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Lake District dominates list of Britain’s best walks

Whether you’re a keen hiker or a more relaxed rambler, we are a nation of walkers.

And it seems nowhere sparks our love of a good stroll quite like the majestic Lake District.

The picturesque mountains in the northwest, which are broken up by stunning lakes, produce some of the most stunning views in Britain and have dominated a poll of our favourite walks.

They not only boast five of the top 10 spots but the overall champion too, in England’s third highest mountain, Helvellyn.

It seems nowhere sparks our love of a good stroll quite like the majestic Lake District. Pictured: Striding Edge towards Helvellyn in the Lake District 

The picturesque mountains in the northwest, which are broken up by stunning lakes, produce some of the most stunning views in Britain and have dominated a poll of our favourite walks. Pictured: Julia Bradbury on Helvellyn in the Lake District

The picturesque mountains in the northwest, which are broken up by stunning lakes, produce some of the most stunning views in Britain and have dominated a poll of our favourite walks. Pictured: Julia Bradbury on Helvellyn in the Lake District

They not only boast five of the top 10 spots but the overall champion too, in England’s third highest mountain, Helvellyn. Pictured: A walker stands behind frozen Red Tarn with Helvellyn behind 

They not only boast five of the top 10 spots but the overall champion too, in England’s third highest mountain, Helvellyn. Pictured: A walker stands behind frozen Red Tarn with Helvellyn behind 

With a range of routes – from the moderate ‘Stairway to Heaven’ to the treacherous ‘Striding Edge’ – and views extending to Scotland and the Irish Sea, Helvellyn was the clear winner. Pictured: A man looks towards the summit of Helvellyn from Striding Edge 

With a range of routes – from the moderate ‘Stairway to Heaven’ to the treacherous ‘Striding Edge’ – and views extending to Scotland and the Irish Sea, Helvellyn was the clear winner. Pictured: A man looks towards the summit of Helvellyn from Striding Edge 

Hikers hiking on a mountain, Striding Edge, Helvellyn, English Lake District

Hikers hiking on a mountain, Striding Edge, Helvellyn, English Lake District

With a range of routes – from the moderate ‘Stairway to Heaven’ to the treacherous ‘Striding Edge’ – and views extending to Scotland and the Irish Sea, Helvellyn was the clear winner.

Snowdonia put up a strong fight in the survey of 8,000 ramblers, but it could not topple the Lake District and had to settle for two of the top 10 spots.

Snowdon, Wales’s highest mountain finished second in the study, carried out by the National Trust, Ordnance Survey and The Ramblers, while the nearby ragged mountain Tryfan finishing sixth.

In third spot came the Malham and Gordale circular walk in Yorkshire, which incorporates waterfalls, dramatic limestone pavements and rugged terrain.

A view from the top of Mount Snowdon - Wales's highest mountain - looking down into the valley surrounded by steep cliffs that make up a walkers paradise

A view from the top of Mount Snowdon – Wales’s highest mountain – looking down into the valley surrounded by steep cliffs that make up a walkers paradise

Snowdonia (pictured) put up a strong fight in the survey of 8,000 ramblers, but it could not topple the Lake District and had to settle for two of the top 10 spots

Snowdonia (pictured) put up a strong fight in the survey of 8,000 ramblers, but it could not topple the Lake District and had to settle for two of the top 10 spots

The results were broadcast on ITV last night, in a two-and-a-half-hour countdown called Britain’s Favourite Walks: Top 100, and included everything from easy coastal walks to hair-raising hikes.

While Wales boasted four of the top 20 spots, helped by Pen Y Fan in the Brecon Beacons and the rugged Pembrokeshire coastline walk of Solva to St Davids, Scotland held three spots.

Famous faces including Janet Street Porter and Larry Lamb were filmed climbing their favourite walks in last night’s programme, while members of the public extolled the virtues of walking for boosting mental health.

Britain boasts over 150,000 footpaths and around 9million people are thought to strap on their hiking boots for a walk of some nature every month.

