Monday, 30 November -0001

The Globe Trotter

Our countryside is unbeatable - and best explored on foot

Written by Wendy Gomersall

I love travelling and have stood in many of the world’s most beautiful landscapes – Botswana’s Okavango Delta, New Zealand’s awesome Fjordland, Jordan’s amazing Wadi Rum.

But the best bits of Britain match them all, so here are some of the finest walking holidays for exploring our jolly pleasant land… Celtic Trails offers 45 self-guided holidays in Britain and Ireland, each tailor-made into manageable chunks. You choose how far, and how often, you want to walk in three or 13 days.

Accommodation, luggage transfers, parking, maps and guide notes, even a packed lunch if you wish are arranged, so you’re free to just enjoy the countryside.

New for the 2012 is the Wales Coast Path, the first coastal path to outline an entire country. Classic routes include Hadrian’s Wall, the 73-mile coast-tocoast barrier across England, seven nights from £485 per person; the 110-mile Dingle Way in Ireland, seven nights from £759 per person; and Offa’s Dyke Path, 177 miles coast-to-coast from the Bristol Channel to the Irish Sea, 15 nights from £1,535 per person.

01291-689774, www.celtic-trails.com 

Ramblers Worldwide Holidays offers three Wales Coast Path walks, all with half-board accommodation and a dedicated tour leader.

The five-night Edge Of Wales follows the path down the Llyn Peninsula beginning at Clynnog Fawr, from £509 per person; five-night Ceredignon and the Pembrokeshire Coast begins on the Ceredigion Coastal Path with views of seals and dolphins if you’re lucky, from £339 per person; and Offa’s Dyke is a seven-night holiday from Prestatyn to Chepstow, from £599 per person.

New tours from May 2013 include The Vale Of Lune, a seven-night trip exploring Lancashire’s limestone hills and coast, from £457 per person; the sixnight Sperrins and Mountains of Mourne holiday in Northern Ireland features Brandy Pad, an old smuggler’s track, and Slieve Donard, the region’s highest peak, for lovely views, from £584 per person.

01707-331133, www.ramblersholidays.co.uk  

On Foot Holidays offers a Dorset walk through Thomas Hardy country, with a stay at The Brace Of Pheasants, a classic eightroom ‘olde worlde’ thatched pub in a pretty hamlet called Plush.

Available from April to October, the walk costs from £655 per person, and the price includes six nights’ B&B, one night room-only, luggage transfers and route information.

01722-322652, www.onfootholidays.co.uk 

Want to go where few have trodden before? Knoydart Peninsula trip in Scotland, offered by Wilderness Scotland, explores Britain’s most remote and beautiful mainland location, accessed only by 30-minute boat ride or a full day’s walk. This special eight-day walking holiday, which also includes Skye and the Small Isles, runs from Mallaig on 21 to 28 July and 11 to 18 August, from £995 per person. Accommodation in a wilderness lodge, all meals, boat transfers and a guide are included.

0131-625 6635, www.wildernessscotland.com 

If you’re a beach baby and prefer a more casual walking holiday, you can step straight on to the seven-mile beach at Camber Sands in East Sussex from two apartments offered by Freedom Holiday Homes. Both have balconies with sweeping sea views where you can relax postexercise. Sandunes Two (sleeps four) and Golden Sands (sleeps four) each cost from £604 for seven nights in July/August.

01580-720770; www.freedomholidayhomes.co.uk 

If forest walks are more your thing, the award-winning 5-star boutique B&B Cottage Lodge, Brockenhurst, in the New Forest, offers guests fi ve walks with a map and notes telling you what seasonal flowers and wildlife to look for. Each 10-mile walk takes most of a day and includes a recommended pub for lunch. Cottage Lodge has a dog-friendly room so you can take your pet, too (from £10). Room rate: from £59 per night, including breakfast.

01590-622296, www.cottagelodge.co.uk 

Finally… Mums and grandmas with young charges can still go for a nice walk. Beautiful Buggy Walks: England by Richard Happer, £16.95 – www. beautifulbuggywalks.co.uk – details 50 walks by length, time, diffi culty and most suitable buggy- and child-friendly pubs, best picnic spots – and the nearest powder room.

Wendy.Gomersall@lady.co.uk



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