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Remote Rambles: Our Favourite Rural Walking Trails in the UK

 

With the hustle and bustle of busy lives often leaving us craving escape, we at Contours definitely appreciate the desire to break away from the rat race and pursue the serene seclusion of rural landscapes.

We have put together a selection of our favourite walking trails that take you away from the crowds and into the wild heart of the Great British countryside. These walks are ideal for those who just want to get away from it all and get some fresh air among some of the best surroundings the UK has to offer.

Don’t worry if the ideas listed below aren’t quite right for you. We have plenty of other fantastic trails to choose from – over 100 in fact! If you need help creating your perfect UK walking holiday, please feel free to contact us and we will be more than happy to help you.

This 43-mile trail explores the exceptional White Peak region of the Peak District National Park, travelling from Castleton to Ashbourne through a range of landscapes, including sweeping valleys and limestone crags. The Limestone Way visits several quiet little towns and villages – meaning you are never completely isolated – while also neatly avoiding the hustle and bustle of Sheffield and other large settlements nearby.

The sense of tranquillity that the Peak District is known for is present throughout the Limestone Way. Moderately experienced walkers will love meandering at leisure through the dramatic gorges and enjoying the abundant wildflowers and encounters with wildlife.

Routes on this trail

3 to 4 nights
27 miles
Moderate+
From £295 per person
A short walk from Castleton to Matlock through the iconic limestone scenery of the White Peak.Find Out More
4 to 6 nights
43 miles
Moderate+
From £380 per person
A self-guided walking holiday from Castleton to Ashbourne through the beautiful White Peaks.Find Out More

The landscapes of Scotland are a haven for walkers, though the imposing highlands can be a bit daunting for some. Following the Rob Roy Way is a more approachable means of enjoying the views that this country is famed for. It is also much lesser known than the iconic West Highland Way, offering a real sense of solitude and peace during your walk.

The 76-mile Rob Roy Way from Drymen to Pitlochry was inspired by the adventures of Rob Roy McGregor, so there is plenty of opportunity to lose yourself in the stories of Scotland’s most notorious outlaw. Coupled with the wide, shimmering lochs, atmospheric forests and far-reaching views, it is easy to feel like you are the only person for miles.

Routes on this trail

6 to 9 nights
76 miles
Moderate+
From £530 per person
A self-guided walking holiday through Rob Roy country from Drymen to Pitlochry.Find Out More
4 nights
33 miles
Moderate / Demanding+
From £370 per person
A short circular walk from Callander exploring the fantastic scenery of Rob Roy Country.Find Out More

Despite its National Trail status, the Ridgeway is normally a very quiet trail, journeying 91 miles from Avebury to Ivinghoe Beacon. Hailed as Britain’s oldest road, this walk follows a prehistoric track through the North Wessex Downs and the Chiltern Hills, boasting expansive, wide-open views of rolling hills and green woodland throughout.

A scattering of impressive stone circles and ancient burial grounds add to the trail’s mystical ambience as you make your way from one secluded town to the next. In addition to our usual range of itineraries, we also offer dog-friendly tours along the Ridgeway, so you can even enjoy this unforgettable trek through history with your canine companions.

Routes on this trail

7 to 9 nights
91 miles
Moderate+
Dog friendly
From £665 per person
A self-guided walking holiday along Britain's oldest road, travelling from Avebury to Ivinghoe Beacon.Find Out More
4 to 5 nights
42 miles
Moderate+
Dog friendly
From £390 per person
A walk along the historically rich landscape of the Wessex Downs, from Avebury to Goring.Find Out More
4 to 5 nights
48 miles
Moderate+
Dog friendly
From £390 per person
A walk from Goring to Ivinghoe Beacon through the pretty villages and woodland of the Chiltern Hills.Find Out More

Meandering 42 miles through the stunning landscapes of southern Wales, the Usk Valley Walk is a lesser-known gem for hikers. Beginning in Usk, the trail stays close to the river throughout, offering excellent waterside views before venturing into the magnificent Brecon Beacons. This trail is perfect for a restorative getaway into the Welsh wilderness.

For those looking for a walk free from obstacles and steep gradients, we have a Stile-Free tour that follows part of the Usk Valley walk for 21 miles from Llangattock to Brecon. These particular itineraries have short daily mileages and are perfect for beginners, young families and individuals who struggle with awkward climbs and obstructions.

Routes on this trail

4 nights
26 miles
Easy / Moderate
From £370 per person
A short walking holiday from Abergavenny to Brecon along the banks of the River Usk.Find Out More
4 to 5 nights
21 miles
Easy
From £370 per person
A relaxed, 20-mile canalside walk from Llangattock to Brecon through magnificent Welsh countryside.Find Out More
4 to 5 nights
42 miles
Moderate+
From £370 per person
A pleasant walking holiday from Usk to Brecon along the banks of the River Usk.Find Out More

Wainwright’s famous Coast to Coast Walk is a favourite among walkers, which means it can get very busy during peak periods. This alternative tour, exclusive to Contours, is a shorter and more peaceful option, starting at Arnside and bypassing the bustling heart of the Lake District. This route joins Wainwright’s route at Reeth, allowing you to then gently meander through the beautiful countryside of the Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors.

Along the course of this 132-mile trail, walkers can admire the landscapes as they change from ancient woodland and pastoral valleys to heathery hills and windswept cliffs. Try the Alternative Coast to Coast Walk and enjoy a real sense of freedom in the fresh air.

