Favourite festive walks

Ramblers Engagement Manager, Eleanor Bullimore, shares her Festival of Winter Walks favourites to encourage everyone to head out on foot this winter. 

There’s nothing like a winter walk to blow away the cobwebs over the festive period. That’s why for more than 25 years we’ve been running our Festival of Winter Walks and inviting everyone to join us.

This year the festival is bigger than ever, and with so much to choose from we thought we’d share some of our favourite group walks to give you a flavour of what’s on offer.

But it’s not just group walks – we also have plenty of Ramblers Routes across Britain you can download and walk with family and friends at your own leisure. So we’ve shared our favourite winter routes too.  

With something for everyone, don’t get stuck indoors after Christmas, find a walk or route near you by visiting our walks finder and type in your postcode for walks aplenty.

 Into the hills

 

Group walks:

Isle of Wight Boxing Day walk
9am, 26 December

On the island for Christmas? Join the Isle of Wight Ramblers for this strenuous 15-mile walk. As well as enjoying coastal and inland walking, anyone feeling brave can take the plunge in the annual Ventnor Boxing Day Swim. Meet at the Ventnor paddling pool (PO38 1TA). Bring a picnic lunch. 
 
Scramblers children’s walk
1.30pm, 27 December

This 2-mile children’s walk with the Chorley Ramblers heads to Ashurst Beacon. All adults must be accompanied by a child! Meet at Beacon Country Park Visitor Centre and Golf Club (WN8 7RU).

Cranham Christmas walk
10am, 27 December

This 7-mile post-Christmas pudding walk from the Royal William on Cheltenham Road (GL6 6TT) takes you around Cranham and the surrounding area. Not only will you enjoy the beauty of the Cotswolds, there will also be various pub stops along the route. 

Alport Height from Whatsandwell Station
10am, 28 December

Overindulged this Christmas? Loosen the belt with the Amber Valley Ramblers’ out-and-back walk to Alport Height. Meet at Whatsandwell railway station car park (DE4 5EE).

Little Dartmouth, coast and countryside
10.30am, 29 December

Test out your new walking kit on this strenuous 8-mile route with the South Hams Ramblers. From Little Dartmoor you’ll head to Stoke Fleming and Strete Gate, including a scenic stretch along a recently-opened section of coast path. Meet at Little Dartmouth car park (TQ6 0JP) and bring a packed lunch.  

The end (of the year) is nigh 
10am, 31 December

Join the South Cotswold Ramblers for their final walk of the year from Egypt Mill car park in Nailsworth (GL6 0AB). The group will lead you to Windsoredge, Wallow Green, Sallywood and then back through Waghill and Shortwood. 
 
New Year’s Day walk
10.45am, 1 January

Blow away the cobwebs on this 6-mile circular walk around the picturesque Hafod estate with the Aberystwyth Ramblers. Warm up at the end of the walk with tea at the Hafod Arms. Meet at the car park adjoining Hafod Church (SY25 6DX). 

The Malverns to Worcestershire Beacon and beyond
10am, 3 January

This hilly 5-mile walk is the perfect way to kick-start the new year. The Worcester Ramblers will lead you around Worcestershire Beacon and North Hill, with a short picnic stop on the beacon. Meet at Wych Cutting, Upper Wyche (WR13 6DQ).

Into the New Year in the Downs
10am, 3 January

Step out with the Meon Ramblers for this 10-mile ramble along the ridge to Finchdean. You’ll tread through fields and woodland to West Marden and Compton, heading back through fields and tracks to Chalton. Meet at the Red Lion pub (PO8 0BG). 
 
Souldern
10am, 3 January

Burn off the mince pies on the final walk of Banbury & North Oxfordshire Ramblers’ ‘12 Walks of Christmas’. Meet near The Fox (OX27 7JH) and head to the pretty Croughton village on this 6-mile walk, visiting Fritwell, Smanhill Covert and Horwell Corner along the way. If you’ve worked up a thirst, there will be a visit to the pub following the walk. 

