A decade of wandering: Mark Rowe's top ten British walks

Over the last 10 years Mark Rowe has selected his walk of the month for The Independent on Sunday. Here, he lists ten of his favourites

1 Forest of Bowland, Lancashire

According to the Ordnance Survey, this boggy landscape is the geographical centre of the UK – remote countryside with lonely hill farms and far-reaching views.

More information: OL41 Forest of Bowland and Ribblesdale

2 Orford Ness, Suffolk

This shingle spit in Suffolk is the oddest place that Walk of the Month has been. A trip here takes in marsh harriers, barn owls and the disconcerting, dystopian leftovers of nuclear logistics testings  (but no radioactive material).

More information: Explorer 212 Woodbridge & Saxmundham

3 Loch Druidibeg,  South Uist, Scotland

Looks and feels like the edge of Britain, with silent lochs, birdlife and a melancholic atmosphere thanks to the empty crofts abandoned during the clearances.

More information: Explorer 453 Benbecula & South Uist

4 Hafod estate,  Cambrian mountains, Wales

When the French Revolution halted the Grand Tour of Europe, the British gentry built Hafod, a landscaped wilderness of streams, rivers and creaking churches  where red kites fill the air.

More information: Explorer 213 Aberystwyth & Cwm Rheidol

5 Dunstanburgh, Northumberland

With castles, seals and huge open skies, the stretch of coast from the village of Craster to Lindisfarne is unbeatable. The pick of the castles is Dunstanburgh, pictured above. Fragmented and fractured,  it pokes up from its volcanic  foundations like a broken crown.

More information: Explorer 332 Alnwick & Amble

6 St Ives to Zennor, Cornwall

A tough but exhilarating six-mile walk links these two holiday favourites, with a coastal path which drops to the shore and then rises knee-jarringly high to give views of Cornish coast.

More information: Explorer 102 Land’s End, Penzance & St Ives

7 The Roaches, Peak District

The Staffordshire chunk of the  Peak District offers Daliesque  rock formations, top -heavy  granite boulders that could pass  for modern art if they were placed in the Tate, and Lud’s Church,  not a church at all, in fact, but  a fantastical gorge, nearly 60ft  deep and barely 8ft wide.

More information: OL24 The Peak District – White Peak area

8 Gower Peninsula, Wales

A walk at low tide across Whiteford Sands, Broughton Bay and Rhossili Bay takes in a landscape that seems to stretch to infinity. Further north, the walking takes in ancient woodlands and magical tidal salt flats.

More information: Explorer  164 Gower

9 Exford, Exmoor

Exmoor ticks a lot of boxes: valleys, streams, a real sense of community and an emphasis on local food. Rewarding walks strike out from Exford, deep in the moor, following the early course of the River Exe into a landscape of beech hedges.

More information: OL9 Exmoor

10 Glen Clova, Scotland

The Cairngorms National Park is known for its wildlife. Walking in the glens before climbing the ridgeline of the Hill of Couternach feels like an episode of Springwatch, with a good chance of spotting all manner of creatures, such as wild cats, black grouse and pine martens.

More information: Explorer 388, Lochnaaer, Glen Muick & Glen Clova; and Explorer 381, Blairgowrie, Kirriemuir & Glamis

Comments