National parks in Wales: which one is right for you?

Llyn Fan y Fach is a 20,000 year-old glacial lakeAndreac77/Shutterstock

When it comes to Britain’s breathing spaces, the national parks in Wales compete with the best of them. Here, we explain why

Surrounded by sea on three sides, Wales is a dream destination for outdoor enthusiasts. While not as rugged as Scotland, or romantically perceived like Ireland, deepest Wales is just as beguiling. 

Lonely corners abound on dramatic mountain passes, deep river valleys and weather-lashed cliffs. Scattered seamlessly across the natural landscape are Iron Age hill forts, Roman ruins and over 600 castles – more per capita, it’s said, than any other country in the world. 

100 greatest hikes in the Lake District National Park

best hikes in the Lake District National Park lead WindermereDaniel_Kay/Shutterstock

From the shores of England’s deepest lake to the summit of its highest peak, we share the greatest hikes in the Lake District National Park

England’s Lake District is home to some of the nation’s most picturesque panoramas. The park’s craggy ridges, hidden tarns and glistening lakes have enticed walkers ever since the first ‘Lake Poets’ of Wordsworth and Coleridge put pen to paper in the 19th century.

10 best hikes in New Forest National Park

best hikes in New Forest national park lead imageCopyright (c) 2020 Nick Brundle Photography/Shutterstock. No use without permission.

The best hikes in New Forest National Park reveal a quintessential slice of English countryside

Despite its name, the New Forest is neither new nor much of a forest. The region was first declared a royal hunting preserve in 1079 by William the Conqueror and the landscape is more heathland (the most extensive area remaining in Europe) than contiguous woodland. The word ‘forest’ actually descends from Old French for ‘hunting ground’.

Q&A: Climbing every mountain in the Yorkshire Dales

Descending Calf Top after climbing every mountain in the Yorkshire Dales

Between lockdowns, I wrapped up a challenge that started nearly two years ago: climbing every mountain in the Yorkshire Dales National Park

Just over a year ago, I was stood atop Aconcagua, the highest mountain in South America and the highest outside of Asia. It was my third – arguably fourth – peak of the seven summits. As I descended the scree slopes, I was in high spirits and full of optimism for the year ahead.

England’s 100 most popular hiking trails

Buttermere Fell is home to some of the most popular hiking trails in EnglandAndy Sykes/Shutterstock

From the South Downs to Hadrian’s Wall, we explore England’s most popular hiking trails

Whether you’re an experienced hiker in need of fresh ideas or a first-timer hoping to get outdoors more, our list of England’s most popular hiking trails offers a wealth of options.

Top three hiking trails in every US state according to hikers

best hiking trails in every US state

We share the three best hiking trails in every US state, according to America’s most popular hiking app

The US knows how to do wilderness. Wedged between the two great oceans of the world, it is home to practically every landscape under the sun. Beaches, lakes, mountains, rainforest, deserts, canyons and glaciers all rise and fall across this continent-sized country. And thanks to the outstanding National Park Service, huge swathes of it are readily accessible.

12 best hikes in the North York Moors National Park

Roseberry Topping is one of the best hikes in the North York Moors National ParkLukasz Pajor/Shutterstock

The best hikes in the North York Moors National Park are a wonderful way to explore the region’s rich and vibrant landscapes

The North York Moors might be England’s most diverse national park. Home to striking stretches of unspoilt coast and the largest area of heather moorland in England and Wales, the North York Moors is one of the country’s foremost hiking destinations.

12 best hikes in the Peak District National Park

the Dragon’s Back is one of best hikes in the Peak DistrictDaniel_Kay/Shutterstock

The best hikes in the Peak District National Park showcase some of England’s finest and most accessible hillwalking countryside

When we made our move to the country, we very nearly ended up in the Peak District. It was a toss-up between there and the Yorkshire Dales, but in the end, the pull of the Dales was just a touch too strong.

The Peak District, however, came a very close second. Wedged between the northern cities of Manchester and Sheffield, the Peak District National Park may well be England’s most accessible wilderness.

12 best hikes in Northumberland National Park

Hadrian's Wall Path and the best hikes in Northumberland National Park lead imageDave Head/shutterstock

The best hikes in Northumberland National Park reveal an underappreciated but utterly delightful expanse of English countryside

Amid the ancient rolling hills between the Scottish border and England’s industrial northeast, you will find Northumberland National Park. England’s most northerly national park is also the least visited in Britain and the least populated in England and Wales with just over 2,000 residents.

