Walks with literary connections

The places we look after are associated with many literary figures, from Beatrix Potter to Harry Potter. Head out on a walk through the locations that inspired some of the nation's favourite books or provided the backdrop to their much-loved screen adaptations.

An image from a scene from Game of Thrones which was filmed at Castle Ward
Walking trail

Castle Ward, County Down 

The historic farmyard at Castle Ward is where the first scene in the television version of George R R Martin's Game of Thrones was filmed. It was also used as the setting for Winterfell in series one.

Still from the Swallows and Amazons film
Walking trail

Coniston, Cumbria 

Visit Coniston to see the landscapes that inspired Arthur Ransome to write Swallows and Amazons. Sail aboard the Steam Yacht Gondola – one of the inspirations for Captain Flint’s houseboat. Spot Wild Cat Island, otherwise known as Peel Island, and hike up the mighty mountain of Kanchenjunga, or Old Man Coniston.

Corfe Castle in the mist
Walking trail

Corfe Castle, Dorset 

Dominated by the dramatic ruins of Corfe Castle on the skyline, this easy walk is the perfect way to get the whole family outside. Fans of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five can celebrate the 75th anniversary of the first book by exploring the ruins, which are said to have been the inspiration for Kirrin Castle.

Man walking alone on footpath in summer
Walking trail

Hampstead Heath, London 

Hampstead has influenced a great number of British writers, from Enid Blyton to Lord Byron. This walk takes in many locations associated with these writers, including Jack Straw’s Castle – mentioned by Bram Stoker in Dracula and by Harold Pinter in No Man’s Land - as well as Keats' House – where Ode to a Nightingale was written.

The view across the garden to Hardy's Cottage, the birthplace in 1840 of novelist and poet Thomas Hardy

Hardy's Cottage, Dorset 

Poet and novelist Thomas Hardy was born in this small cottage in Higher Bockhampton, and described the surrounding heath and woodland as his playground. It inspired his fictionalised land of Wessex, and he used to write while sitting in the deep recess of the bedroom window. Why not take a walk through his native landscape to see if inspiration strikes?

Gibbet Hill and the Sailor's Stone at Hindhead Commons, Surrey
Walking trail

Hindhead Commons, Surrey 

Arthur Conan Doyle lived at Undershaw in Hindhead from 1897 to 1907, where he wrote one of the best-known Sherlock Holmes novels, The Hound of the Baskervilles. When we acquired Hindhead Commons in 1906 under the advice of our co-founder Sir Robert Hunter, Conan Doyle was part of the first Hindhead Commons committee which helped to care for this special place. He and Hunter would frequently walk out together over the Commons.

The bell metal cauldron in the Warming Room at Lacock Abbey, Wiltshire.
Walking trail

Lacock, Wiltshire 

Fans of Harry Potter will love visiting Lacock Abbey, which was used for several Hogwarts interior scenes in the early movie adaptations. Picturesque Lacock village is also no stranger to the screen, appearing as Godric's Hollow in The Philosopher's Stone, as well as being the location of Slughorn's temporary home of Budleigh Babberton in The Half-Blood Prince.

Rhododendrons in bloom on the lake at Lyme, Cheshire
Walking trail

Lyme Park, Cheshire 

Nestled on the edge of the Peak District and surrounded by moorland, Lyme Park is a setting that oozes romance. It was used as a backdrop for the famous scene in which Elizabeth Bennet meets a drenched Mr Darcy emerging from a lake, in the 1995 BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. Visitors can follow our Pemberley Walk to tread in Mr Darcy’s footsteps.

Belton’s sundial was made famous in Helen Creswell’s book ‘Moondial’
Walking trail

Belton House, Lincolnshire 

The sundial at the heart of Belton’s formal gardens was the inspiration for Moondial, a children’s story by BAFTA award-winning author Helen Cresswell. The story tells of a young girl who discovers that the sculpture is in fact a magic portal to the past. The BBC’s television adaption was filmed almost entirely on location at Belton.

View to the Mourne Mountains from Murlough National Nature Reserve, County Down, Northern Ireland

Mourne Mountains, Northern Ireland 

Fans of the literary adventures of Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy will love exploring the Mourne Mountains - one of the stunning landscapes said to have inspired C.S Lewis to write The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe in 1950.

Sunset over the Crowns at Botallack

Tin Coast, Cornwall 

Places that we care for in Cornwall have formed the backdrop for the BBC’s adaptation of Winston Graham's much-loved Poldark novels. This walk along part of the South West Coast Path takes you past the remains of two of Cornwall’s champion mines, Levant and Botallack, through the kind of spectacular scenery that characterises the series.

View of Worms Head, Rhossili
Walking trail

Worm’s Head, Gower 

Dylan Thomas was a regular visitor to the Gower and a number of his stories feature connections to the area. Once he even got stuck on Worm's Head overnight after he fell asleep and missed the tide.