When the countryside is coated with a dusting of frost or layered with snow, it becomes a fabulous new outdoors playground. Walking amid the newly created winter landscape is also hugely rewarding.
You don’t have to go far for a great walk, especially if you’re worried about the kids becoming chilly or tired, but it is a fabulous time of the year for blowing away the cobwebs. We recommend you take advantage of a clear and dry day for your winter walk.
Being outdoors in wintertime is brilliant for your physical well-being. Instead of curling up on the sofa and hibernating all winter, you’ll benefit from regular walks for maintaining your fitness and keeping your heart healthy. Walking in the colder season is also a number one way to boost your mental health. In winter, many people suffer with the winter blues or SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) but just 20 minutes of natural daylight each day can be enough to help most people to chase away the blues.
And with the festive holidays only a couple of weeks away, you’ll have plenty of time for family togetherness and walking. In fact, a walk on Christmas Day can be the ideal solution for
potential grumpiness among adults and children as you spending too many hours cooped up indoors.
Five Great Winter Walks
1. Pepperpot walk, Cumbria
A walk of almost 5 miles (or almost 10 miles if you retrace your steps) in Arnside and Silverdale, this route offers lots of reward. The area is one of the most biodiverse in the world, outside the tropics, so even in winter you should see lots of flora, fauna and wildlife. You’ll also see man-made attractions such as the Pepperpot, which was built to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee. Make sure you’re all wearing good quality walking boots for this route, which mainly follows well-defined tracks but also includes some steeper sections with loose stones.
2. Walk at the coast, Bournemouth
A brisk seaside walk is fantastic at any time of the year, but in winter the drama of the crashing sea adds a new dimension. If you live close to Britain’s shoreline you’ll no doubt have a favourite destination already. Wrap up warm in waterproof and windproof winter clothing and make the most of a day that has bright blue skies. One walk to recommend on the south coast is Old
Harry Rocks walk near Bournemouth.
3. Solstice Saunter, Yorkshire
The winter solstice takes place when the sun appears at noon at its lowest altitude above the horizon. This usually occurs in the UK on December 21 to 22. A Solstice Saunter guided walk heads from Mirfield, West Yorkshire, on Saturday December 22 with the Ramblers' North Kirkless group. Starting at 10.30am, the five-mile walk offers great views and a chance to meet like-minded people.
4. Wildlife walk, East Anglia
Did you know that just 0.1% of Britain’s fenland remains undrained. This short walk takes in Wicken Fen, which is the most accessible remnant of the East Anglian habitat and the National Trust’s oldest nature reserve. There will be chances to spot plants, rare birds, such as the bittern, and mammals, psibly including otters if you’re lucky.
5. Lochore circular, near Lochgelly
A Scottish loch is difficult to beat at any time of year for fabulous scenery, but in winter a loch can take on an ethereal atmosphere with icy waters, mist and frost-covered trees. Loch Ore, near Lochgelly, in Fife is a great place to head for a 3.25-mile flat walk. You might also spot a few winter birds.
More great places to walk
For other ideas for top winter walks check out the Ramblers’ website. From December 22 to January 6, the Walkers’ Association runs their Festival of Winter Walks. There are a host of guided walks being organised, as well as suggestions of great places to walk in winter in your local area.