Free routes for the Festival of Winter Walks

Winter is here and to help inspire everyone to get out walking during our popular Festival of Winter Walks we’re sharing our top routes for you to try.

We’ve picked some incredible routes that are best walked in winter, with an abundance of wildlife or stunning wintry landscapes. These 12 routes are free to view – simply register. And if you like these walks, there are over 2,500 more to discover – become a member and you can access them all.

Our groups will also be leading hundreds of free walks from 19 December 2015 to 3 January 2016 and everyone’s invited. You can now search for festive winter walks near you.

So pull on your boots and head out for a winter walk.

The very best of our winter routes to try:

Hawkshead and Grizedale Forest, Lake District
Length: 3 miles
Walking time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Starting point: The main car park, Hawkshead Village
This short but pleasant circuit crosses Hawkshead Hill and takes you through the wintery beauty of Grizedale Forest’s conifers. Hawkshead is one of the Lake District's famous villages. Beatrix Potter lived nearby and you can see some of her sketches in the Beatrix Potter Gallery. It’s well worth exploring the village to take in all the beautiful buildings and visiting the church on the hill.


Copywright: Nell Roger 

Aldeburgh to Snape Maltings, Suffolk
Length: 7.3 miles
Walking time: 3 hours 30 minutes
Difficulty: Leisurely
Starting point: Fort Green car park, Aldeburgh
End point: Snape Maltings, Plough & Sail bus stop for bus back to Aldeburgh
This linear walk from Aldeburgh starts along the coast then turns inland along the Sailors' Path to Snape Maltings. Winter is the perfect time of year to enjoy atmospheric views across the River Alde and its mudflats.  Being tidal, it’s a place of glistening mud and shallow open water while in the skies above huge watercolour cloudscapes fill with the constant movement of birds.

Snape Maltings 

Image credit: Fiona Barltrop 

Tetford, Lincolnshire
Length: 6.3 miles
Walking time: 3 hours
Difficulty: Moderate
Starting point: St Mary’s Church, Tetford
If you really want to get away from it all this winter, this gentle, scenic walk will give you quintessentially English views of rolling hills and a babbling brook. Follow in the footsteps of one of our most famous writers, Lord Tennyson, passing his former home and taking you through the landscapes that inspired him.


 Copywright: Dave Hitchborne

Craigellachie National Nature Reserve, Highland
Length: 3.7 miles
Walking time: 2 hours
Difficulty: Moderate
Starting point: Aviemore Station
A woodland and hill walk through Craigellachie National Nature Reserve in Aviemore. In winter, enjoy breathtaking views across crags of lochans, the Cairngorms and beautiful birchwoods.


Image credit: Walter Baxter 

Oxford, Rivers and Parks
Length: 7 miles
Walking time: 3 hours 30 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Starting point: Youth Hostel Association, Oxford
There is plenty to savour on this picturesque walk through the rivers, parks and colleges of Oxford. Enjoy stunning views of Christchurch College and the dreaming spires. Annual winter floods bring flocks of wildfowl and waders to Port Meadow and if the meadow freezes you may spot skaters out on the ice!


Copywright: Jun 

Penarth, Glamorgan
Length: 4.8 miles
Walking time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Difficulty: Leisurely
Starting point: Cliff Top Car Park, Penarth
This leisurely circular walk follows part of the coast path, taking you through Lavernock Nature Reserve, Cosmeston Lakes Country Park and a restored medieval village. In winter, enjoy seeing migrating wildfowl such as teal, tufted duck and bittern along the Penarth Coast.


Copywright: Ben Salter

Hadrian’s Wall – The Great Wall of the North
Length: 5.2 miles
Walking time: 3 hours 30 minutes
Difficulty: Strenuous
Starting point: Housesteads National Trust Visitor Centre
Hadrian’s Wall is Britain’s best preserved Roman fort and this walk takes in the most dramatic stretch of Hadrian’s Wall, which offers stunning views. The views are spectacular, particularly in winter when snow settles on the moors.

Hadrians Wall

Image credit: John Gardner 

Beacon Hill, Buckinghamshire
Length: 4.7 miles
Walking time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Difficulty: Leisurely
Starting point: Little Kimble Station
Despite their proximity to London, the Chilterns are a beautiful, unspoilt corner of England. This circular walk offers a winning combination of gently rolling hills and dense woodland with a scattering of Iron Age forts giving a hint of the history of the area. On a crisp winter’s day, you get the best of the views from Beacon Hill and the woods provide plenty of wildlife-spotting opportunities: look out for fallow deer, buzzards and robins.

Beacon Hill

Copyright: Peter 

Mount Edgcumbe and Maker, Cornwall
Length: 6.3 miles
Walking time: 3 hours
Difficulty: Moderate
Starting point: Bus stop at entrance to ferry slip, Cremyll
Explore the so-called ‘Forgotten corner of Cornwall’ on this walk which in winter is guaranteed to blow away the cobwebs. The route is entirely within the Rame Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and takes you through formal gardens, landscaped woodlands and plenty of historical buildings, while offering fantastic views over river, sea and harbour.

Mount Edgcumbe

Copywright: Ruth Sharville 

Wyre Forest National Nature Reserve and Dowles Brook, Worcestershire
Length: 4 miles (plus ½ mile each way if using the bus)
Walking time: 2 hours
Difficulty: Moderate
Starting point: Car park at bottom of Dry Mill Lane, Bewdley
This is a great walk for any time of year, but is spectacular in snow or frost. The route takes you past the fast-flowing Dowles Brook to a derelict mill. Look out for Hawfinch and Brambling in the area around Lodge Hill Farm in the winter months.

Wyre Forest

Image credit: Peter Wright 

Almondell Country Park and Union Canal
Walking time: 3 hours 30 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Starting point: South Entrance, Almondell Country Park
An interesting and varied walk through the historic Almondell Country Park and along the Union Canal Towpath. The circular route crosses impressive viaduct and aqueduct bridges, with lovely views over the River Almond. In the winter, look out for redwings, bullfinches and lesser redpolls.


Image credit: Jimmy Dee 

Circular walk from Tywyn, Cardigan Bay
Length: 8 miles
Walking time: 4 hours
Difficulty: Leisurely
Starting point: Tywyn seafront
Tywyn literally means ‘beach’ or ‘sand dune’ and the town boasts a five mile stretch of sandy beach. The highlight of this walk is Broad Water, a salt water lagoon and designated Site of Special Scientific Interest, where in winter you can spot waders and wildfowl. 


Copywright: Peter Trimming 

The Ramblers advises people to take care when walking in mountainous regions during the winter. Check the weather before you set off, plan walks carefully to take account of the early sunset and make sure you have the right equipment with you, including warm clothes.

As long as walkers are properly equipped, they can enjoy a great winter walk.

Visit to find a route near you.

For more information on the Festival of Winter Walks, please visit


Peter Holmes

Would love to go on some of your guided walks but there are no dates, would be grateful to know when they are happening.

Many thanks

Leila Nicholas

Hi Peter

You can find details of our group walks here: Just enter your postcode to find group walks near you.

The walks above are all from our online library of walking routes, Ramblers Routes. If you register on the website, you can view these routes for free.

All the best