Monks, musicals and muskets
1pm, 5 January

Join the South Ribble Ramblers for a 5-mile amble around Burscough Priory, Blythe Hall and Lathom Park. Not only will you enjoy the walking, there’s plenty of history to explore too. Meet at Lathom Park Chapel layby on Cranes Lane (L40 5UQ). 
 
Murthly Castle grounds and the River Tay
10am, 7 January

Meet the Blairgowrie & District Ramblers at Wellmeadow car park in Blairgowrie (PH10 6NQ) to drive to Murthly Castle, where this 6-mile walk starts. The route heads through three woods and along a river, with lots of opportunities to spot winter birds. There will be a stop for elevenses in the remains of a woodland Christmas grotto. Bring a picnic lunch and snacks. 
 
Durlston
10am, 8 January

Enjoy a stretch of the South West Coast Path on this 10-mile walk with the Eastleigh Ramblers. From Durlston Country Park in Swanage (BH19 2JL) you’ll pass Tilly Whim Caves, Anvil Point Lighthouse and Dancing Ledge. There will be a lunch stop at Worth Matravers, before returning to Durlston following the Priests Way. 

Prefer to walk alone, or with your family and friends? Check out one of our favourite winter Ramblers Routes:

Arthur’s Seat, Salisbury Crags, Edinburgh
Length: 2.7 miles 
Walking time: 2 hours
Difficulty: Leisurely
Starting point: Main entrance to the Scottish Parliament Building on Horse Wynd
Description: Arthur’s Seat is a dramatic dollop of Scottish wilderness rising unexpectedly from the heart of Edinburgh. There may be a steep climb to the top, but on a clear day you’ll be rewarded with views over the entire Scottish capital and beyond. Best climbed in winter when landscapes appear even more dramatic.
 
Rhossili Bay, Gower, Swansea 
Length: 4.3 miles 
Walking time: 2 hours
Difficulty: Leisurely
Starting point: Car park behind the Worm’s Head Hotel, Rhossili Village
Description: Rhossili Bay is up there with some of the world’s most beautiful coastal locations and this walk showcases its picture-postcard sights from the Gower’s most breath-taking viewpoints. The final leg of the walk takes you along sand and surf, with the chance to spot migratory purple sandpipers and other rarities, such as great northern and red-throated divers, which flock to the beach in the winter.  

Hadrians Wall, Northumberland
Length: 5.2 miles 
Walking time: 3 hours 30 minutes
Difficulty: Strenuous
Starting point: Housesteads National Trust Visitor Centre
Description: This route takes you along the most dramatic stretch of Hadrian’s Wall, which offers stunning views, particularly when snow settles on the moors. Allow plenty of time to look around Housesteads Roman Fort and find out how life was for the Roman soldiers once based there. The fort also offers stunning panoramic views from its walls. 
 
Long Mynd from Church Stretton, Shropshire
Length: 8.2 miles 
Walking time: 4 hours
Difficulty: Moderate
Starting point: Church Stretton market square
Description: The Long Mynd rises to an open plateau, cut by steep sided valleys, especially on the eastern side around Church Stretton. This walk climbs up by the well-known Carding Mill valley and descends into the less frequented but equally scenic Small Batch. The views from the Long Mynd are particularly stunning in winter.
 
Embleton Bay, Northumberland
Length: 7.7 miles 
Walking time: 3 hours 45 minutes
Difficulty: Moderate
Starting point: Craster Tourist Information Centre, at the entrance to Craster village, on the right
Description: Starting at the fishing harbour of Craster, where you can prepare yourself for the walk ahead with a plate of its famous smoked kippers, this route winds across the stunning Embleton Bay. You’ll head past the iconic ruin of Dunstanburgh Castle to reach Low Newton-by-the-Sea, a pretty cluster of stone fishermen’s houses overlooked by a coast guard post. Bring a pair of binoculars to look out for the seabirds that flock here.

