I'm planning my next trip to England and would like to add about 4 days of hiking and staying in B&B's somewhere in the countryside. Has anyone done this? Suggestions on the best places and best time of year? Footwear?
One of the best resources is the lonly planet's guide book: walking in England(or Britain). Sherpa van service does a lot of the long distance trails, so you could do a B&B to B&B and just carry a day pack.(There website has details on the long-distance trails) A walk that I am thinking about is a 3 day trip in the Lakes.(www.lakeland way) Do you want ot stay in one place and hike from there?
If so the sky is the limit
Hope this helps
The Times Online has a list of 20 great British rural walks. I've copied it below. There is also a 100-mile walking path through the Cotswolds that's very lovely - best April-October.
20 Walks -
8 great British walks-
Unlike most countries there is a myriad of public walking paths all over the country you do not have to and most experienced walkers don't follow the various signposted long distance walk.
Just select the area you want to go to and purchase the relevant Ornance survey 1:50,000 scale walking maps.
If you want dramatic English Countryside then try the Lake District with lakes and villages. If you want slightly mellower countryside the Cotswolds.
For Wilderness and mountains the Scottish Highlands or Snowdonia, for Mountains with the comfort of civilisation nearby the Brecon Beacons in Wales.
A very popular 4 day hike is the cosat to coast walk from the Lake District on the west coast to Newcastle on the east coast. There are even companies that will sort out the B&B's for you and sometimes transport your luggage between them if you're a softie.
Thanks for the replies. Ideally we would either travel in a circular route or "straight" line rather than hiking from a central home base. I would like to spend the night at different B&B's and eat either in pubs or picnic from grocery stores along the way. We travel light and have done a lot of camping and hiking from the Sierras to the Canadian Rockies, so carrying our stuff isn't a problem.
I have heard walking is popular in England and hope to meet a lot of local travelers in the process.
I'm wondering if the trails are muddy and do people wear Wellingtons or just decent waterproof hiking shoes? Do the trails close when it rains? Are there certain "good" months to hike? Does it get crowded to the point of needing reservations?
Hiking is very popular in England. In England Hiking is the serious stuff in Scotland with long days walking and nights under canvas. We call the stuff you're contemplating rambling and ist very popular, there are magazines and ramblers associations all over the place.
I have never seen anyone walking in wellington boots, bring proper boots or shoes. Places like the Lake District are booked solid year round. If you follow the classic trails there is lots of soil erosion and mud, do yourself a favour get a good map, learn to map read and play the dumb american as an excuse to talk to the local characters along the way.
See if you can get a copy of 'Time Out Country Walks'. While this is really a list of walks that are suitable as daytrips from London, I think it will give you many ideas.
The Cotswold Way is well set up for this type of walk---inn to inn with a pub stop for lunch on the way. Here is a website listing accomodations:
http://www.cotswold-way.co.uk/ There is also a book by Kev Reynolds; it may be available from Amazon.
This is a lovely area of farms and villages; you are never far from anything but often walking through a farmer's field (watch out for bulls). It can be quite muddy in the spring (and maybe other times). The pubs we visited has either little racks where you left your muddy boots, or shoe covers to put over them.
If you are looking for something wilder and/or more strenuous, there is a Coast to Coast walk, or you can walk portions of Hadrian's Wall. Google has more information.
For 3 days , how about Malham to Reeth via Pennine Way. I'm a hopelessly biased Yorkshirenman.You pick up plenty of chat ,as the Pennine Way is a very social walk.Maybe even as far as teesdale, via Tanb Hill Inn.Walkers on route from Easter, but mid June onwards is the "season"
Best wishes richard
I have to say York is one of my top places in Britain. I went to a restaurant there one night and almost instantly joined 5 local couples for dinner. I commented how friendly they were and that Brits sometimes have a reputation for being stuck-up. They said, "No, that's Leeds."
Thanks for the info.
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Has anyone done the 84 mile Hadrian's Wall Path? I am looking for wisdom in whether to walk East to West or West to East, how strenuous it is and any other helpful hints.
This sounds wonderful, something I've always wanted to do. Check out Bill Bryson's "Notes from a Small Island" -he walks a good bit of Britain. Alos, Paul Theroux's "Kingdom by the Sea."