The 10 best UK hikes

·4-min read
Photo credit: Arron Tucker / EyeEm - Getty Images
Photo credit: Arron Tucker / EyeEm - Getty Images

Looking for a new route to walk or run but lacking inspiration? It’s a constant headscratcher, whether you’re a trail runner, an avid hiker, or a runner wanting to hike to boost your cross-training.

But it’s not always easy to find an exact route, a route of say 8K or 10K that's perfect for a morning’s hike or run.

To help you out, AllTrails – a mobile app featuring hand-curated trail maps along with photos, reviews and user recordings – has tapped into its proprietary algorithm and analysed user reviews and ratings to handpick the best hikes in the UK. We've picked out 10 trails from the list that are particularly suited to runners, as well as hikers. Make sure you check the route, terrain, distance and elevation thoroughly before attempting these, as some routes are particularly demanding.

1. Castleton, Mam Tor and the Great Ridge

A 12.9K loop through some of the Peak District’s highlights, including Mam Tor, Black Tor and Lose Hill. With 646m of elevation, this is not for the faint-hearted – there are some challenging climbs but it's more than worth it for the scenery along the ridge.

2. Silent Pool, Albury Downs and St Martha’s Hill circular

A 9.3K hilly, circular route easily accessible from London that takes in the historic grade II-listed St Martha’s Church on the North Downs Way. Silent Pool, which sits at the base of a brutally steep descent/climb, is another highlight – you can even pick up a bottle of gin at the Silent Pool distillery.

3. Ben Nevis Mountain Path

A British must-hike. With 1,341m of elevation and more often than not crowds of people, it’s popular for a reason. The satisfaction upon completing it is unlike any other UK challenge, and the rewarding, often snow-laced peak of the country is worth every metre of elevation gain. The out-and-back trail is 15.8K and demands a good level of fitness.

4. Rothiemurchus Forest circular

A 7.4K largely flat loop through the Rothiemurchus Forest in the Cairngorms, this is rated as a moderate hike, and offers opportunities to spot red squirrels and ospreys, among a vast array of wildlife. There’s also the option to extend the walk around the stunning Loch an Eilein.

Photo credit: Peter Mulligan - Getty Images
Photo credit: Peter Mulligan - Getty Images

5. Catbells via Allerdale

A moderate-to-challenging 6.8K Lake District route that takes in majestic views across Derwentwater and includes a small, easy scramble towards the peak. It should take around two hours to walk, and even quicker to run.

6. Forest Way and Green Ride circular

Something a little longer in Epping Forest, this route is ideal if you’re training for a marathon while based in London and are seeking a few off-road miles. At 25.4K, it’s classified as ‘difficult’, and part of this is due to the tricky navigation Epping Forest provides because of its maze of criss-crossing trails, so an offline map is recommended.

7. Bourton-on-the-Water and Stow-on-the-Wold circular

Enjoy some of Gloucestershire’s finest countryside with this 16.7K well-marked loop that meanders through woodland and farmland (warning: it can get muddy following heavy rain). There’s a café halfway round and you might even spot the odd alpaca.

8. Ystradfellte Four Waterfalls

Who needs Iceland when you have Wales’ Brecon Beacons? Ystradfellte is the starting point for this scenic 7.2K walk/run, the main draw of which is the four waterfalls it takes you past. An added bonus is that you can walk under the final waterfall.

9. Slieve Binnian Summit Tor and North Tor circular

A not-too-shabby 611m of elevation gain makes this 10.9km loop near Newcastle in Northern Ireland a tough hike. But that hard work takes you up Slieve Binnian’s pair of tors, providing dreamy views of Silent Valley and Ben Crom reservoirs.

10. Kelston circular

A muddy 11.1K loop just north of Bath, this is suitable for most levels of walkers and runners (although it’s worth noting that it’s hilly in parts), but once you've climbed the first section you can soak in views across the Severn Estuary and Bath.

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