Make time to find the path less trodden

The world has taken us on a road less travelled in recent months. But now we're able to make more time to enjoy the outdoors, we want to help you do this safely, away from crowds, by finding the path less trodden.

Woodland, coastal or in a city, there's always a greenspace to help you find a more secluded spot. Find an Area of Outstanding National Beauty (AONB in England, Wales and Northern Ireland) or National Scenic Area (NSA in Scotland) near you just waiting to be discovered. These special places are designated conservation areas thanks to their often jaw-dropping views, so naturally they can offer some of the best walking opportunities around.


Please follow government advice when spending time outside and respect the rules in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. You may not be able to travel to different parts of the UK where it would be inconsistent with guidance or regulations.

Latest government advice

Find your secluded spot!

Like you at the moment, our GetOutside Champions are staying local when exploring outside.

Whether that's an AONB/NSA or local coastal or country walk, they've shared below some of the paths less trodden that they've enjoyed from their doorsteps.

Use the map to find one of their walks, or scroll down for the complete list.


Wales

Rebecca Lees - Cariad Stones, Llantrisant Forest

​4.1km / 2.5miles​

Route in OS Maps Map: OS Explorer 151

A two and a half-mile walk through forestry and up to the hilltop Cariad Stones, 'cariad' being Welsh for love. This walk is close to the Royal Glamorgan Hospital, and therefore ideal for NHS staff in need of some breathing space.

Click to read more about Rebecca's walk below and follow her on Instagram.

Route in OS Maps fly-through for Cariad Stones, Llantrisant Forest, Wales


Route for Cariad Stones, Llantrisant Forest in OS Maps fly-through

Lisa Wells - Conwy Mountain

8km / 5miles

Route in OS Maps Map: OS Explorer OL17

A great family friendly walk over Conwy Mountain (Mynydd y Dref), with views over the coast of North Wales and the Carneddau mountain range. This walk can be extended down to Conwy town where you can walk around the town walls and visit Conwy Castle.

Quay House which is the smallest house in the UK is also worth a visit before re-joining the path back to your start point. There are a herd of Carneddau wild ponies still grazing on Conwy Mountain, with lots of free parking at the start of the walk this is a perfect short walk with plenty to see.

Click to read more from Lisa below and follow her on Instagram.

Lisa Wells walking at Conwy Mountain


Lisa Wells walking at Conwy Mountain

Phillipa Cherryson - Two walks in Wales

Gower Peninsula - 8.1km / 5.1miles

Route in OS Maps Map: OS Explorer 164

A lovely 8km walk, on the quiet North Gower coast. You'll walk through sand dunes, along the beach, then into a protected salt marsh and return through broadleaf woodland.

Click to read more about Phillipa's Gower Peninsula walk below and follow her on Instagram.

Wentwood Forest - 4.6km / 2.9miles

Route in OS Maps Map: OS Explorer 152

Circular stroll of just over an hour through broadleaf and coniferous woodland on broad forest tracks and woodland paths. Some stunning views down to the Severn Estuary and across to the mountains of the Brecon Beacons National Park.

Click to read more about Phillipa's Wentwood Forest walk below and follow her on Instagram.

Gower Peninsula map


Route along Gower Peninsula in OS Maps


Scotland

Hauxwell Family - Loch of Clickimin, Shetland

2.5km / 1.6miles

Route in OS Maps Map: OS Explorer 467

A lovely, fully accessible, one and a half mile circular flat walk around the Loch of Clickimin, where you can visit the historical stone built round house known as the Clickimin Broch and say hello to the local residents, some beautiful Shetland ponies in the field next to the Broch.

Click to read more about The Hauxwell Family's walk below and follow them on Instagram.

Brynn along Loch of Clickimin


Brynn along Loch of Clickimin

Loch of Clickimin sights


Loch of Clickimin sights

Sal Thornton - Two walks in Scotland

Flowerdale waterfalls - 5.1km / 3.2miles

Route in OS Maps Map: OS Explorer 434

5km walk to the top of the waterfalls at the Flowerdale Estate. A steep climb in paces but good paths and breathtaking views. Look out to the west once you reach the top for views or Raasay and Skye.

