Come on, it’s time to put on your boots and head out for a winter walk. It might be cold out there but a brisk winter walk will reward you with an inner glow.
As the dark days of winter almost imperceptibly start to lengthen, something stirs within us all. It’s a restlessness that can only be assuaged by the shock of cold, fresh air in a landscape that stirs the soul. Here are 5 winter walks in Scotland, Yorkshire and Cornwall, near to our cabin locations.
Bracklinn Falls and Callander Crags
Woodland and waterfalls, crags and cairns - and views to make your spirit soar. This is a challenging walk that will delight all your senses and leave you feeling healthy and happy. Cross the falls at the new bridge, built from 4 Douglas Fir trunks. Up at the crags, you are rewarded with views to the North of the snow-capped peaks of Ben Ledi and Ben Lomond. To the south-east are Stirling Castle and the Wallace monument.
Distance: 4 miles
Profile: For enthusiasts
Stay at: Strathyre
Glen Loin and Coiregrograin, Arrochar
A great winter time introduction to the “Arrochar Alps” without actually having to climb any. The views of Ben Vorlich, Ben Vane, Beinn Ime, Beinn Narnain and A' Chrois are just what the doctor ordered. The route is well signposted and, although quite long, is not too taxing. A great day out for a family walk, even buggy friendly in the right weather, and a good way to wear the dog out too.
Distance: 10.75 miles
Profile: Family friendly, bring the dog
Stay at: Ardgartan Argyll
Heart-stopping Heartbeat country
A fabulous walk with stunning views of the countryside, tumbling waterfalls and landmarks from TV and film. Start at Mallyan Spout Hotel, then over hills and valleys into Goathland, otherwise known as Aidensfield, from Heartbeat. If you are lucky enough, you may see a steam train pulling into the station at Goathland, or Hogsmeade station in the Harry Potter Movies. Come back in the summer for the spectacle of the heather in bloom on the moors.
Distance: 6 miles
Stay at: Keldy or Cropton
Rail Trailing to Whitby
The railway line that ran along the North Yorkshire coastline from Scarborough to Whitby was a Beeching casualty, but with great foresight, the local council bought the track and created a bike and walkway. If the full 21 miles is a few steps too far, pick up the trail in Robin Hood’s Bay and finish at Whitby. The highlight is the magnificent Larpool Viaduct which offers fantastic views of the river Esk and Whitby harbour and Abbey. There are plenty of pubs and cafes en route for refreshments.
Distance: 21 miles from Scarborough or 8 miles from Robin Hood’s bay
Profile: Family friendly and dog friendly
Stay at: Keldy or Cropton
Duloe Stone Circle
Starting directly from Deerpark cabins, walk to Herodsfoot through the woods. Look out for the old tin and silver mine stacks, dating back to the 18th Century. The route through the village crosses the river - the war memorial situated here has special significance, for this is a "thankful village" - all came back from both world wars. Heading down-valley there are wonderful views and buzzards are common overhead. After winding your way up to Duloe village and beyond, a visit to the Stone Circle (4500 years old) is a must. Stop off on the way back at The Plough for refreshments. You can return down the valley along a lovely stretch of the river before finding your way into another "secret valley" with babbling brook.
Distance: a few miles; allow 6 hours including pub refreshments
Details: The Forest Retreat at Deerpark
Stay at: Deerpark
5 things to look out for on your winter walk
1. Snowdrops – the first tentative signs of new life, likely to be found in the shade of a woodland floor
2. Great Spotted Woodpeckers – in woodlands; at this time of year you will hear the males drumming their beaks on trees to attract a mate
3. Wintering birds – redwings, nuthatches, robins, fieldfare and lapwings to name a few
4. Grey Squirrels – contrary to popular belief, squirrels don’t hibernate, but they do stockpile food for winter
5. Roe deer - sporting a grey or pale brown coat for the winter, with black noses; one of only 2 native British deer species (the other is Red Deer)
All these walks are accessible in the winter – no high mountains or open windswept moors - but do take care. AJ, our Forest Ranger at Keldy has some winter walk tips, here.
Best foot forward and let us know how you get on.