Walks with stories

As well as being a great way to get active and enjoy some fresh air, going for a walk can be equally invigorating for the mind. The places we look after are as full of intriguing tales and history as they are inspiring views, and we’ve chosen some of our favourite walks with stories for you to try.

Beech trees in woodland at Alderley Edge, Cheshire
Walking trail

Alderly Edge Wizard walk, Cheshire 

The legend of Alderley Edge tells the tale of a farmer waylaid by a wizard. Together they travel to the underworld where the farmer is rewarded with treasure for giving his horse to an enchanted warrior. The idea of riches underground may link back to the Bronze Age when copper was mined from the red sandstone escarpment. Visit places that feature in the legend and see evidence of mining on a circular walk.

Standing Stones at Avebury
Walking trail

Avebury archaeology walk, Wiltshire 

The Neolithic stone circle and surrounding ditch and bank at Avebury are part of a huge ceremonial complex that took centuries to build. Explore the landscape on a circular walk imagining the people for whom the now world-famous World Heritage Site would have held such symbolic importance. The route also takes in the stones along West Kennet Avenue and the barrows (burial mounds) on Overton Hill.

A couple walking through fields
Walking trail

Cliveden red walking trail 

The Profumo affair, British politician John Profumo’s scandalous affair with society girl Christine Keeler after a chance meeting at Cliveden, gripped the nation in 1963 and brought down the Macmillan government. Explore the estate on a circular walk, stopping to look at Spring Cottage where Keeler was staying as the guest of resident osteopath Stephen Ward before encountering Profumo by Cliveden’s swimming pool.

Couple walking
Walking trail

Danbury Common walk, Essex 

Danbury Common’s position on top of a hill near the Blackwater Estuary has meant it has long had military importance. On a circular walk from Danbury Common to Lingwood (one of three linking Danbury and Lingwood Commons and Blakes Wood) you’ll see the restored armoury used to store for munitions for soldiers stationed on the common during the Napoleonic Wars. The common was later used for army training in the two world wars.

Waves crash against the Giant's Causeway, Co Antrim, Northern Ireland
Walking trail

Giants Causeway red walk, County Antrim 

Over 40,000 basalt columns make up the Giant’s Causeway and their story stretches back over 60 million years to ancient volcanic eruptions. Get a bird’s eye view of this impressive natural phenomenon, Northern Ireland’s only World Heritage Site, from a linear walk along the clifftop. You can also take on the challenge of the Shepherd’s Steps, 167 steep steps that connect the clifftop to the shoreline below.

Conifer plantations cover the lower slopes down to the reservoir
Walking trail

Derwent Valley walk, Derbyshire 

As well as spectacular views and fascinating wildlife (including England's only mountain hares), the Derwent Valley has an intriguing history, both ancient and modern, to share. The Derwent Dam was used for RAF flying practice for the bouncing bomb during the Second World War and later featured in the The Dam Busters film. A circular walk visits the dam, Ladybower Reservoir and also Pike Low, a Bronze Age barrow (burial mound).

Buckstones Edge on Marsden Moor, West Yorkshire
Walking trail

Marsden Moor Heritage walk, West Yorkshire 

Sandwiched between Yorkshire and Lancashire, Marsden Moor bears the footprint of historic trans-Pennine transport routes from old packhorse roads and bridges to the longest canal tunnel in Britain, Standedge Tunnel (Canal & River Trust). We developed a heritage trail across the moor with Heritage Lottery Fund funding – look out for information panels dotted along the route which give an insight into the area’s rich history. We’re currently working with Moors for the Future to conserve the upland moorland.

The Skirrid and Deri from the Rholben, Monmouthshire
Walking trail

Skirrid Fawr walk, Abergavenny 

Skirrid Fawr (or Ysgyryd Fawr) is one of the most easterly peaks of the Black Mountains. Also known as the ‘Holy Mountain’, legend has it that part of the mountain broke off at the moment of the Christ’s crucifixion – 'Ysgyryd' means something that has shivered or been shattered. A circular walk takes you to the summit where the ruins of a chapel used for secret masses during the Catholic persecution of the 17th century can be found

Woodland at Toys Hill, Kent
Walking trail

Octavia Hill centenary trail east, Kent 

The natural beauty of Toys Hill, with its fine views over the Weald of Kent, inspired Octavia Hill to found the National Trust. Take the Octavia Hill centenary trail east from Toys Hill visiting the village of Ide Hill and Octavia’s commemorative seat. You’ll also pass Emmetts Garden. Alternatively you can take the Octavia Hill centenary trail west visiting the church where she was buried and passing Chartwell, former home of Winston Churchill.

A winding river with a crag in the distance
Walking trail

Wannie Line walk, Northumberland 

Two steam railway lines, the Wannie Line and the Rothbury Line, once crossed the Wallington estate. Sir Walter Trevelyan was the driving force behind the railways in the 19th century, recognising the financial benefits the routes would bring to the estate. A circular walk will take you along the grassy banks of the now disused lines visiting the site of a tragic train crash in which four people were killed and others injured.

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