Routes on this trail

5 to 6 nights
59 miles
Moderate+
Dog friendly
From £460 per person
An enticing walking holiday from Richmond to Saltburn-by-the-Sea through the North York Moors.Find Out More
9 to 13 nights
132 miles
Moderate+
From £830 per person
A self-guided walk from Arnside on the west coast to Saltburn-by-the-sea on the east coast.Find Out More
5 to 8 nights
74 miles
Moderate+
From £460 per person
A pleasant walk from Arnside to Richmond through the Yorkshire Dales National Park.Find Out More

The region of Northumberland is littered with the remnants of centuries of territorial disputes and religious pilgrimages, making St Oswald’s Way a fantastic choice of trail for budding historians. Beginning at the Holy Island of Lindisfarne and ending at Chollerford, this 100-mile walk shares countless stories of England’s colourful past against a backdrop of dramatic coastlines, sweeping valleys and settlements brimming with character.

St Oswald’s Way strikes a perfect balance between tourism and tranquillity, visiting such iconic sites as Hadrian’s Wall and Bamburgh Castle while avoiding the large crowds and remaining off the beaten path. Dog-friendly tours are also available along this route.

Routes on this trail

4 to 6 nights
54 miles
Moderate+
Dog friendly
From £385 per person
A walk from Warkworth by the coast to Chollerford along the inland southern half of St Oswald's Way.Find Out More
7 to 13 nights
100 miles
Easy / Moderate+
Dog friendly
From £650 per person
A self-guided walking holiday from Lindisfarne to Chollerford through the landscape of Northumberland.Find Out More
4 to 8 nights
46 miles
Easy to Demanding
Dog friendly
From £380 per person
A scenic self-guided walk from Lindisfarne to Warkworth along the Northumbrian coast.Find Out More

The Mendip Hills in the south of England are great for outdoor escapades, and the little-known Mendip Way clambers right through them. From the Roman port of Uphill on the Bristol Channel, this route journeys 52 miles to Frome along limestone ridges and broad-backed hills, taking in amazing geological features and far-reaching views throughout.

The Mendip Way’s major selling point is its almost complete sense of ruralness, proudly showcasing a landscape that has remained largely untouched for centuries. Aside from visiting a smattering of welcoming villages along the way, this trail allows you to escape the trappings of everyday life and strike out into the British countryside at your leisure.

Routes on this trail

3 to 4 nights
32 miles
Moderate+
From £280 per person
A pleasant, shorter walk from Uphill the Wells along the western section of the Mendip Way.Find Out More
4 to 6 nights
52 miles
Moderate+
From £370 per person
A self-guided walking holiday from Uphill to Frome along the stunning Mendip Hills.Find Out More
3 nights
20 miles
Moderate
From £280 per person
A self-guided walk from Wells to Frome, exploring the eastern section of the Mendip Way.Find Out More

If you’re a seasoned rambler looking for something more challenging, you will likely enjoy this engaging hike along England’s mighty backbone. The Pennine Way National Trail stretches 265 miles from Edale to Kirk Yetholm, offering up to three weeks of atmospheric, secluded adventure. While the climbs and descents are frequent and ambitious, the panoramic viewpoints along the way are definitely worth the effort.

Although the Pennine Way is the UK’s first and best-known National Trail, its notoriety means that those who do walk it often have the route to themselves. This makes it ideal for experienced hikers wanting to fully appreciate the epic ambience of the Pennines.

Routes on this trail

6 to 8 nights
95 miles
Moderate / Demanding+
From £535 per person
A walk from Edale to Horton-in-Ribblesdale via the Peak District, South Pennines and the Yorkshire Dales.Find Out More
6 to 10 nights
102 miles
Moderate / Demanding+
From £535 per person
A walk from Horton-in-Ribblesdale to Greenhead via the Yorkshire Dales, North Pennines and HadrianFind Out More
4 to 6 nights
64 miles
Moderate / Demanding+
From £360 per person
A walk from Greenhead to Kirk Yetholm via Hadrian's WallFind Out More
14 to 22 nights
265 miles
Moderate / Demanding+
From £1,180 per person
A self-guided walking holiday from Edale to Kirk Yetholm along England's best-known National Trail.Find Out More
3 nights
21 miles
Moderate
From £270 per person
A short walking holiday through the stunning North Pennines from Middleton-in-Teesdale to Dufton.Find Out More
3 nights
29 miles
Moderate / Demanding+
From £270 per person
A short walking holiday along the Pennine Way National Trail from Edale to Standedge.Find Out More

Also known as Wild Edric’s Way, the Shropshire Hills trail meanders through the beautiful border country of Shropshire, following old drovers’ roads and visiting an array of historic landmarks. This walk even crosses part of the famous Offa’s Dyke Path, before plunging back into the region’s secluded landscapes and revealing countless breath-taking vistas.

In addition to its wonderfully pastoral atmosphere, the 52-mile Shropshire Hills route is also a circular trail, beginning and ending in the “Walkers are Welcome” market town of Church Stretton. This makes it nice and easy to plan your onward travel arrangements compared to a linear walk, as you finish your holiday where you started.

We have two Shropshire Hills itineraries to choose from, as well as our dog-friendly options. Click here to view our Shropshire Hills holidays.