12 best hikes in the Yorkshire Dales National Park

Gunnerside is one of the best hikes in the Yorkshire Dales National ParkAtlas & Boots

The best hikes in the Yorkshire Dales National Park criss-cross one of England’s finest beauty spots

In the 18 months since our move to the market town of Richmond in North Yorkshire, we’ve spent much of our free time exploring the national park that sits on our doorstep. Whether discovering the best views or climbing the highest mountains, we’ve fallen utterly in love with the landscape of the Dales.

Star struck: exploring the world’s Dark Sky Reserves

Stars shine over the South DownsDreamstime

International Dark Sky Reserves are protected areas that offer exceptionally starry nights. We review the 16 places that hold this hallowed status

They sound like something out of Star Trek, these ‘Dark Sky Reserves’ – like they may have been conjured one evening in a lively LA writers room. Unlike the ‘Delta Quadrant’ or ‘Delphic Expanse’, however, International Dark Sky Reserves actually exist.

10 best hikes in Dartmoor National Park

The view from the summit of Sheeps Tor best hikes in Dartmoor National Parkmarcin jucha/Shutterstock

The best hikes in Dartmoor National Park showcase the very finest of England’s wildest landscape

I’ve always been fond of Dartmoor. I first visited as a child on a family holiday and I’ve returned regularly ever since to scope out the best Dartmoor hikes. Famous for its wild ponies, open moorland and craggy granite tors (free-standing rocky outcrops that rise abruptly from the surroundings), it is one of the few genuinely wild places left in England.

Highest mountains in the Yorkshire Dales

Approaching Pen-Y-GhentPete Stuart/Shutterstock

The highest mountains in the Yorkshire Dales are home to some of England’s finest and wildest scenery, all of it ripe for hiking

Covering 2,179km2 of countryside, Yorkshire Dales National Park showcases some of England’s best outdoor landscapes. The park’s glacial valleys are defined by a unique terrain of high heather moorland, rolling hills and dramatic waterfalls, all criss-crossed with miles of dry stonewalls and delightful villages.

In photos: the best views in the Yorkshire Dales

Malham Cove is one of best views in the Yorkshire DalesAtlas & Boots

We’ve put together a selection of the best views in Yorkshire Dales National Park, home to some of England’s prettiest landscapes

Having just moved to the area and started our exploration of the Yorkshire Dales in earnest, we thought it appropriate to share some of the wider scenery the Dales have to offer.

Yorkshire Dales National Park (YDNP) was designated in 1954 and extended by 24% in 2016 to cover 2,178 km2 in total. YDNP is famed for having some of the finest limestone landscapes in the UK with crags, pavements and caves set amid an expansive heather moorland of rolling hills and dramatic waterfalls, all criss-crossed with miles of dry stonewalls and picturesque villages.

Hiking Great Shunner Fell: my first ‘Dales 30’

Hiking Great Shunner Fell was my first of the Dales 30, the highest peaks in the Yorkshire Dales. One down, 29 to go…

As many of you will know, Kia and I recently moved to the country. It’s taken me eight years, but I’ve finally convinced Kia that life is better away from the busy south. As such, we’ve moved to the small and charming market town of Richmond on the edge of Yorkshire Dales National Park.

As well as enjoying the delights of Richmond, the best thing for me about our move is having easy access to the countryside, right on our doorstop. It takes five minutes to drive into the national park, one of Britain’s 15 breathing spaces, while at the end of our street is a walking trail along the River Swale that gets us into the park in just 15 minutes.

The ups and downs of our move to the country

Richmond North yorkshire

After three decades in London, would a move to the country prove horribly wrong? We share the ups and downs of our time in the Dales

We’ve finally settled down. After four years on the road interspersed by stretches in a tiny French village, we’re back in Britain permanently – well, kind of. We have trips to Namibia, South Africa and possibly Costa Rica planned for Nov-Dec and more next year, but we also have a permanent home.

Wild continent: the best National Parks in Europe

Best-National-Parks-in-Europe-icelandDreamstime

The best national parks in Europe are home to the wildest scenery and most thrilling outdoor pursuits the continent has to offer

Europe’s finest wilderness has quite rightly been enshrined and protected in its national parks. Great glaciers, soaring mountains and primeval forests stretch across Europe’s 50 sovereign states. We take a look at the wildest and best national parks in Europe.