Diabaig to Craig and back - 8.3km / 5.2miles

Route in OS Maps Map: OS Explorer 433

Fantastic 8km there and back route to Craig Bothy from Diabaig. Good pathways and views over the West to Raasay and Skye.

Flowerdale waterfalls


Flowerdale waterfalls

Sal walking Diabaig to Craig and back


Sal walking Diabaig to Craig and back

Click to read more about Sal below and follow her on Instagram.


North England

Jessica Mather - Dean Wood, Leeds & Liverpool Canal and Ashurst Beacon

17.2km / 10.7miles

Route in OS Maps Map: OS Explorer 276

Escape the busy Wigan areas and experience this diverse walk. Starting with a wander under the trees through Dean Wood with the smells of wild garlic, sound of the brook and beautiful bluebells. You then come out for a steady wander down the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.

The final part of the walk is up hill on quiet trails to Ashurst Beacon where you can see views over to Rivington Pike and the surrounding areas of Lancashire. You return through Beacon Country Park with good trails back to the Car.

Click to read more about Jess below and follow her on Instagram.

Route for Town Moor Trail in OS Maps fly-through


Route for Town Moor Trail in OS Maps fly-through

Dave Wilson - Town Moor Trail

7.9km / 4.9miles

Route in OS Maps Map: OS Explorer 316

Escape the urban hustle and bustle on this five mile trail on the edge of Newcastle city centre. Newcastle's Town Moor and parks offer freedom and wide open spaces, featuring picturesque parks and quiet trails. Walks can start at a range of entry points, and the route visits Exhibition Park with its historic 'Palace of the Arts' and lake, 1000 acres of greenspace on the Town Moor, and lots of places to hide away in Nuns Moor & Leazes Parks.

Click to read more from Dave below and follow him on Instagram.

Debs North - Mallerstang

3.9km / 2.1miles

Route in OS Maps Map: OS Explorer OL19

This linear walk is a short section of a walk taken from the long distance walk - A Pennine Journey, which was a walk completed by Alfred Wainwright in 1938, and revised by David and Heather Pitt.

Click to read more about Deb's walk below and follow her on Twitter


Yorkshire & Humberside

Andrew White - Goole Three Bridge walk

12.8km / 8miles

Route in OS Maps Map: OS Explorer 291

Not in an AONB, but a walk many people in Yorkshire could access is this stunner on the flat in the East Riding of Yorkshire, starting from the port town of Goole. With tons of history and industrial heritage, you can find out why our Champion Andrew calls it his Three Bridge walk.

Click to read more about Andrew's walk below and follow him on Instagram.

Route for Goole Three Bridge walk in OS Maps


Route for Goole Three Bridge walk in OS Maps

Helen Pollard - Wensleydale 3 stepping stones - Offroad cycle route

32.9km / 20.5miles

Route in OS Maps Map: OS Explorer OL30

This offroad cycle route is based in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, Wensleydale. Its an all day adventure ride mostly off road exploring quiet areas of Wensleydale. It zig-zags up and down the Dale using 3 sets of stepping stones to cross the river Ure. Suitable for those riders with mountain bikes, reasonable level of fitness and experience of offroad riding (red route standard).

Click to read more from Helen below and follow her on Instagram.

Bikes at 3 stepping stones, Wensleydale


Bikes at 3 stepping stones, Wensleydale


Midlands

Cannock Chase woodland


Cannock Chase woodland

Rob Haggan - Cannock Chase

19.1km /11.9miles

Route in OS Maps Map: OS Explorer 244

Cannock Chase can often be overlooked when it comes to locations for weekend adventures. With the Peak District an hour to the north, the Malvern Hills an hour south, and the Shropshire Hills an hour to the west, this small forest in Staffordshire is often passed by in favour of those hills and peaks.

However, Cannock Chase has plenty to offer, and as the locals know, it shouldn't be dismissed so easily. Here's our guide to why you should visit, and the best 3 ways to explore Cannock Chase.

Click to read more about Rob's walk below and follow him on Instagram.

Cock Hill and Shittern Clough, Glossop


Cock Hill and Shittern Clough, Glossop

Suzanne Hill - Cock Hill and Shittern Clough, Glossop

5.3km / 3.3miles

Route in OS Maps Map: OS Explorer OL1

A really varied route on the edge of the Peak District with a lot of bang for your buck - epic views (on a clear day you can see as far as Snowdonia), a trig pillar, interesting terrain and a beautiful stream down the clough full of rhododendrons. For an easier walk, skip the ascent to Cock Hill.

