Top spots for walking this summer with the National Trust all in one place so you can meander through meadows and moorland, parkland and gardens, by lakes and on the coast is one of the best things about summer. You can enjoy the colourful blooms of July and August or see nature up close with birds and butterflies on the wing.
A late afternoon or evening walk could produce a glorious sunset over your favourite view point or stay out a little later to catch a starry sky on a clear night.
Remember to pack the essentials, water, sun cream and a hat, as you take in the views at the some of the special places the National Trust cares for on their favourite summer walks.
Top spots for walking this summer
Boscastle and the Valency Valley, Cornwall
Beginning in the picturesque seaside village of Boscastle, this walk explores the cliffs above Boscastle’s medieval harbour before heading inland across the Valency Valley and through peaceful woodland, alongside the meandering Valency River.
Castle Drogo, South Devon
Perfect for families and anyone unfamiliar with astronomy, this walk will introduce you to star gazing in the tranquillity of the Teign Valley, near Castle Drogo. The open skies are a magical location for star gazing and wildlife spotting. You can also print off a copy of their summer star gazing guide to take with you.
Bolt Head, Devon
Discover the dramatic coast around Salcombe, walking from East Soar to the charming secluded beach at Soar Mill Cove. After a rest on the beach, journey around the jagged rocks at Bolt Head and drink in the fantastic views as you walk up the Salcombe Estuary.
Ivinghoe Beacon on the Ashridge Estate, Hertfordshire
Ivinghoe Beacon is the best point on the Ashridge Estate to enjoy spectacular views over several counties. Ivinghoe hill is speckled with hundreds of wild flowers and rare orchids and even rarer butterflies like the Duke of Burgundy. The Beacon is steeped in history, including prehistoric earthworks, Iron Age hill fort, Bronze Age burial mounds and rutted paths from centuries of cattle droving. Have a go at the butterfly trail, perfect in the summer months.
Compton Bay & Downs, Isle of Wight
Butterfly spotting doesn’t get any better than this. As you walk along the chalk ridge that runs through the middle of the Isle of Wight you’ll find an abundance of flora and insect life. Look out for beauties including the Adonis blue, small blue, dark-green fritillary and Glanville fritillary.
Devil’s Dyke, West Sussex
Devil’s Dyke Histories and Mysteries walk has stunning views and the opportunity to see kestrels and the remains of an Iron Age hill fort. The trail passes through chalk land and woodland, with a café en route, and then on to one of their working farms, Saddlescombe. The walk finishes near a country pub for a final pit stop. https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/devils-dyke/trails/devils-dyke-histories-and-mysteries-walk
Calke Park, Derbyshire
As well as a grand Baroque mansion with a large natural history collection, Calke has secret walled gardens and a parkland, much of which is a National Nature Reserve. The park is a rich and varied landscape of grassland, ponds and wood pasture – one of the rarest habitats in Europe. You’ll also find majestic veteran trees and some great bug-watching sites. There are no public roads at Calke so it’s perfect for a peaceful walk.
Derwent Valley, Peak District
Wonderful for taking in the many Peak District habitats, this walk will lead you alongside the Ladybower Reservoir, through farmland and up steep wooded cloughs, before emerging high on top of the moors. The panoramic views of the Derwent Valley and much of the Dark Peak are are stunning on a clear summers day.
Hardwick estate, Chesterfield
Once home to Bess of Hardwick, the hall’s Elizabethan splendour dominates the landscape, which once provided for her household. Much of Hardwick looks the way it does today because of the way Bess and her Devonshire descendants shaped the countryside to meet their needs. A walk around the estate could transport you back to its heyday.
East of England
Wicken Fen, Cambridgeshire
The whole family can enjoy the wildlife in this unique habitat on an easy walk. Visit 3 wildlife hides including the 10metre high Tower Hide, with commanding views across the reserve, and in summer you could take a short detour onto the Butterfly Trail.
Blakeney to Stiffkey, Norfolk
Norfolk’s vast open landscape and big skies are highlighted on this lovely walk along the coast path beside pristine saltmarsh. Remember to bring your binoculars, as there are lots of wildlife-spotting opportunities across the marshes and scrub!
Dunstable Downs, Bedfordshire
The coloured jewelled way-markers on this pleasant route form a loop at the top of Dunstable Downs, taking in woodland, grassland and, as you return to the Chiltern Gateway Centre and open pastures with views of Aylesbury Vale.
Craster to Low Newton, Northumberland
For a bracing and beautiful coastal walk, Northumberland is without compare. This walk takes you past Embleton beach, winner of BBC Countryfile Magazine’s Beach of the Year award. Setting off from the fishing village of Craster, passes the mighty ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle, and the long sweep of Embleton Sands before reaching Low Newton by the Sea. It’s a wonderful walk all year round but is ideal for paddling (or swimming for the brave) in summer.
Old Saltburn to Warsett Hill, North Yorkshire
Starting in the Victorian seaside town of Saltburn-by-the-Sea, this walk has many interesting features. Though the area may seem like a natural landscape when enjoying the coastal wildlife, man has had a significant impact on it.
Sticklebarn Blea Tarn trail, Cumbria
This walk offers a great opportunity for all to get out into the fells safely, while enjoying brilliant views of Lingmoor and Pike of Blisco and other surrounding Langdale fells. The vistas on a clear summers day are incomparable.
An easy walk around Bosherston’s beautiful lily ponds, with options to explore the dunes and pools of the Mere Pool Valley behind Broadhaven beach. The walk is mostly along even gravel paths with two narrow causeways. This walk is rich in wildlife all year round.
Marloes Peninsula, Pembrokeshire
Explore this beautiful heathland peninsula, which has amazing views over the Pembrokeshire coast and is teeming with wildlife, such as seals, seabirds and porpoises. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/marloes-sands/trails/marloes-peninsula-coastal-walk
Murlough National Nature Reserve, Dundrum
There aren’t many better places to unwind than on a beach walk at Murlough with a stunning view overlooking the Mourne Mountains. There are also fantastic nature trails to get lost on through the winding paths amongst the dunes where you can gain a clear perspective of life. You may even discover a secret path amongst the sand hills and discover some hidden secrets of ancient dune system.
Florence Court, County Fermanagh
Enjoy a gentle, even gradient walk through native Irish woodland with historical estate features along the way, including the Florence Court Yew Tree. There are two different routes for walkers, the forest park and pleasure grounds on the Blue Trail, or take some time to tackle the Red Trail.