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Two-day National Park walks

Written by
Mark RoweEnvironment and travel journalist
Two walkers sat on the hillside at Mam Tor, Peak District, Derbyshire
Walkers admiring the view on Mam Tor in the Peak District | © National Trust Images/Trevor Ray Hart

Did you know that 40 per cent of the land we look after can be found in a National Park? To help you explore it, we've chosen three National Parks to discover on foot over two days—Exmoor, the Peak District and the South Downs.

About the author

The walks have been written by environment and travel journalist Mark Rowe. All three walking routes have been walked personally by Mark and put together with local knowledge from our rangers who are passionate about the landscapes in their care.

About the hikes

These lengthy hikes are aimed at the more ambitious walker. They are designed for you to dip in and out of as you please over two days or more. For the less experienced walker, we’ve also got lots of short, easy-to-follow walks – find your ideal route on our dedicated walking page

About National Parks

National Parks are protected areas because of their beautiful countryside, wildlife and cultural heritage. We care for more than 300,000 acres of land in National Parks, working closely with the National Park Authority to ensure that these special landscapes are looked after and can be enjoyed by thousands of visitors every year.

Exmoor ponies roaming on the moorland of Holnicote Estate, Somerset
Exmoor ponies roaming the moorland | © National Trust Images/Chris Lacey

Exmoor hike

Day one
This 24-mile figure of eight hike on the Holnicote Estate, within Exmoor National Park, starts with an 8-mile jaunt north of Allerford. The walk takes in Selworthy Beacon, where you'll be rewarded with views across the Bristol Channel to South Wales. 
Day two
On the second day it's 16 miles, again from Allerford, but this time heading south through one of the UK's largest ancient oak woodlands, Horner Wood. You'll then head to Dunkery Beacon, the highest point on Exmoor. 

Peak District hike

Day one
This two-day walk takes you away from the crowds. On the first day, you'll explore the land around the edges of the moorland of Kinder Scout and the dramatic geological fault line that lies just to the south. This is a place where nature thrives, home to a variety of wildlife including ravens, red grouse and peregrine falcons.
Day two
With a climb up Mam Tor on the second day, the High Peak is a great introduction to the northern uplands of England. It's where the Pennine Way begins, and where a mountain chain that forms the backbone of England makes its way north into Scotland.
Walkers on the clifftop on the South Downs Way footpath at Birling Gap and the Seven Sisters, East Sussex with a view of the sea in the background
Take a stroll on the South Downs Way footpath at Birling Gap and the Seven Sisters | © National Trust Images/John Millar

South Downs hike

Day one
This two-day walk captures much of the spirit of Britain's 15th and newest national park. Beginning at Steyning, just north of the town of Shoreham-by-Sea, it meanders eastwards via the South Downs escarpment, high above both Brighton and a succession of quintessentially English villages, before finishing the first day at Ditchling.
Day two
On the second day, you'll start at Ditchling Beacon Nature Reserve, taking in great views as you follow the South Downs Way towards the hamlet of Southease, including one of the highest points on the South Downs and the site of an Iron Age fort, Dichling Beacon.
A person walking along the South West Coast Path at East Soar, South Devon

Find a walk

Discover some of the best places for walks, including ancient woodland, stretches of coast and green parkland.

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