Click to read more about Suzanne's walk below and follow her on Instagram.

Canal Walk in Wolverhampton


Route for Wolverhampton Canal Walk in OS Maps fly-through

Zoe Turner - Canal Walk in Wolverhampton

5.7km / 3.5miles

Route in OS Maps Map: OS Explorer 219

A linear walk along the Wyrley and Essington Canal. Escape the city and get lost in nature along the towpath. This walk ends at Rough Wood Nature Reserve, but the great thing about canals is that you can walk as long or as little as you'd like.

Click to read more about Zoe's walk below and follow her on Instagram.

View across Stiperstones


Bea the dog looking at view across Stiperstones

Sal Thornton - Stiperstones

9.3km / 5.8miles

Route in OS Maps Map: OS Explorer 217

9km circular following the length of the Stiperstones, with great views to the east and west. Perfect walk for sunrise or sunset, with good wide paths and easy terrain. A trig can be accessed via a short and easy scramble and the stones provide view points and scrambling along the ridge. Easy to cut short at Shepherds rock to make it around 6km.

Click to read more about Sal below and follow her on Instagram.


East England

Charlotte Ditchburn - Dunwich Heath

9.1km / 5.7miles

Route in OS Maps Map: OS Explorer 231

A walk through Suffolk Coast & Heaths AONB travelling across National Trust and RSPB land taking in lots of history and florna/fauna.

The walk starts at Dunwich beach where you spend a whole day in itself but if you continue on beyond Greyfriar's priory remains and woods you're in for a treet of native woodland and open heathland. There's plenty for everyone to do from bird twitching to trails for the kids this walk ticks all the boxes.

The walk is 9km and takes just under 2 hours but this can be varied however you would like depending on where you park, make sure you get the best of both worlds from the 5 mile shingle beach to the sandy footpaths throughout the heath and everything in-between.

Click to read more about Charlotte's walk below and follow her on Instagram.

Dunwich Heath and beach


Dunwich Heath and beach

Chris Webster - Tunstall Forest and Common

5.6km / 3.5miles

Route in OS Maps Map: OS Explorer 212

An easy ramble through open forest and common land along traffic free woodland paths (with one rural road crossing).

Click to read more about Chris below and follow him on Instagram.

Chris' family walking in Tunstall Forest


Chris' family walking in Tunstall Forest


London

Isle of Dogs, London Circular Walk


Isle of Dogs, London Circular Walk

Lisa Drewe - Isle of Dogs Circular Walk

7.1km / 4.4miles

Route in OS Maps Map: OS Explorer 162

A 7km circular walk around the Isle of Dogs in East London that follows a large meander in the River Thames and then crosses the historic Docklands area. This is a leisurely, level walk passed the colourful, reflective buildings of Canary Wharf, the largest city farm in Europe and some of the best views in London.

The calm waters of the Thames gracefully meander towards the sea as grebes, gulls and people alike enjoy the blue and green space it offers away from the city.

Click to read more about Lisa's walk below and follow her on Instagram.

Aaron on Lee Valley Walk


Aaron on Lee Valley Walk

Aaron Rolph - Lee Valley

10.4km / 6.5miles

Route in OS Maps Map: OS Explorer 174

Take time to meander along the multiple watercourses and grasslands of Lee Valley. With 10 reservoirs, eight islands and 13miles of footpath/cycleway, plus wildlife like cattle, herons and buzzards, there's so much to see, right in the heart of London.

Click to read more about Aaron below and follow him on Instagram.


South East England

Glyn Dodwell - A Trail with a Tale (Tail) – Watership Down

11.2km / 6.9miles

Route in OS Maps Map: OS Explorer 144

Watership Down in Hampshire became well-known as a result of the Richard Adams book of the same name, later made into a hit movie and follow-up television series. Start the walk at the White Hill Car Park, Stubbington Down (SU 51648 56480) and followed the line of the Wayfarer’s Walk.