Tayport and Tentsmuir Nature Reserve, Fife
Length: 8.2 miles 
Walking time: 3 hours 
Difficulty: Easy
Starting point: William Street, Tayport, Fife
Description: This walk was made for wildlife lovers. Treading through woodland, roaming over sand dunes, across the beach and through marram grass, there are plenty of opportunities to spot animals, birds and admire the varied flora and fauna. With the chance to see roe deer, red squirrels, grey seals and stonechats, anyone who enjoys immersing themselves in nature will be in their element. But don’t get too distracted by the wildlife to ignore your surroundings as there are also some stunning views along the way.
 
Leith Hill, Surrey
Length: 6.5 miles 
Walking time: 4 hours
Difficulty: Moderate
Starting point: Holmbury St Mary bus stop, Horsham Road
Description: This circular route in the beautiful Surrey Hills takes you through sleepy Surrey mill hamlets and past hammer ponds, climbing to an incredible panoramic view from Leith Hill Tower – the highest point in south-east England. In winter, there are amazing views for miles around. 

Tetford, Lincolnshire
Length: 6.3 miles 
Walking time: 3 hours
Difficulty: Moderate
Starting point: St Mary’s Church, Tetford
Description: This gentle, scenic walk takes you past Alfred Lord Tennyson's former home. Make time to look inside a traditional droving inn, the White Hart Inn, which was frequented by Tennyson and now has many of the poet’s most famous lines adorning the walls.

Peak District, Derbyshire
Length: 10 miles 
Walking time: 4 hours 30 minutes
Difficulty: Moderate
Starting point: The Bridge Inn, Calver
Description: You will be spoiled with all the Peak District has to offer on this route, with a little bit of everything thrown in. Enjoy a water meadow, winter woodland, pretty villages, a gorge with waterfalls and moorland along the way. 

Wyre Forest National Nature Reserve and Dowles Brook, Worcestershire

Length: 4 miles 
Walking time: 2 hours 
Difficulty: Moderate
Starting point: Dry Mill Lane car park, Bewdley
Description: This walk lies within the boundary of the Wyre Forest National Nature Reserve, an area of outstanding beauty that changes from season to season. Look out for fallow deer and enjoy the amazing variety of birdlife. 

Cromer, Norfolk
Length: 13.6 miles 
Walking time: 6 hours 30 minutes 
Difficulty: Easy
Starting point: Near the pier in Cromer
Description: This walk takes you along the Norfolk Coast Path from Cromer to Cley next the Sea. This route is mostly flat, walking beside the salt marshes, but also includes some undulating sections. If you’re a wildlife enthusiast, then this walk is sure to appeal as there’s an abundance of birdlife to enjoy.

Osmotherley, Yorkshire
Length: 6.6 miles 
Walking time: 3 hours 20 minutes 
Difficulty: Moderate
Starting point: Osmotherley Youth Hostel Association
Description: This lovely, hilly walk takes you up onto the surrounding moors, along sections of the Cleveland Way. Enjoy the extensive views in all directions as you walk and stop to explore the archetypal North Yorkshire village of Osmotherley. 

Skelwigh, Cumbria
Length: 5.5 miles 
Walking time: 3 hours 
Difficulty: Leisurely
Starting point: North end of the A593 bridge in Skelwith Bridge
Description: This circular walk takes you to the well-known waterfalls at Skelwith. You’ll also visit the lesser known but equally charming falls at Colwith. At its best after heavy rain, winter is the perfect time to walk this route. 

Moel Wnion and Aber Falls, Gwynedd
Length: 6.7 miles 
Walking time: 4 hours 10 minutes 
Difficulty: Strenuous
Starting point: Abergwyngregin bus stop and car park 
Description: After a steep climb, this walk crosses open country to reach a magnificent viewpoint on the edge of the Snowdonia National Park. It also visits one of North Wales's best waterfalls, while the return leg runs through a National Nature Reserve.

Scone, Perth and Kinross, Perthshire 
Length: 3.8 miles 
Walking time: 1 hour 45 minutes 
Difficulty: Leisurely 
Starting point: Car park at Scone Old Church
Description: This route is centred on the area between Perth and the village of Scone. You’ll wander through areas of lovely woodland, passing rippling burns, and enjoy views of the nearby hills as you follow historic paths.