Demonstrating our love of a testing walk, most of the top 10 were either classed as moderate or challenging, with the only ‘easy’ options being the coastal stroll from Craster to Dunstanburgh Castle in Northumbria and the Buttermere Valley in the Lake District.

Snowdon, Wales’s highest mountain finished second in the study, carried out by the National Trust, Ordnance Survey and The Ramblers, while the nearby ragged mountain Tryfan finishing sixth

Snowdon, Wales’s highest mountain finished second in the study, carried out by the National Trust, Ordnance Survey and The Ramblers, while the nearby ragged mountain Tryfan finishing sixth

In third spot came the Malham and Gordale circular walk in Yorkshire, which incorporates waterfalls, dramatic limestone pavements and rugged terrain

In third spot came the Malham and Gordale circular walk in Yorkshire, which incorporates waterfalls, dramatic limestone pavements and rugged terrain

A group of walkers were shown trekking with llamas along the waterside trail around Buttermere, while the 4.4-mile route shown also featured fells and woodland.

Announcing Helvellyn as the winner, presenter Julia Bradbury said: ‘To be honest I am little surprised. It isn’t that Helvellyn is a brilliant hike, of course it is, but it is also quite challenging, which means you lot are hard core.

‘This is it, this is your number one walk and there is no doubt about it. Helvellyn is a majestic mountain. 

‘And for me this is a really special moment because I’ve never been up Helvellyn in such good weather before. 

‘I never seen the views that everybody talks about and they are phenomenal. Your choice is definitely a good one. Special in every way.’

Her co-presenter Ore Oduba added: ‘From one end of the country to the other, from the mountains to the sea – we’ve pretty much covered every bit of Britain that there is for hikers to explore.’

Scafell Pike provides those braving the summit with spectacular views of the surrounding fells. It also forms part of the national Three Peaks Challenge

Scafell Pike provides those braving the summit with spectacular views of the surrounding fells. It also forms part of the national Three Peaks Challenge

 Cat Bells in the Lake District dominates the view across Derwent from Borrowdale and is dubbed ‘The Lair of the Wildcat’

 Cat Bells in the Lake District dominates the view across Derwent from Borrowdale and is dubbed ‘The Lair of the Wildcat’

Is your favourite walk one of Britain’s top 20? 

1. Helvellyn, Lake District 

Castlerigg Stone Circle in autumn with the snow topped Helvellyn mountain range in the distance

Castlerigg Stone Circle in autumn with the snow topped Helvellyn mountain range in the distance

Helvellyn, Lake District, is England's third highest peak and is a walk for those with decent levels of fitness 

Helvellyn, Lake District, is England’s third highest peak and is a walk for those with decent levels of fitness 

This is England’s third highest peak and is a walk for those with a decent level of fitness. The infamous ‘Striding Edge’ is a challenging ridge walk but this route leaves from the village of Glenridding before ascending the summit – and it’s spectacular views – via the Keppel Cove approach.

2. Snowdon, Wales

A trekker in a backpack and raincoat walks the Pyg Track on Mount Snowdon in Wales

A trekker in a backpack and raincoat walks the Pyg Track on Mount Snowdon in Wales

Snowdon is one of the most popular summits in the British isles, with seven official routes to the top that vary in difficulty 

Snowdon is one of the most popular summits in the British isles, with seven official routes to the top that vary in difficulty 

Snowdon is the highest peak in England and Wales and is one of the most popular summits in the British Isles. There are seven official routes to the top varying in difficulty; but this route takes one of the most popular, the Llanberis Path.

3. Malham and Gordale circular walk, Yorkshire  

The results were broadcast on ITV last night, in a two-and-a-half-hour countdown called Britain’s Favourite Walks: Top 100, and included everything from easy coastal walks to hair-raising hikes. Pictured: Malham Cove, Yorkshire Dales National Park 

The results were broadcast on ITV last night, in a two-and-a-half-hour countdown called Britain’s Favourite Walks: Top 100, and included everything from easy coastal walks to hair-raising hikes. Pictured: Malham Cove, Yorkshire Dales National Park 

Malham Cove is a popular route that travels through varied terrain and rugged landscapes 

Malham Cove is a popular route that travels through varied terrain and rugged landscapes 

This popular route covers the dramatic landscape of Malham Cove, Gordale Scar, Janet’s Foss Waterfall and Malham Tarn – Britain’s highest lake. Travel through varied terrain and rugged landscapes. A less strenuous route is from Malham Village to Janet’s Foss.

