The National Trust isn’t just about palatial country houses and gorgeous gardens, it’s also responsible for protecting huge swathes of countryside and coastland. In fact, the Trust cares for some of Britain’s most famous and beautiful natural areas, which are just begging to be explored on foot, year-round.
If you want to get the benefit of great days out all year round, and help to protect our heritage 2016 National Trust Membership offers a fantastic deal.
Here at Green Abode we love nothing better than lacing up our walking boots and hitting the great outdoors, so we’ve put together some of our favourite National Trust walks around England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Some are lengthy treks and days out, others are gentle strolls, so there’s bound to be something to suit and inspire you. National Trust walks are easier to find as the Trust has produced dozens of handy downloadable guides and route maps. You’ll find the links to these in the region-by-region sections below.
National Trust Walks in the South West
The South West is one of England’s most appealing regions. From Dorset’s Jurassic coast to the rolling countryside of Wiltshire and Somerset and the classic coastal scenery of Devon and Cornwall, you’re never far from excellent walking, and the National Trust manages dozens of sites in the region.
Cheddar Gorge is also hard to beat, or what about a walk around the leafy outskirts of Bath for spectacular views of this gorgeous Georgian city?
Down in Dorset you’ve got the gentle stroll to historic Corfe Castle or maybe a trip to Old Harry Rocks, one of the most recognizable and beautiful parts of the Jurassic Coast.
Check out the National Trust’s Top Ten South West Walks.
National Trust Walks in London and the South East
You might not have thought it, but London’s got some great walking potential. And the wider South East is chock full of beautiful spots for a countryside ramble.
Why not head for the grounds of Ham House and combine a stroll here with a foray into Richmond Park for a great London day out.
Or enjoy the extensive park and farmland of Osterley Park in Isleworth. The estate’s spectacular mansion house is surrounded by trails perfect for leisurely strolls.
Leith Hill, meanwhile, provides a classic Surrey viewpoint, and is well worth the steep climb.
Over in Sussex, there are miles and miles of National Trust managed land, including many stretches on the South Downs Way itself. Devil’s Dyke near Brighton is always a popular spot for a walk, with its magnificent downland views. Or explore the secluded downland valleys and woods at Harting Down.
There are loads more spots to discover in the region, so take a look at the National Trust’s London and the South East regional guide for more info.
National Trust Walks in the East of England
The East of England is home to a rich variety of landscapes, from the Norfolk Broads to the Cambridgeshire Fens plus long, windswept stretches of wonderful coastline.
Wicken Fen is a great spot for a short, nature-filled walk. It’s the Trust’s oldest nature reserve and one of Europe’s most important wetland areas. Wander across the raised wooden boardwalks and stop off at the many hides to look out for rare birdlife.
Dunstable Downs, over in Bedfordshire, provides more challenging walking. You’ll enjoy superb views across the Vale of Aylesbury and Chiltern Ridge. This Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is also a kite-flying paradise.
Check out the National Trust’s downloadable walking guides for the East of England for more inspiration.
National Trust Walks in the Midlands
There’s some first-rate walking in the Midlands, with Derbyshire alone boasting some of England’s finest trails. But the Midlands is not just about the Peak District, there’s great walking all over the region.
Climb up to the Four Stones in Clent Hills in Worcestershire, for panoramic countryside views or take an easy stroll through the Dudmaston Estate in Shropshire, taking in the lake and traditional woodlands.
Clamber up to Mam Tor for one of the Peak District’s most memorable views – it’s not as hard as you might think. Or over on the Herefordshire-Worcestershire border you could take a wander along the sculpture trail at Brockhampton, passing through idyllic ancient woodland.
The National Trust’s regional guide to the Midlands for a full set of ideas for great days out.
National Trust Walks in Wales
You’re never far from great walking in Wales, whether it’s among craggy peaks, rolling countryside or stunning, surf-lapped coastline.
The Brecon Beacons offer some of the most rugged, and accessible, hiking in Wales. And whether it’s the challenging horseshoe ridge trail or the scramble up to Pen-y-Fan, southern Britain’s highest mountain, you’re bound to find something that appeals.
Over in south west Wales, the stunning Pembrokeshire coastline boasts fantastic cliff top views, lovely beaches and plenty of wildlife. The walk to St David’s Head on the very tip of the peninsula is particularly dramatic, but there’s plenty of gentler walks here too.
Snowdonia, of course, is the location for some of Britain’s very best hiking – try the tough but short walk up Craflwyn and Nantgwynant for spectacular waterfalls and maybe even a few mountain goats on the way.
The National Trust has produced dozens of downloadable walking guides to spots across Wales.
National Trust Walks in the North West
The Lake District is synonymous with quality English walking, and the National Trust manages dozens of outstanding countryside areas there, plus several other great walking spots in the wider North West.
There are loads of other walks in the Lake District and North West, so check out the regional guide of places to go for more ideas.
National Trust Walks in the North East and Yorkshire
The North East and Yorkshire has some of England’s most outstanding walking country, from the remote Northumberland coastline to the renowned countryside of the Yorkshire Dales and beyond.
Lindisfarne Castle on Holy Isle can only be accessed at high tide, but it’s well worth the effort to get there, with easy scenic walking on this magical island.
Or, still in Northumberland, take a longer jaunt from Craster to Low Newton along the sandy coast and past the atmospheric ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle.
National Trust Walks in Northern Ireland
There are some excellent walking opportunities in Northern Ireland. Many of the National Trust’s properties there have lovely walks in their grounds, while there are also some more rugged countryside and coast destinations.
Castle Ward in County Down has dozens of trails on its extensive grounds and by Strangford Lough. For a slightly more challenging trek, try the mountain trail up Divis and the Black Mountain, also in County Down.
Then there’s the lough-side landscape of Crom in County Fermagh, forming one of Northern Ireland’s most important conservation areas.
Or head to County Antrim and take the boat across to Rathlin Island for easy walking on this rugged island where you’re likely to spot the resident puffins and seals.
Download the National Trust’s Northern Ireland walking guides for full details of these walks and others.
For more great days out out and to find out more about National Trust walks, visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk.
If you want to make the most of what else is available, 2016 National Trust Membership offers are fantastic value for families and individuals alike.