North Coast with views of the Inishowen peninsula and clifftop Mussenden Temple, Portstewart Strand also has other hidden delights. Take a walk through the sand dunes, home to orchids, to the shores of the River Bann estuary, popular with waterfowl and wading birds. The tranquil habitat of the beach, dunes and estuary makes it a good spot for watching sunset or stargazing.
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