Fleetwith Pike, Cumbria
Length/time 3½ miles, 2-Three hours
Start/end Honister Slate Mine
Refuel Sky Hi Cafe, on the mine
There aren’t many mountains you may discover in and out however a hike on Fleetwith Pike presents the possibility to do each. The space is home to the toughest inexperienced slate within the world – mining as soon as accounted for 80% of Cumbria’s wealth – and the panorama tells the story of the miners who, from the 17th century, labored right here in large caverns hacked out of Honister Crag.
Start the stroll with a tour of Honister Slate mine (£17.50 adults, £9.50 kids). The entrance is marked by a tiny slate bothy, the place the self-employed miners used to sleep, and also you get to discover the damp low tunnels under.
Alfred Wainwright wandered right here and mistakenly referred to the mine as a quarry. He commented: “There is no beauty in despoliation and devastation, but there can be dramatic effect and interest, and so it is here.”
From the cafe, take the mine street, which runs parallel with the Honister Pass. It’s on the trail of an previous tramway used for moving slate. Ignore the footpath to Great Gable on the left. The gray monitor zigzags upwards previous a slate memorial marking the reopening of Honister as each a working mine and vacationer attraction by the Duke of Edinburgh in 1997. It had closed in 1989.
Then it’s views of the ravaged crags throughout Honister Pass, a Tolkienesque mass of spoil, tracks and mysterious shafts. It’s a shattered panorama, however set into towering crags it has a unusually desolate magnificence. There’s extra mining detritus on the shoulder of Fleetwith, with the street marked by standing stones of slate. Turn proper and head upwards on a grassy path. Close to the false summit is a ruined miners’ constructing, making you realise simply how excessive up they labored.
The lakes of Buttermere and Crummock Water seem forward, usually amid wisps of cloud. A brief dip and ascent takes you to the 648-metre summit. You can then both keep on down Fleetwith Edge to Gatesgarth and stroll on to Buttermere for a welcome pint, or retrace your steps for one thing on the slate on the Honister cafe and store.
Pete May, creator of Man About Tarn: How a Londoner Learned to Love the Lake District
Hickling Broad, Norfolk
A birdwatcher scans Hickling’s reed beds for species reminiscent of marsh harrier and bearded tit. Photograph: Alamy
Length/time Three miles/90 minutes
Start/end Hickling Broad customer centre
Refuel Pleasure Boat Inn, Hickling
For the primary 20 years of the 20th century, a superb ornithologist lived in a houseboat known as Water Rail on Hickling Broad, the biggest of the flooded medieval peat-diggings that make up the Norfolk Broads. It was an uncommon vocation for an Edwardian lady however Emma Turner was a particularly independent-minded individual.
At the time the bittern, a big and furtive brown chook, was believed to be extinct as a breeding species in England. But Turner found a bittern’s nest deep in Hickling’s reed beds, and took glorious images to show it. She grew to become the primary feminine honorary member of the British Ornithologists’ Union and a small island on the broad is known as in her honour.
Turner’s work was instrumental in getting Hickling’s wild riches recognised and later protected. Today it’s a Norfolk Wildlife Trust reserve and stays home to the resurgent bittern.
Walking south from the customer centre, take the right-hand path via oak woods to achieve a low floodbank above the reedbeds that encompass Hickling. Sails of boats seem above the reeds on the horizon, emphasising simply how low this panorama is. Follow the financial institution alongside the north-eastern facet of the broad, previous chook hides and the thatched Edwardian searching lodge as soon as utilized by rich wildfowlers.
While the bittern stays elusive, Hickling is a hotspot for the marsh harrier, a raptor rarer than a golden eagle, in addition to Chinese water deer, kingfishers and barn owls. Walk alongside the floodbank round Hundred Acres Marsh and also you’ll attain Stubb drainage windmill, one among round 200 previous windpumps that after drained these marshes. Follow Stubb Road again to the customer centre.
This broadland panorama is wealthy in birdlife however you actually expertise its unusual riches on the water: and this stroll might be mixed with an enchanting one- or two-hour wildlife water path by electrical boat (£7.50/£9.50 adults, £four.50/£6 kids ): e book on the Norfolk Wildlife Trust customer centre or name 01603 270479. Admission to Hickling is £four for non-Wildlife Trust members.
