Best walks for spring in the UK
Looking for some of the best walks to enjoy in the UK this spring? Studies show that spending two hours or more outside every week can improve our health and wellbeing.
Spring is a great time to start enjoying some of the health benefits nature can bring; make like the flowers and enjoy the warmer temperatures and lengthening days.
We’ve compiled the best walks to enjoy in the UK this spring to catch the best of the season’s colourful splendour.
Rocks of Solitude river circut, Edzell, Angus
This impressive 6.5 mile (10.4km) walk follows the River North Esk through a steep gorge surrounded by clear woodland before winding down a minor road away from the river and into dramatic Scottish countryside.
The North Esk is a popular fishing river, so keep your eyes peeled for the salmon swimming upstream to breed later on in the year.
Explore Padstow and Stepper Point with a moderate six-mile walk around the mystical headlands; in folklore this is the shoreline where mermaids would lure soldiers to their fates.
In the springtime, the coastline is gloriously green and replete with beautiful pink blossoms. Look closely and you might be able to spot the dolphins who roam off Cornwall’s north coast.
When the sea breeze leaves you hankering for a bite to eat, the Rest a While Tea Garden opens after Easter and serves a variety of afternoon teas with stunning views of the sea.
Symonds Yat Rock to Biblins Loop, Forest of Dean
Symonds Yat Rock is one of the best places to visit in the spring. The views across the River Wye will take your breath away.
The 2.8-mile trail includes a trip on a traditional hand ferry, crossing a 1950s suspension bridge and steep valleys either side of the trail, so it is not for the faint-hearted!
It’s also a great place for bird-watching, so don’t forget your binoculars!
Hampstead Heath, London
For a taste of the wild in the capital, there’s few places better for a spring walk than Hampstead Heath.
Nearly 800 acres in size, Hampstead Heath is one of London’s best-known beauty spots and is a refreshingly green patchwork of parkland, hedgerow and lakes – with plenty of trees and woodland too.
What’s more, it’s not far from central London – a great way to escape the city for an afternoon.
Aysgarth Falls, Yorkshire
This leisurely walk through the Dales takes you past one of Yorkshire’s most stunning natural spectacles: Aysgarth Falls. The trail guides you to the best views of the three-tierd dramatic cascades, which swell after a wet winter, and leads you meandering past 14th century Bolton Castle.
Enjoy the sights and songs of a diverse range of birds, including goldcrests, blue tits and warblers, which flitter and soar above the bright wildflowers found along the paths. There is a 2.2-mile circular walk mapped out at the National Park Centre, but the beautiful surrounding area is yours to explore in the springtime.
Forest of Bowland, Lancashire
This moorland in Lancashire is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – and never more so than in the spring. This verdant area in the centre of Britain offers both intrepid and more leisurely ambles, where buzzards and kestrels can often be sighted overhead.
We recommend stopping off at Dunsop Bridge, where you will find the cosy Puddleducks Tearoom, a favourite among walks. Several trails head out from this village, which can take you past waterfalls and alongside the River Hodder.
Foodies in the area might wish to stop at the Inn at Whitewell, a traditional hotel and restaurant with delicious food, often featured in good food guides.
Banstead Woods, Surrey
This forest is a beautiful place to practice the art of forest bathing. The place comes alive in the spring, when the woodland is home to carpets of bluebells, wood anemones and cheery yellow celandines.
Just over an hour’s drive from London, it’s the perfect escape from urban life and you can enjoy all the colours of spring in the fresh air.
There are many paths through the forest, but one we recommend is the three-mile Banstead Woods Nature Trail, beginning at Holly Lane care park. Lucky visitors might catch sigh of rare butterflies and stag beetles on their travels.
Nicholaston Woods, near Swansea
Near the beach on South Wales’ stunning Gower Peninsular is Oxwich Nature Reserve. Starting by the sea, you’ll get all the benefits of coastal exposure before exploring Nicholaston Woods, with its mass of cowslips and primroses.
In April, you can catch the cuckoos who have migrated here; listen out for their songs that signal the arrival of spring.
The spring walks take you past varied landscapes of beaches, sand dunes, limestone cliffs and woodland, bejeweled with pink, yellow and white flowers. The views of Oxwich Bay’s sandy beach are breathtaking.
If you’re not feeling up to the 95-mile West Highland Way, the trails at Lochlan and Brecklet are a gentler way to see Scotland’s beautiful countryside. Walks around serene Glencoe pass through traditional gorse and reveal gloriously hued pastures of pastel spring colours.
Buttercups, primroses and wild strawberries can all be found on walks that give staggering views of Loch Leven and Linnhe. The mountains nearby may even be holding on to their snow caps when you visit, so remember to bring your hat and gloves if there’s still a chill in the air.
Grizedale Forest, Cumbria
With luscious ferm foliage and over 8,000 acres of woodland, Grizedale Forest has a lot to explore. What makes this area so special is the artwork by some of the leading names in contemporary sculpture along the way, cleverely combining natural and man-made beauty.
For a truly breathtaking view, follow signposts to the tarn junction and see the beautiful spring colours reflected in the mountain lake.
Holystone Wood, Northumberland
Perhaps the peace and tranquility of this wood is what attracted the religious order who built a nunnery here in the 12th century.
The village of Holystone soon grew around it, and despite the nunnery being long gone, the beautiful woodland remains.
It is an interesting place for both the bold naturalist and historian. There are worse places to get lost, but do take a map and a mobile phone as the woodland is wild and the footpaths old.
Kew Gardens, Surrey
If you can’t make it too far out of the capital, a trip to Kew Gardens will be sure to lighten your mood. The world-famous botanical gardens has a conservation area next to Queen Charlotte’s Cottage, which blooms every April with spectacular bluebells and spring flowers.
Venture further around the gardens and feel the optimism of the colourful crocuses. You’ll need to purchase a ticket to enter Kew Gardens, but there’s so much to do, it’s certainly worth it.
With the turning of the season, Kew lights up with daffodils and cherry blossom, and is a beautiful place to find a spot of calm in the city.
Randalstown Forest, County Antrim
This walk is great for animal lovers – there’s an owl conservation centre and a deer park on site. So close to the shores of Lough Neagh, you are also sure to see some of the rich bird-life that surrounds the area.
Originally the deer park of the Shane’s Castle Estate, the forest was acquired by the Forest Service in 1934, and between 1935 and 1940 a range of conifers such as Norway spruce and European larch were planted.
This is a working forest so the trails are subject to diversion.