4. Cat Bells, Lake District 

A view of Catbells, Derwentwater and Bassenthwaite Lake on route to the summit of Catbells, in the Lake District, Cumbria

A view of Catbells, Derwentwater and Bassenthwaite Lake on route to the summit of Catbells, in the Lake District, Cumbria

Cat Bells, Lake District: There are plenty of ways to the top but this classic route is over the bumps the the North Ridge

Cat Bells, Lake District: There are plenty of ways to the top but this classic route is over the bumps the the North Ridge

A small yet iconic fell that is popular with families due to its compact’ size. It dominates the view across Derwent from Borrowdale and is dubbed ‘The Lair of the Wildcat’. There are plenty of ways to the top but this classic route is over the bumps of the North Ridge.

5. Scafell Pike, Lake District 

Scafell Pike and Wastwater in Wasdale Valley, Lake District, Cumbria 

Scafell Pike and Wastwater in Wasdale Valley, Lake District, Cumbria 

Scafell Pike, in the Lake District, provides those braving the summit with spectacular views of the surrounding fells. The route to the top is a circular hike from Wasdale Head 

Scafell Pike, in the Lake District, provides those braving the summit with spectacular views of the surrounding fells. The route to the top is a circular hike from Wasdale Head 

England’s highest mountain provides those braving the summit with spectacular views of the surrounding fells. It also forms part of the national Three Peaks Challenge. This route to the top is a circular hike from Wasdale Head.

6. Tryfan, Wales

Tryfan and The Ogwen Valley, Snowdonia national Park, North Wales

Tryfan and The Ogwen Valley, Snowdonia national Park, North Wales

Tryfan, in Wales.  This walk required determination, experience and the right kit - keep your eye out for feral goats that love to scale its rock peaks 

Tryfan, in Wales.  This walk required determination, experience and the right kit – keep your eye out for feral goats that love to scale its rock peaks 

Snowdon for the hardcore hillwalkers. This one is for those with plenty of determination, experience and the right kit. Keep your eye out for the feral goats that seem to have no difficulty scaling it’s rocky peaks.

7. Buttermere circular walk, Lake District 

Snow covered hills reflecting in the mirror like surface of Buttermere lake

Snow covered hills reflecting in the mirror like surface of Buttermere lake

Buttermere Valley offers one of the best round-the-lake walks in the Lake District

Buttermere Valley offers one of the best round-the-lake walks in the Lake District

Buttermere Valley is a tranquil area of dramatic fells, farms and woodland, encompassing three lakes. Buttermere (the lake) offers one of the best round-the-lake walks in the Lake District and the views mean that your photos make it look like you’ve been somewhere much more rugged!

8. Old man of Coniston, Lake District 

Walker admiring the view from the summit of The Old Man of Coniston in the  Lake District

Walker admiring the view from the summit of The Old Man of Coniston in the Lake District

The hike to the summit of the Old Man of Coniston is a moderate/challenging walk on one of the best known mountains in the Lake District 

The hike to the summit of the Old Man of Coniston is a moderate/challenging walk on one of the best known mountains in the Lake District 

A moderate/challenging walk on one of the best known mountains in the Lake District. The hike to the summit starts and ends from the village of Coniston below and is well worth the effort to reach the top for some stunning views.

9. Craster to Dunstanburgh Castle, North-East

Waves lap against the North-East coast as orange sunlight illuminates Dunstanburgh Castle 

Waves lap against the North-East coast as orange sunlight illuminates Dunstanburgh Castle 

Craster to Dunstanburgh Castle is a short but spectacular coastal stroll which sets foot from the fishing village of Craster

Craster to Dunstanburgh Castle is a short but spectacular coastal stroll which sets foot from the fishing village of Craster

This walk is a real Northumbrian highlight…the short but spectacular coastal stroll which sets foot from the fishing village of Craster, before visiting the mighty ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle.