Initially heading west, there is a gentle climb on a well made track up onto the top of Watership Down eventually arriving at the trig pillar. From here the path continues down through the woods and across a minor road finally arriving at the Ladle Hill Iron Age Hill Fort. From the car park to here takes about one hour with plenty of photo breaks.

Click to read more about Glyn's walk below and follow him on Instagram.

Watership Down Walk


Watership Down Walk

Kate Jamieson - The Itchen Navigation Trail

22.9km / 14.2miles

Route in OS Maps Map: OS Explorer OL22 Map: OS Explorer OL32

A beautiful linear walk along the historic Itchen Navigation, which used to be the canal from Winchester to the sea in the eighteenth century! This walk is easily accessible by train at various points (Southampton, Eastleigh, Shawford or Winchester). There are some lovely swimming spots dotted along in summer and plenty of wildlife, including otters, herons and plenty of fish!

It's a single file canal path for a lot of the trail, and can be muddy, so sensible shoes are a must. You could even detour off and take a walk up St Catherine's HIll in Winchester if you felt like getting an even better view of the route!

Click to read more about Kate below and follow her on Instagram.

The Itchen Navigation Trail


The Itchen Navigation Trail

Alex Middleton - Two walks in the South East

Castle in the Air - 14.3km / 8.9miles

Route in OS Maps Map: OS Explorer OL10

This epic walk explores Arun Valley, Arundel Castle & the South Downs. Picking up the Monarch’s Way, the lungs get a decent work out shortly after entering the Arundel Estate. There are wonderful views to the South Downs before a short detour gives you a first glimpse of the magical Arundel Castle. Enjoy a picnic overlooking the Arun Valley with Arundel Castle silhouetted on the skyline.

Arun Valley, Arundel Castle & the South Downs in OS Maps fly-through


Arun Valley, Arundel Castle & the South Downs in OS Maps fly-through

Head for the Hills - 16.8km / 10.5miles

Route in OS Maps Map: OS Explorer 145

Who would have thought that after 35 minutes on a train from Waterloo you could criss-cross quite so spectacularly around views of the Surrey Hills, the South and North Downs, and all from such a large and historic town that is Guildford? This walk has everything from very old and spectacular woodland, sandy heathland, streams, Winnie the Pooh-type moments, and a 12th Century church.

North Downs


North Downs

Click to read more about Alex's walks below and follow him on Instagram.


South West England

Southam and Cleeve Hill, Cotswolds


Southam and Cleeve Hill, Cotswolds

Zoe Homes - Southam and Cleeve Hill, Cotswolds

6.8km / 4.2miles

Route in OS Maps Map: OS Explorer OL45

There are hundreds, if not thousands of beautiful short walks in the Cotswolds, and this one has become a regular for me in recent weeks. Taking in ancient woodland, lush green meadow and open hilltops with views for days, this is a beautiful four-mile loop around Southam and Cleeve Hill that ticks all the boxes.

Click to read more about Zoe's walk below and follow her on Instagram.

Gus Mckechnie - Dorchester, Dorset

8.5km / 5.3miles

Route in OS Maps Map: OS Explorer OL15

Maiden Castle is a Iron Age Hill fort built around 600BC up to the point of a Roman invasion was home to what is now Dorchester (Dunovaria in Roman). The walk is a simple one from the centre of Dorchester which takes in a Roman amphitheatre. There's great views over Dorchester, Hardyes Monument and the Ridgeway. Be aware, it can be windy on top of the ramparts.

Click to read more about Gus below and follow him on Twitter

Eli Bishop - Symonds Yat Rock

7.7km / 4.8miles

Route in OS Maps Map: OS Explorer OL14

The Wye Valley AONB is regarded as one of the finest lowland landscapes in Britain. Symonds Yat Rock is an iconic viewpoint with bird’s eye panoramas of the Wye. This walk gives you a chance to see Yat Rock from a different perspective. A beautiful circular walk which takes in views across to the Black Mountains, Malverns and beyond as well as getting up close to the stunning River Wye.

Click to read more about Eli's walk below and follow her on Instagram.

