Fitness walks for the new year

If your new year’s resolution is to get fit then we’ve got plenty of trails to help you achieve your goals. These routes are all five miles or less, with varied terrain that will help build your stamina. There are plenty of beautiful views too, which provide the perfect motivation to head outside and get active.

A brisk walk to uplift the senses

Walking is one of the easiest ways to get fit. By taking a 30 minute walk every weekday, you'll accomplish the recommended 150 minutes of exercise per week. A brisk walk can make you feel happier. Awareness of your surroundings, fresh air, and the sight of the sky aren't just things that one of our founders, Octavia Hill, wanted everyone to have access to, they'll also help you reconnect with our natural and striking world. 

Ever felt refreshed after just a quick stroll around the block? When this happens, your body releases good endorphins to lift your mood and prepare you to tackle the rest of the day. Even a 10 minute walk is proven to give you that feel-good effect.

Bath Skyline in the snow
Walking trail

Bath Skyline, Somerset 

This six-mile route boasts magnificent views over the city of Bath. You'll wander through history, past an Iron Age hill fort and 18th-century follies. The route takes you through hidden valleys, woodlands and meadows, all rich in wildlife. The Skyline walk burns as much energy as playing 90 minutes of football. So step out and burn off some of those Christmas calories.

Lime Tree Avenue in winter
Walking trail

Clumber Park, Nottinghamshire 

Clumber’s 3,800 acres are criss-crossed with maintained trails and woodland paths, so there’s no shortage of opportunities to explore on foot. The estate is largely flat with a few small inclines, so it’s great for novice walkers and runners who aren’t quite ready to tackle steep hills. For a good two-mile stretch try the ‘all seasons’ trail, which provides gentle introduction to Clumber’s woodland, heathland and lakeside views.

Croome dog walking lake bluebells
Walking trail

Croome, Worcestershire  

William Dean, who was the Botanic Gardener in 1824 at Croome in Worcestershire, published a book which describes a walk through the ‘Pleasure Grounds’. This trail is a recreation of that walk so you can retrace the steps of 19th century residents.

Couple walking on Divis and the Black Mountain
Walking trail

Divis and the Black Mountain, County Antrim 

The three-mile Summit Trail begins with a stretch along the Tipperary Road - named for the time when the mountain was a training ground and squaddies used to march along here in full kit. From here the trail cuts over open heath towards the highest peak in the Belfast Hills, Divis Mountain. Although the trail can be rough underfoot, the majestic views over the city of Belfast, Strangford Lough and the Mourne Mountains definitely make it worth the climb.

Early morning winter sun and mist in the park
Walking trail

Ickworth, Suffolk 

Wander through Ickworth’s woodlands on this two-and-a-half mile circular walk. On the way you’ll pass some of the estate’s highlights, such as the Italianate garden and the old deer park. Those keen to build up their fitness levels can take a detour to the Trim Trail, where adults and children alike can try their hand at pole-climbing, ladder walks and leap frog.

Frosty morning at Killerton house
Walking trail

Killerton, Devon 

Whether you’re after a good walk through beautiful landscape or an antidote to road running, Killerton is the place for you. With over 60 miles of footpaths there’s no shortage of places to explore, from parkland and rolling hill to dense woodland. If you don't mind the possibility of getting muddy, this trail takes in both chapels, historic parkland alongside the River Culm and open farmland on this two-hour walk. After all that work, why not pop into the café for a cup of tea?

A young woman and her dog taking in the beautiful landscape at Polesden Lacey

Polesden Lacey, Surrey 

Soak up the peace and beauty of the Polesden Lacey landscape and the Surrey Hills beyond. At each viewpoint, stop and read the inspirational quote or extract of poetry beneath the door on the natural wooden plaque. Each has been specially chosen to help further awaken your senses and complement the surrounding landscape. Don’t forget to wear appropriate footwear for a good old muddy walk through the woods. This is a mildly challenging but hugely rewarding three-and-a-half mile walk that will take approximately two hours.

The bay at Porthdinllaen, Llŷn Peninsula
Walking trail

Porthdinllaen, Gwynedd 

There’s nothing better than a coastal trail to blow away the cobwebs. This route will reward you with stunning views in all directions as you follow it out along the Porthdinllaen headland - an outstanding wildlife haven. Grey seals are a particular highlight, and can often be seen hunting for fish along this stretch of coastline. The route is only two-and-a-half miles but is steep in places with a few steps to get your heart rate up. If you wear yourself out you can always refuel in the the Ty Coch Inn, which has been around for almost two centuries.

Evening light over Studland Heath at Studland Bay, Dorset
Walking trail

Studland, Dorset 

It’s much easier to find the motivation to exercise when you’ve got a good view. This three-and-a-half mile route includes the most famous landmarks on the Jurassic Coast - the Old Harry Rocks chalk stacks on Studland. With miles of golden sandy beaches, the dramatic history of Studland Bay and internationally important heathlands, this is the British coastline at its most beautiful.

The view of Bough Beech reservoir from Toys Hill, a National Trust property in Kent

Toys Hill, Kent 

Founder of the National Trust in 1895, Octavia Hill was a social reformer, philanthropist, artist and writer. A remarkable woman, her vision has led to her being a major influence on our lives today. Celebrate her life on this six mile walk, starting at Toys Hill to Crockham Hill village and the church where she is buried, up to Mariners Hill and on past Chartwell, former home of Winston Churchill. It’s great for stretching your legs and stamina.

View over the River Fal at Trelissick
Walking trail

Trelissick, Cornwall 

Trelissick sits on its own peninsula, surrounded by water on three sides. This four-mile route follows the River Fal for part of its length before heading inland, so you can get fit while still enjoying spectacular views over water, woods and grazed farmland. The terrain is fairly easy-going so it’s great for beginners with one short, steep climb at the end for a bit more of a challenge.

Winter walking on Dunstable Downs Bedfordshire
Walking trail

Whipsnade and Dunstable Downs, Bedfordshire 

This four-and-a-half mile walk covers moderate terrain, but there are a few steep gradients to help push your stamina levels a bit. Admire beautiful views along the Icknield Way as you head towards Whipsnade Tree Cathedral. This memorial to those lost in the First World War provides a tranquil spot to pause and rest, before you head off on the trail back to the centre.

A group of walkers on the shore of Lake Windermere
Walking trail

Windermere West Shore, Cumbria 

Take the ferry over from Bowness and ease yourself into walking, running or cycling with this wonderful low-level route. The well-surfaced lakeside track means you can get out and stretch your legs whatever the weather and it offers great views of the islands, interesting woodland archaeology and the Victorian Gothic Wray Castle. The linear route is four miles, but you can always re-trace your footsteps back to the start for a longer challenge.