10. Mam Tor, Peak District 

Hikers walk along the great ridge along from Mam Tor, Peak District, Hope Valley on a cold winter morning

Hikers walk along the great ridge along from Mam Tor, Peak District, Hope Valley on a cold winter morning

Mam Tor, Peak District: With this route you start and end in Castleton but there are shorter routes up Mam Tor

Mam Tor, Peak District: With this route you start and end in Castleton but there are shorter routes up Mam Tor

A walk in the Peaks over one of it’s most fascinating hills – Mam Tor. The walk then continues over The Great Ridge that separates the Vales of Edale and Castleton. With this route you start and end in Castleton but there are shorter routes up Mam Tor.

11. Pen Y Fan, Wales

Trees and snow covered hills reflected in reservoir, Penyfan Mountain, Taf Fechan Reservoir, Brecon Beacons, Merthyr Tydfil, Wales

Trees and snow covered hills reflected in reservoir, Penyfan Mountain, Taf Fechan Reservoir, Brecon Beacons, Merthyr Tydfil, Wales

Pen Y Fan, Wales: There are various routes including the ‘lungbuster’ - the SAS favourite. This is a slightly less challenging circuit but still expect a strenuous walk

Pen Y Fan, Wales: There are various routes including the ‘lungbuster’ – the SAS favourite. This is a slightly less challenging circuit but still expect a strenuous walk

The Beacons feel unlike any other hills in the UK thanks to their unique plateaued summits and Pen y Fan is the highest peak in South Wales. There are various routes including the ‘lungbuster’ – the SAS favourite. This is a slightly less challenging circuit but still expect a strenuous walk.

12. Linn of Dee to Ben Macdui, Scotland 

Ben MacDui is Britain’s second highest peak and unlike Ben Nevis, is situated in a vast wilderness

Ben MacDui is Britain’s second highest peak and unlike Ben Nevis, is situated in a vast wilderness

Linn of Dee to Ben Macdui, Scotland: There are plenty of easy routes around the estate but, those wanting a real challenge lace up and head for the summit of Ben MacDui

Linn of Dee to Ben Macdui, Scotland: There are plenty of easy routes around the estate but, those wanting a real challenge lace up and head for the summit of Ben MacDui

Ben MacDui is Britain’s second highest peak and unlike Ben Nevis, is situated in a vast wilderness. A good walk starts from the Linn of Dee. There are plenty of easy routes around the estate but, those wanting a real challenge lace up and head for the summit of Ben MacDui.  

13. South Downs Way, South-East

The South Downs Way follows the old drovers paths along the high ground of the Downs between Winchester and Eastbourne

The South Downs Way follows the old drovers paths along the high ground of the Downs between Winchester and Eastbourne

South Downs Way: Highlights include The Seven Sisters, Beachy Head, Devil's Dyke, Jack and Jill Windmills, Ditchling Beacon and Chanctonbury Ring

South Downs Way: Highlights include The Seven Sisters, Beachy Head, Devil’s Dyke, Jack and Jill Windmills, Ditchling Beacon and Chanctonbury Ring

The South Downs Way follows the old drovers paths along the high ground of the Downs between Winchester and Eastbourne. One hundred miles long, it is accessible along its length, with no stiles to clamber over. Highlights include The Seven Sisters, Beachy Head, Devil’s Dyke, Jack and Jill Windmills, Ditchling Beacon and Chanctonbury Ring.

14. West Highland Way, Scotland

Hugely popular, the epic West Highland Way walk can be done as a whole or just tackled in sections.

Hugely popular, the epic West Highland Way walk can be done as a whole or just tackled in sections.

