Hill and mountain walks

If you're after memorable walks that will take you up and down hills and mountains steeped in history, we've got an exciting selection for you.

Follow sun-dappled paths through native woodland and enjoy uninterrupted views of the open countryside after a bracing climb.

Walking is always fun but hill walking can give you that little bit more. You're always rewarded with an incredible view after a vigorous climb. 

Hill walking can be enjoyed by everyone, whether you're a family looking for an exciting day out, a seasoned adventurer, a nature lover or a relaxed rambler. Not only do we have lots of different trails to choose from but we've also got a new mini-series and hill walking tips to get you inspired and prepared for your next adventure. 

In this article:

Explore the countryside with our video series 

In our new four-part series, wildlife presenter Lizzie Daly explores how we look after the countryside so walkers can enjoy the view and nature can thrive. Throughout the series, she joins our rangers on a wide variety of walking trails that take in mountain summits, coastal landscapes, urban areas and accessible routes suitable for wheelchairs, pushchairs and mobility aids. 


Hill walking with Lizzie Daly

We're inviting you on an adventure at the eastern edge of the Brecon Beacons. Follow Lizzie and our area ranger Abbi Knight on a nature-rich trail through the valleys and woodlands of Monmouthshire and up to the rugged summit of Skirrid, a mountain steeped in myth and legend. There's also some handy hill walking tips from our partner Cotswold Outdoor.

" Slow down and look around you. If you hear a rustle in the undergrowth, it could be a vole or a mouse. On a bright day you might see reptiles basking in the sun, butterflies fluttering or bees feasting on flowers. "
- Abbi Knight, Area Ranger, Brecon Beacons
Choose your walking trail
Hayeswater Gill in Ullswater
Walking trail

Aira Force Hayeswater Gill trail, Cumbria  

Uphill at the start, but the effort is rewarded again and again with incredible views on this beautiful circular walk. Look out for red deer along the way.

Cairn on Castle Crag overlooking Upper Borrowdale, Cumbria.
Walking trail

Borger Dalr geology walk, Borrowdale, Cumbria 

Explore the origins of Borrowdale as you walk from Bowder Stone car park to Castle Crag, an area that has been described as ‘the finest square-mile in Lakeland’.

Cwm Llwch, Brecon Beacons
Walking trail

Cwm Llwch from Cwm Gwdi walk, Brecon Beacons 

This is an exciting way to get to the summit of southern Britain's highest mountain, Pen y Fan, with 1893ft (576m) of climbing before reaching the top at 2908ft (886m).

gollden plover centre in heather and grass
Walking trail

A bracing walk at Derwent Valley, in the Peak District 

This bracing walk leads you alongside the Ladybower Reservoir, through farmland, and emerges high on the moors with fantastic views of the Derwent Valley and opportunities to spot local wildlife.

Sea views from Godolphin Hill
Walking trail

Godolphin Hill walk, Cornwall 

A gentle ramble up to the top of Godolphin Hill, which boasts one of the best views over west Cornwall. On a clear day you can see St Michael's Mount and St Ives bay.

The chalk cliffs of the Needles headland lead round Alum Bay to the Needles themselves
Walking trail

Headon Warren walk, Isle of Wight  

Follow coastal paths along rugged headland with incredible views of Alum Bay and the Needles. You'll also discover a Bronze Age burial ground.

The path around the woodland at Langdon Hill, on a sunny day in July
Walking trail

Langdon Hill walk, Golden Cap, Dorest 

This circular walk will take you through quiet woodland, and up to Langdon Hill, where you'll be rewarded with enticing glimpses of the coast. Keep an eye out for buzzards and ravens soaring high above you.

View over Woolacombe from Potter's Hill
Walking trail

Potter's Hill mini mountain walk, Woolacombe, Devon 

Enjoy the views from the top of Potter's Hill, north Devon's mini mountain.

Walkers taking the grassed footpath of the trail at The Skirrid, Monmouthshire

Skirrid, Monmouthshire 

Did you like what you saw in our hill walking video? Why not walk the same trail? This two-hour walk takes you through native woodland full of wildlife, medieval landmarks and on to the summit of Skirrid, where you can take in glorious views of the Black Mountains and Brecon Beacons.

Wildlife to spot on a hill walk

Upland areas are full of wildlife. Our ranger Abbi Knight tells us that hill walkers in areas such as the Brecon Beacons can spot several different birds, including skylark, stonechat, yellowhammer, meadow pipit, red kite and buzzard. 

If you keep your eyes peeled on a warm day you might spot slow worms, adders or a lizard basking in the sunshine. Other sunseekers to look out for are butterflies, especially painted lady, red admiral, common blue, meadow brown, small copper and small heath.

Abbi is part of a team that works to restore native woodland, tackle the erosion of the hillsides and put in measures to protect people and animals.

Top tips for hill walking

We've teamed up with our exclusive walking partner Cotswold Outdoor to make sure you're well prepared for a day of walking in the hills or mountains. Andy Perry, manager of the Cotswold Outdoor store in the Brecon Beacons, shares his top tips for getting the most out of walking in upland landscapes. 

Our work with Cotswold Outdoor

As our exclusive walking partner, Cotswold Outdoor supports our work to look after special outdoor places for everyone to enjoy. Cotswold Outdoor give us funding to  help care for walking trails so more people can access the countryside.

As our official outdoor retail partner, Cotswold Outdoor is supporting us to look after coast and countryside. Don’t forget National Trust supporters receive 15 per cent discount at Cotswold Outdoor, in store and online.*

*T&Cs: National Trust supporters receive 15 per cent discount at Cotswold Outdoor, in store and online. This is not to be used in conjunction with any other offer or discount. Selected lines are exempt. Partnership discount is only available to National Trust supporters signed up to the Cotswold Outdoor Explore More benefits scheme. Further details of exempt lines and full terms are available below. Offer expires on 31.12.22 or as may be extended. 

Read the full Ts&Cs and sign up for your discount (PDF)


We need your support

Footpaths allow us to access the landscapes we love but looking after them is tough and costly work. Remote locations, rough terrain and poor weather conditions often mean that it can take a full day to repair about two metres of stone-pitched footpath in an upland area. And at a cost of up to £180 per metre, it's expensive too. 

  • £4 could repair and maintain one metre of a coastal path
  • £25 could buy a tonne of stone needed to surface paths and prevent erosion from rainfall
  • £50 could pay for two minutes of helicopter flying time to move bags of stones to the paths that need fixing

Your support is more important than ever as we come to terms with the impact of the coronavirus - thank you.

Two men removing a stone from a footpath

Help look after the places you love 

With your help, we can continue carrying out vital work to restore footpaths and make sure future generations can escape to hills and mountains. Your support means more now than ever as we come to terms with the impact of the coronavirus.