Patrick Barkham, Guardian author and creator of Islander (Granta, £9.99), The Butterfly Isles and Badgerlands
Moel Goedog, standing stones, Gwynedd
Walkers can prolong the Moel Goedog stroll to absorb the Bryn Cader Faner
bronze age cairn. Photograph: Alamy
Length/time 6 miles, 3½ hours
Start/end Harlech railway station
Refuel Y branwen resort
This is a stunning moorland stroll, together with a number of standing stones marking what should have been a prehistoric trackway to the summit of Moel Goedog (367 metres). It passes two ring cairns and a late bronze age hill fort on the summit, with breathtaking views.
From Harlech, the going is initially steep however eases off. With Edward I’s fort seen on the left, comply with the street that winds up, bordered by excessive stone partitions, proper previous Harlech fort and its customer centre. Go straight throughout the crossroads, with its outlets, and the moor beckons – after about three quarters of a mile, flip left at one other crossroads. The first standing stone, simply to the left of the street, is called Moel Goedog eight. Carry on straight and the subsequent stone is simply by the cattle grid, with an additional stone a bit additional on the fitting; sadly it’s only a damaged pointed stump now.
The subsequent standing stone is on the left: right here, sheep roam freely, and such stones have, in folklore, been mistaken for sheep – and tales inform of gross sales made to the drunken and gullible. Stay left and comply with the trail to a different pair of stones, in a subject of younger bullocks. The ultimate standing stone is Moel Goedog 5.
Before the summit there are two ring cairns. First is Moel Goedog West, which is surrounded by different stones as much as a metre tall. An excavation in 1978 uncovered bronze age cremation urns. From right here, the Dwyryd estuary glistens under, throughout to distant mountains past. The second cairn is a few 50m east, on the opposite facet of the trail. The hill fort is near Moel Goedog’s summit and although the ditches and financial institution are worn, sufficient stays of it to be price a go to.
It’s potential to hold on an additional six miles north-east to the famend and distant “crown of thorns” cairn circle of Bryn Cader Faner, or head again down previous the stones for a drink on the Branwen resort, the rear of which you handed on the best way up near the fort.
Andy Burnham, editor of The Old Stones: A Field Guide to the Megalithic Sites of Britain and Ireland (Watkins Media). More data on these websites at megalithic.co.uk
Hawker’s Hut, Morwenstow, Cornwall
View from Vicarage Cliff close to Morwenstow. Photograph: Alamy
Length/time Three miles, 1½ hours
Start/end/refuel Bush Inn, Morwenstow
This round stroll in north Cornwall takes in clifftops and wooded valleys in addition to a tiny driftwood hut. Hawker’s Hut, the main target of the stroll, sits excessive on the cliff and is the place eccentric opium-smoking poet-priest Robert Stephen Hawker meditated and wrote poetry.
The Hawker’s Hut. Photograph: Martin Siepmann/Getty Images
From the Bush Inn, comply with the street right down to Morwenstow church and into the churchyard, previous the figurehead of the Caledonia, a brig wrecked in 1843, which marks the burials Hawker officiated at. Morwenstow, set again from a treacherous stretch of coast, was the place Hawker grew to become recognized each as a missionary to a group of wreckers and smugglers, and as a poet with an eclectic gown sense. (He was usually seen in a trendy mixture of purple coat, white cravat, fisherman’s jumper and beaver hat.)
Follow the trail via the graveyard to a stone stile, then previous the Old Vicarage into the wooded valley under. Turn left earlier than you attain the stream and comply with the valley to emerge on the sea, with Lundy Island seen within the distance. Climb steep steps in your left to the cliff high and 5 minutes additional on is Hawker’s Hut, a tiny room the vicar constructed out of timbers from a wrecked ship. It was his place of sanctuary and inspiration, the place he wrote – and indulged within the odd toke on an opium pipe.
With a determine like Hawker it’s troublesome to tell apart the person from the parable however sit within the hut and hearken to waves surging towards the cliffs and it’s simple to know why he liked this place. It’s a tough spot to depart however, again on the trail, head on in direction of the GCHQ radar array earlier than turning left, away from the ocean, by Higher Sharpnose Point (the place The Caledonia ran aground) up the valley to the signed path left throughout the fields and again to the 13th-century Bush Inn.
Wyl Menmuir, creator of Man Booker long-listed The Many (Salt, £eight.99)
Loch Nam Ban Mora, Isle of Eigg
A view of Sgùrr from above Galmisdale. Photograph: Alamy
Length/time 4½ miles, Three hours
Refuel Galmisdale Bay cafe and pub
The tiny island of Eigg, off the west coast of Scotland, was, based on legend, the dominion a Pictish queen and her tribe of outsize feminine warriors. This stroll takes you to the Loch of the Big Women, the place the sisterhood met an premature finish.