Coastal views along Portland walk


Coastal views along Portland walk

Richie Poor - Hidden Portland

11.8km / 7.4 miles

Route in OS Maps Map: OS Explorer OL15

This fascinating, off-the-grid walk not only showcases some of the most wild and rugged coastline on the Isle of Portland, but also visits three lesser known but truly spectacular locations – Hiram’s Walk, Tout Quarry and Church Ope Cove. Some parts of this walk are on uneven, rocky or steep paths so one must be prepared for occasional moments of challenge - but the rewards are definitely worth it!

Click to read more about Richie's walk below and follow him on Instagram.

Shakespeare's Avon Way route in OS Maps fly-through


Shakespeare's Avon Way route in OS Maps fly-through

Mel Nicholls - Shakespeare's Avon Way, Tewkesbury

8.1km / 5miles

Route in OS Maps Map: OS Explorer 190

Beginning in Tewkesbury where the Avon meets the Severn and following Shakespear's Avon Way north along the river. A beautiful 8km flat route suitable for all the family, with views across open countryside and the banks of the Avon bursting with wildlife. Fields, trail, woodland and waterway waiting to be explored.

Click to read more about Mel's walk below and follow her on Instagram.


Bath Skyline sign looking back towards Bath


Bath Skyline sign looking back towards Bath

Jen and Sim Benson - Bath Skyline walk

9km / 5.6miles

Route in OS Maps Map: OS Explorer 155

Bath is a beautiful city to visit, with its majestic, honey-coloured Georgian architecture and pretty parks. It’s also a great to city to escape, and a short but steep climb from its eastern edges takes you to the airy green spaces high above the urban sprawl where leafy woodland and wildflower meadows feel like another world altogether. The Bath Skyline is National Trust-owned and the walk is mostly waymarked.

Click to read more about Jen & Sim's walk below and follow them on Instagram.


Two Blondes Walking - Avoid the crowds

Various routes in Devon

Area in OS Maps Map: OS Explorer OL28

Walking is a great way to experience the UK's outdoor spaces but avoiding the crowds is not always easy. With two coastlines and two National Parks, Devon offers plenty of options for us all to spread out and enjoy somewhere beautiful.

We love Dartmoor but planning your walking route in terms of exploration rather than destination is a good tip.

Click to read more tips from Two Blonde's Walking's below and follow them on Instagram.

Tom Sigler - Bluebell wander, West Woods, Wiltshire

Various trails in West Woods, Wilstshire

Area in OS Maps Map: OS Explorer 157

Join me via video on a morning's wander among the bluebells exploring West Woods in Wiltshire.

Click to read more about Tom below and follow him on Instagram.

Lisa Drewe - Thorney Island Circular Walk

12.8km / 7.9miles

Route in OS Maps Map: OS Explorer OL8

A 13km walk on an easy coastal path, part of the Sussex Border Path, on this Ministry of Defence-owned island which juts out into Chichester harbour in West Sussex. The route follows the wildlife-filled Thorney and Emsworth Channels that skirt around the secretive military interior of the island. There are fabulous views of the whole expanse of Chichester harbour, and the wild sandy beach at the southern tip is a great place for a swim.

Click to read more about Lisa's walk below and follow her on Instagram.

Statue along Cranham to Sheepscombe circular walk


Statue along Cranham to Sheepscombe circular walk

Sal Thornton - Cranham to Sheepscombe circular

8.9km / 5.5miles

Route in OS Maps Map: OS Explorer 179

Circular walk through woodland, open fields and common land. Views stretching across the valley with plenty of areas around the route to stop and picnic safely. The route is dog friendly, child friendly and easy walking with wide clear paths. The route is made up by mostly bridleways and has easy access for horses and bikes.

Click to read more about Sal below and follow her on Instagram.


Getting outside for fresh air and exercise is important for our mental and physical health. Now's a great time to explore new routes from your door, on foot or by bike.

Before you leave the house, look at a map to plot your own local route. Remember to check the weather, terrain and distance before setting off, to ensure everyone is able to manage both the path and distance. You should always take a map, compass and equipment suitable for the terrain and let someone know where you are going. For more help, have a look at our Beginner's Guides or Safety sections of this site.

Tell us where you're walking by using #GetOutside and tagging us on Twitter (@OSLeisure), Facebook or Instagram (Ordnance Survey).

If you’re in need of more motivation or inspiration to keep you active outside, visit the GetOutside Hub.

Published 29/05/2020

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