Outdoor expert shares five spring hikes you must try this year

From the famous beauty of the Scottish Highlands to the stunning South West Coast, these are the best hikes to try this spring in the United Kingdom

Two men hiking in the UK
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The United Kingdom is a treasure trove of natural beauty, with rolling hills, magnificent mountains, rugged coastline and plenty of wildlife. And nothing quite beats lacing up your favourite hiking boots and exploring it on foot, does it?

With the days becoming lighter and the warmer weather (hopefully) not too far away, the start of walking season is almost in sight. If you’re looking for a new trail to explore, the outdoor experts at Blacks have shared five of the most beautiful hikes across the UK to add to your spring calendar. You probably already have a few favourite walks that you're keen to explore, but for those looking for something new, these are some classics.

If you're new to hiking, make sure you're prepared; a waterproof jacket is a must (we're still in the UK after all), appropriate footwear and layers are all essential. You may even want to pack some waterproof trousers, just in case, and don't forget a backpack, you'll want plenty of snacks and water to fuel your journey. Happy hiking!

Hadrian's Wall Path, Northern England

Hadrian's Wall Path

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If a historical hike is what you’re after, then look no further than the famous Hadrian’s Wall Path. The 84-mile trail follows the ancient Roman wall that once marked the northern frontier of the Roman Empire. The route offers breathtaking views of the Northumberland countryside and you’ll stumble across plenty of other historical landmarks too, such as Roman forts and the famous Sycamore Gap.  

Blacks' experts say you can expect mixed terrain on this route, with some steep climbs and descents. But there’s several to choose from that vary in distance and difficulty, so you can find something to suit you.

Cotswold Way, Gloucestershire, England

Cotswold Way

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This 102-mile trail is ideal for those looking for a peaceful, picture-perfect walk, as you’ll stroll through honey-coloured villages and historic market towns of the Cotswolds. You can expect beautiful views of rolling hills, pastoral landscapes and lots of wildflowers whilst on this trail. 

It’s one of the easier walks, with well-maintained trails, so it’s ideal for families looking for a weekend adventure. You’ll encounter a few challenging climbs and descents, but there are alternative paths if you’d rather avoid them. 

The Pennine Way, the Midlands

The Pennie Way

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You’ll encounter wildflower meadows, rolling hills, cute villages and beautiful waterfalls on the Pennie Way, but this hike isn’t for the faint hearted. It’s a 268-mile trail stretching from Edale in the Peak District to Kirk Yetholm just inside Scotland. Blacks' experts say this makes it the most challenging walk in the UK, with steep climbs and rocky terrain. The weather can also be unpredictable too, so make sure you check the forecast beforehand, plan your route carefully and tell someone where you’re going. It’s truly an epic hike.

South West Coast Path, South West England

South West Coast Path

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You’ll be surrounded by superb coastline on this 630-mile trail as it follows the entire coastline of the South West peninsula. Expect to see lots of rugged cliffs and golden beaches. Also, take a pair of binoculars with you if you have some, as the spring time brings plenty of birdlife and you may even spot a grey seal. 

It’s a beautiful walk, but Blacks say it’s still one of the most challenging, with some rugged terrain, steep climbs and descents. Their advice is to always have a more manageable route as your plan B, just in case the weather takes a turn.

West Highland Way, Scottish Highlands

The Highland Way

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The West Highland Way is Scotland’s most popular long distance route, stretching 96-miles from Milngavie to Fort William. As you can imagine, you’ll pass some incredible views, and landmarks on this trail including Ben Nevis and Loch Lomond, and in the spring you can spot plenty of wildlife too. 

The trail is a bit of a mixture in terms of difficulty, with some areas being more strenuous than others. However, the West Highland Way says it’s not ‘technically demanding’ (so no walking poles needed) and that it’s even suitable for beginners. As the weather is prone to changing last minute, make sure you have a layering system such as a base layer, fleece jacket and waterproof jacket.

Bryony Firth-Bernard
Staff Writer, Active

Bryony’s T3’s official ‘gym-bunny’ and Active Staff Writer, covering all things fitness. In her spare time, you will find her in her natural habitat - the gym - where her style of training is a hybrid of bodybuilding and powerlifting. Bryony loves writing about accessible workouts, nutrition and testing innovative fitness products that help you reach your fitness goals and take your training to the next level.