There are so many English Long Distance Footpaths that we can barely scratch the surface. Here’s a selection of the wilder or more challenging routes, or as in the Pennine Bridleway – something altogether unique! A single brief article like this isn’t going to cover the lot – if you feel strongly about your own local path, then get writing and we’ll publish the best ones! The strangest thing about all these routes is how the distances are only given in miles, so in that vein we will provide them in kilometres only!
1 – Pennine Way 429km (16 days)
The first and classic English LDP that crosses the spine of the country, the brainchild of Tom Stephenson who was inspired by the long distance paths in the States. Whilst he proposed it in 1935, it wasn’t opened until 1965! Starting from Edale you’re straight onto Kinder Scout, the dark bogs are a constant companion from this point onwards. Almost compulsory on any seasoned long distance walker’s CV, with an estimated 12,000 through walkers annually.
2 – Coast to Coast 354km (14 days)
Voted the world’s second best walk in 2004, though surely such a vote is absurd in the first place and in the vein of ‘best chippy in xxx’. Nevertheless this is a popular route and even if the award sounds mickey mouse, the walk certainly isn’t. You’ll pass through the Lakes, Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors on this continually changing journey.
By the way, there’s no information on the website above and you’ll need to buy the guidebook for information.
3 – Hadrian’s Wall 135km (7 Days)
Following the well preserved wall built by the Emperor Hadrian from AD122 onwards , or rather some poor souls who he sent north, in order to keep the marauding northern clans at bay. This is a route for the historian and walker alike, and makes the perfect route if like most people you struggle to get more than a week off from work and family commitments.
4 – Pennine Bridleway 329km (depends how far you cycle in a day)
The only route that specifically caters for mountain bikers, horse riders and walkers alike. The whole route has only just been officially opened on the 12th of June 2012, so it still has that new bike smell. Visit this page and you can download free printable Harvey’s maps for the entire route.
5 – South West coast Path 1014KM (about 50 days!)
This one’s an absolute moster! The longest official path in England, second only to the Welsh Coastal Path. Despite that, the SW Path has been long established as one path, unlike the Welsh path which is undergoing continual improvements in some places. Don’t think it’s easy walking either as a day on this path can easily see you climbing the height of Snowdon and more.
There are also countless local routes such as the Viking Way in Lincolnshire so you’ve got plenty to choose from.