Beaulieu River, New Forest, Hampshire, 4.75 miles
According to Spencer: “This is a fairly level out-and-back walk from picturesque Beaulieu.” It visits historic Buckler’s Hard, where some of Nelson’s famous ships were built from mature oak trees that grew in the forest. The return route follows a lovely riverside path.
Start/finish: Car park in Beaulieu (SU 386 021), off the B3056 behind Beaulieu Garage; Cicerone’s “Walking in the New Forest”, p169
Teston, Yalding and the Medway, Kent, 7.3 miles
Starting in Teston Country Park, with its meadows and abundance of wildlife, this leisurely walk includes one gentle climb and offers fine views of the Medway with its locks and river traffic.
Lopham Fen and Redgrave, Norfolk-Suffolk borders, 8.6 miles
This walk, says Southworth, “beautifully contrasts the Fen landscape with the undulating farmland to the south”. The fens, a National Nature Reserve, are among the most important wetlands in Europe and a good place to spot the chunky raft spider and Polish Tarpan horses that were introduced to graze the fen.
Dufton Pike, Cumbria, 4 miles
“This is a great little walk just north of Appleby in Westmorland” says Spencer. The conical-shaped hill seems to tower over the sandstone village of Dufton, and the views from the top over the Lake District and Howgills to the south are amazing.
Start/Finish: car park in Dufton (NY 689 249); Cicerone’s “Walking in Cumbria’s Eden Valley”, p95
Three Cliffs Bay, Tor Bay, Nicholaston Woods and Cefn Bryn, Gower Peninsula, 6.25 miles
“This route takes in some of the finest coastal scenery Gower has to offer,” says Spencer. “The walk returns via a ridge with panoramic vistas of the whole of Gower and beyond.” She advises allowing extra time at Tor Bay, a beautiful sandy cove, and excellent place to stop off for a swim on a summer’s day.
Start/Finish: Penmaen (SS 5314 8877); Cicerone’s “Walking on Gower”, p68
Ewenny Priory and Merthyr Mawr Warren, 9 miles
Spencer describes this route as “a gentle but absorbing walk on to the limestone downs above St Brides Major, which makes its way across the high dunes of Merthyr Mawr Warren.” Highlights include the ruined priory at Ewenny, crossing the river on ancient stepping stones at Ogmore Castle, the birds and butterflies at Old Castle Down and the remains of Candleston Castle.
Start: Ewenny Priory (SS 912 778) Finish: Newton church (SS 836 775); Cicerone’s “South Wales Valleys”, p143
Westerham, Kent, 5 miles
“This circular walk from Westerham to French Street and Chartwell is a real gem that explores some quiet little valleys, woodland and hill-top crests with expansive views,” says Spencer. “It’s a switchback of a route with several steep, though short, ascents and descents to tackle, and it wanders alongside Chartwell, one-time home of Winston Churchill,” she adds.
Cicerone’s “Walking in Kent”, p35