Pull on your boots and a snuggly scarf and experience Britain at its most wild and wintry with these 9 walks through its varied landscapes.
Walk with the Romans, northern England
Put yourself in a Roman soldier’s sandals and follow this archaeological marvel across England's northernmost counties of Northumberland and Cumbria. Hadrian’s Wall Path runs for 84 miles (135km) across this World Heritage Site and bisects weathered moorland and a patchwork of fields under vast skies. In winter you might want to follow a variety of shorter, circular routes.
Blow away the cobwebs, eastern England
Invigorate the senses on one of the broadest and most unspoilt beaches in the UK. Holkham Beach is part of one of the biggest nature reserves in Britain and in winter it’s chock full of migrant birds. Soak up stormy seas and endless skies and share the beach with birdlife such as larks, finches and pink-footed geese. Get to the beach via Lady Anne's Drive on the A149 (opposite The Victoria Hotel).
Windswept moors, south-west England
Dartmoor in south-west England feels like a proper wilderness especially in the winter. The Postbridge audio walk is a 6-mile (10km) circular walk that includes far reaching views from Hartland Tor, historical remains from Dartmoor’s industrial past and an impressive waterfall. Download the audio walk from the Dartmoor website.
Wild moorland, Wales
Within easy reach of Wales' capital city Cardiff, Fforest Fawr is an expanse of woodland, moorland and meadows in the Brecon Beacons National Park was once an ancient hunting ground. With pounding waterfalls and many walking routes, the area is an excellent and accessible destination for brisk winter walks. It’s an alternative to wilder Snowdonia which can be challenging in the winter months.
Lake reflections, northern England
Wastwater is the most dramatic of the Lakes and is surrounded by peaks including Scafell Pike – England’s highest mountain. It’s a popular spot for walking but in winter the crowds stay away leaving you to absorb this most ruggedly beautiful of Lake District views. Start at the Scree Inn at Nether Wasdale.
A taste of the countryside in London, England
The largest Royal Park in London, Richmond is a true taste of the countryside. Walk under ancient trees stripped bare and spot red and fallow deer grazing beside the paths. Don’t miss the uninterrupted view of St Paul’s Cathedral from the top of King Henry’s Mound.
Volcanoes in the city, Scotland
Banish the last vestiges of your Hogmanay hangover with a blustery stroll up the extinct volcano on the edge of Edinburgh, Arthur’s Seat, or the Salisbury Crags in Holyrood Park. These remarkably wild volcanic outcrops are a suprising sight beside the city and the climb rewards with fabulous views over Edinburgh and beyond. In clear winter light or under a sugaring of snow, Holyrood Park is magical.
Wild ponies and deer, southern England
There are 19,300 acres (78km2) of New Forest in southern England, with about 150 miles (241km) of car-free track for walking and cycling. You are bound to bump in to 1 or 2 of the wild New Forest ponies. The UK's Forestry Commission provides a variety of guided walks during the winter months throughout the New Forest National Park. Take the Tall Trees Trail to see majestic evergreen conifers or the Deer Watch Trail which ends at a viewing platform for spotting fallow deer.
Snowy peaks and a dram of whisky, Scotland
Glen Muick and Loch Muick Nature Reserves in Scotland's Aberdeenshire is beautiful at any time of the year but in winter, with a dusting of sugary frost, the deserted glens take on a still majesty that’s extra special. Share your walk with herds of wild red deer, admire the snow-covered peaks of Lochnagar from Glen Muick and finish your walk with a warming dram or 2 at the Royal Lochnagar Distillery.