Top fitness walks for the New Year

Walking is great exercise, so if your New Year’s resolution is to get fit in 2017, then we’ve got plenty of trails to help you achieve your goals. These routes are all around five miles long 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.

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.

Godrevy, Cornwall and five grazing Shetland ponies
Walking trail

Godrevy to Hell's Mouth, West Cornwall 

With steep climbs and some rough terrain, this five-mile route is a great test of fitness. Exhilarating pathways take you around Godrevy headland to the dramatic cliffs above Hell's Mouth, passing through the wonderful heathland of the Knavocks. Along the way you might spot dolphins and seals just off shore, or you can look out for secret coves and caves where pirates might once have hidden their bounty.

Wembury, South Devon
Walking trail

Wembury Woods, Devon 

This hilly five-mile route passes through beautiful woodlands and hedge-lined fields, not far from the coastal village of Wembury. There’s a resting spot part-way round, where you can catch your breathe and admire the views over the river Yealm. Near the end of the route you’ll find the Old Wheel Pub, where you can have a well-deserved bite to eat.

Sunrise at Toys Hill
Walking trail

Toys Hill, Kent 

Octavia Hill was a social reformer, philanthropist and co-founder of the National Trust. This is one of two trails that celebrate her life, passing through the countryside where she was born and lived, and which inspired her mission to provide open spaces for everyone to enjoy. The four-mile route covers varied terrain that is great for stretching your legs and building stamina.

Snow covers the ground of the Lady Chapel
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.

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.

Derwent Water pier with snowy Catbells behind, Borrowdale Cumbria
Walking trail

Derwent Valley, Peak District 

From fields and woodland paths to roads and open moorland, this four-mile walk covers plenty of varied terrain. It’s a beautiful introduction to the Peak District: you’ll hike alongside the Ladybower Reservoir, through farmland and up steep wooded cloughs, before emerging high on top of the moors. Enjoy panoramic views of the Derwent Valley, and see if you can spot some mountain hares or golden plovers.

a Sycamore tree nestled in Hadrian's Wall
Walking trail

Hadrian's Wall, Northumberland 

Don your hat, dig out the scarf and wrap up for a bracing five-mile circular walk at Hadrian’s Wall. The route is undulating with one or two steep ascents and descents, giving you the opportunity to experience the rugged and wild landscape and take in the views over to the Pennines and the Borders. You’ll also visit the iconic Sycamore Gap, where you can pause to take some pictures of the Robin Hood tree, as featured in the film ‘Prince of Thieves’.

Roseberry Topping with a light covering of snow viewed from the top of Newton Wood
Walking trail

Roseberry Topping, North Yorkshire 

Though short, this is a challenging ascent of Cleveland's most famous hill. It’s well worth the effort though, as from the top you can enjoy panoramic views over the Cleveland plain and beyond. On the way back you can warm-down by strolling through Newton Wood, where you might spot roe deer and woodpeckers.

Walking boots resting on a rock
Walking trail

Stackpole, Pembrokeshire 

This six-mile walk takes in some of the most spectacular coastline in Pembrokeshire. Walk on limestone cliffs, beside freshwater lakes and scramble over sand dunes. The Boathouse tea room is open at weekends during the winter months, so you can take a rest and enjoy a restorative cup of tea.

Dolmelynllyn estate walk, South Snowdonia
Walking trail

Dolmelynllyn Estate, Snowdonia 

Discover one of the wonders of Wales on this four-mile walk through the Dolmelynllyn estate. The cascading Rhaeadr Ddu Falls have inspired generations of artists and writers and are breathtakingly beautiful in all weathers. You will also pass the remains of the Cefn Coch gold mine, one of the richest in the area during the Welsh gold rush in the 19th century. The route can be steep in places, so make sure you’re wearing sturdy shoes.

A winter view across to Benaughlin mountain in the snow
Walking trail

Florence Court, County Fermanagh 

Follow this five-and-a-half mile trail through the forest park at Florence Court. Set along paths and forest tracks, this route has occasional steep inclines which require a reasonable level of fitness. The views are worth it though: on a clear day you’ll be able to see across much of Fermanagh, as well as the surrounding mountains and loughs.