West Highland Way, Scotland: The first officially designated Long Distance Footpath in Scotland, this trail runs from Milngavie, just outside Glasgow, to Fort William 

West Highland Way, Scotland: The first officially designated Long Distance Footpath in Scotland, this trail runs from Milngavie, just outside Glasgow, to Fort William 

The first officially designated Long Distance Footpath in Scotland, this trail runs from Milngavie, just outside Glasgow, to Fort William taking in some of Scotland’s best loved landscapes: Loch Lomond, Ben Lomond, Rannoch Moor, Buachaille Etive Mor, Glencoe, and Glen Nevis. Hugely popular, it can be done as a whole or just tackled in sections.

15. Ben Nevis, Scotland 

Affectionately known as ‘The Ben’, this is the highest mountain in the British Isles. Pictured: Ben Nevis 

Affectionately known as ‘The Ben’, this is the highest mountain in the British Isles. Pictured: Ben Nevis 

Ben Nevis, Scotland: This ascent takes you to the summit via the well-made Mountain Track (Pony Track)

Ben Nevis, Scotland: This ascent takes you to the summit via the well-made Mountain Track (Pony Track)

Affectionately known as ‘The Ben’, this is the highest mountain in the British Isles. This ascent takes you to the summit via the well-made Mountain Track (Pony Track) but people with serious mountain skills may consider the very challenging Carn Mor Dearg Arete route.

17. Whitby to Robin Hood’s Bay, Yorkshire

Walk from the picturesque seaside town of Whitby and the dramatic gothic abbey to the old smuggler’s haunt of Robin Hood’s Bay

Walk from the picturesque seaside town of Whitby and the dramatic gothic abbey to the old smuggler’s haunt of Robin Hood’s Bay

Starting off from North Yorkshire Gem of Whitby, meander your way down the coast to the old smuggler's haunt of Robin Hood's Bay 

Starting off from North Yorkshire Gem of Whitby, meander your way down the coast to the old smuggler’s haunt of Robin Hood’s Bay 

Walk from the picturesque seaside town of Whitby and the dramatic gothic abbey to the old smuggler’s haunt of Robin Hood’s Bay.

18. Hadrian’s Wall, Borders 

A Unesco World Heritage Site, Hadrian’s Wall was the North West frontier of the Roman Empire. The wall itself stretches for 84 miles and forms part of the Pennine Way

A Unesco World Heritage Site, Hadrian’s Wall was the North West frontier of the Roman Empire. The wall itself stretches for 84 miles and forms part of the Pennine Way

Hadrian's Wall; This walk follows the wall along a 3 mile section from Housesteads Roman fort to Steel Rigg and offers some fantastic views

Hadrian’s Wall; This walk follows the wall along a 3 mile section from Housesteads Roman fort to Steel Rigg and offers some fantastic views

A Unesco World Heritage Site, Hadrian’s Wall was the North West frontier of the Roman Empire. The wall itself stretches for 84 miles and forms part of the Pennine Way. This walk follows the wall along a 3 mile section from Housesteads Roman fort to Steel Rigg and offers some fantastic views. 

19. Old Harry Rocks, Dorset 

Old Harry Rocks chalk stacks are an example of the British coastline at its best

Old Harry Rocks chalk stacks are an example of the British coastline at its best

Old Harry Rocks, Dorset: One of the most famous landmarks on the Jurassic Coast

Old Harry Rocks, Dorset: One of the most famous landmarks on the Jurassic Coast

A great coastal walk to one of the most famous landmarks on the Jurassic Coast – the Old Harry Rocks chalk stacks on Studland. An example of the British coastline at its best.

20. Lizard Peninsula, Cornwall 

This a ramble which takes a loop around the most southerly point of mainland Britain, the Lizard Peninsular

This a ramble which takes a loop around the most southerly point of mainland Britain, the Lizard Peninsular

Lizard Peninsular features dramatic coastal scenery, fascinating history and sandy beaches

Lizard Peninsular features dramatic coastal scenery, fascinating history and sandy beaches

This a ramble which takes a loop around the most southerly point of mainland Britain, the Lizard Peninsular. It features dramatic coastal scenery, fascinating history and sandy beaches.  

Click here for a complete list of Britain’s Top 100 Favourite Walks. 

 



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