From the hamlet of Galmisdale comply with the left hand fork within the street via mossy woods scented with wild garlic. Head to Galmisdale farmhouse throughout a meadow and switch left the place the footpath reaches the tough hill monitor. Look out for the pink spots that mark the ascent up Sgùrr, a rock fashioned from volcanic lava, which sits atop the island like a barely squashed Hovis loaf.
The climb up the hill is regular reasonably than gruelling. Wheatears bob alongside in entrance, flashing their white undercarriage and the excessive hill nation opens up round you. In the space you may see the Celtic cross that marks the positioning of the monastery of Kildonan. It was right here that St Donan and his brotherhood of 52 monks arrange home. The queen took exception to this invasion of her island and sought revenge in a style typical of the bloody historical past of the Highlands by chopping off the monks’ heads after mass.
The loch seems as the primary monitor veers away to climb the summit. Follow a sheep monitor via the heather to the little mirrored bowl set inside the hills. According to the story, after murdering the monks, the queen and her followers noticed lights seem within the sky and adopted these throughout the moors to this spot the place they had been led into the water and drowned whereas trying to achieve the tiny island within the centre.
Carol Donaldson, author and conservationist, is the creator of On the Marshes (Little Toller Books, £10)
Rombald’s Moor Round, Ilkley, West Yorkshire
A gaggle of younger folks take a break from their stroll on Ilkley Moor. Photograph: Alamy
Length/time 7.1 miles, four hours
Start/end Cow and Calf Rocks automobile park
Refuel Cow and Calf Cafe
Ilkley Moor, or Rombald’s Moor because it’s formally titled, has all the time loomed massive in my world. I grew up in an previous home on its north-west edge, and lived in its shadow till I used to be 23. Its wild, heathery expanses, niches of wooden, hidden streams and peat bogs had been a playground for us children. From bronze age cup-and-ring carvings to stone circles, alien sightings to tales of Charles Darwin taking its waters – the moor’s histories and myths seized our imaginations as certainly because the panorama obtained in our blood.
Now, every time I return to stroll this seven-mile round, it feels no much less eerie and spectacular – a spot that may change in a second, but stay timeless. At the age of 17, half-cut and displaying off, I carved my title on that moor however Ilkley Moor had carved itself into me lengthy earlier than.
Start on the Cow and Calf Rocks automobile park, scrambling up the simple climb contained in the gritstone quarry or taking the footpath round it. The expansive views of the River Wharfe and the Yorkshire Dales have been a magnet for hundreds of years, because the rock graffiti testifies. Look for “E M Lancaster, 1st Battalion XXIV Foot, 1882” – chiselled a number of years after that regiment fought at Rorke’s Drift. Once up, comply with the footpath left to wind on to moor correct.
Head in direction of The Haystack, a slab of rock coated with among the 400 neolithic and bronze age cup-and-ring marks on this moor. While the city under dates its origins to a primary century AD Roman cavalry fort, these patterns are four,000 years previous. It’s the identical with the Twelve Apostles – a restored stone circle, one other 20 minutes additional south alongside a boardwalk path, on Burley Moor.
Double again and carry straight on via Ilkley Crags earlier than turning left and following the footpath west. This is heather and bracken upland nation that turns a beautiful russet and rust-brown below autumn skies, and the place you may hear curlews – particularly now the moor’s grouse capturing license has been revoked. Drop right down to the Swastika Stone, overlooking the valley. This historic curved-limb cup-and-ring carving was once considered bronze age however its placing similarity to the Camunian Rose means it was most probably carved by a Roman soldier stationed at Ilkley.
Trek again east alongside the footpath over city, in search of a white dot up on the moor line. White Wells is a relic of Ilkley’s boomtown previous as a spa resort with its personal, freezing chilly, peat-brown dipping pool for the courageous. It was right here that Charles Darwin rambled, hid out and took the waters when On the Origin of Species was printed in 1859. It was right here, too, that in 1987 a retired copper photographed what he believed to be an alien being, which beckoned him away earlier than vanishing in a UFO. Apparently, the incident has but to be uncovered as a hoax, which lends the moors a good larger aura.
Follow the trail up high and open your stride all the best way again to the Cow and Calf automobile park, tracing the footsteps of the mill-working Methodists from Halifax who, on a chapel outing to the moor, created Yorkshire’s anthem, On Ilkla Moor Baht ’At, in regards to the perils of courting with out acceptable headgear. Time it proper and there’ll be a tremendous autumn sundown as you’re taking a restorative tea within the automobile park cafe, or one thing stronger within the pub throughout the street.
Rob Cowen, award-winning author and creator of Common Ground, voted the UK’s third-favourite nature e book in 2018
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