The British countryside is a varied landscape, with mountains, woods, moors and rivers making it a wonderful place to explore. There is wildlife to spot, gamebirds to hunt and tranquillity you will only find away from towns and cities. There are lots of ways to explore the countryside that will give you a better appreciation of the area around you. Read on to find out and see which one best suits you!
Walking or Hiking
Britain boasts many great walking and hiking routes around the coast and countryside, and it is one of the most popular activities for people living close or in the countryside. It is easy to see why, as there is an almost indescribable joy from following the footsteps of hundreds or thousands of people, listening to the natural sounds of birds and animals, and partaking in a healthy activity. You can find walking routes to suit any ability, from easy strolls along quiet country lanes to hikes up mountains. The best thing about walking in the countryside is you can take detours to explore further, finding hidden gems you wouldn’t expect to on the main pathways.
If you want to explore the countryside in a more physical way, cycling is a great option. There are National Cycle Network routes in all around the UK, and there are a lot of sections which are traffic free, though the majority tend to follow quiet roads. Much of the network is on easy to moderate paths, making them suitable for all ages and abilities. The routes follow a numbering system, with numbers starting 1 to 6 located in England, 7 in northern England and Scotland, 8 in Wales and 9 in Northern Ireland. The routes are also signposted with a white bicycle on a blue background, making them easy to follow if you are not following a map. For people who do enjoy cycling in the countryside, taking a picnic or stopping for lunch at a country pub is a lovely way to break up a long cycle ride.
Though walking is a great way to get out into the countryside, horse riding is a great option if you’re not interested in all the leg work. Finding riding schools and centres near you is easy, and many of them cater to all ages, which is great for adults who are looking to try a new hobby. After getting to grips with the basics of riding, you will be able to take horses out by yourself, and there many fantastic places in the countryside suitable for horses. Often the best places are around National Parks such as the Peak District, Lake District, North York Moors and Dartmoor, as there will be fewer cars to come across.
A gentle way to explore the countryside that requires very little exercise is by narrowboat. Britain has 3000 miles of waterway systems, many of which are perfectly suited to narrowboat cruising. Many places around the country hire out narrowboats for the day or weekend, and they are easy to handle with a little practice. The best trick is to not oversteer, as narrowboats are slow to respond to rudder movements, and be mindful of other boats on the water. Travelling around the countryside gives you the chance to see water-dwelling wildlife and see a side to the local area you don’t often see.
If you are heading out on a day or weekend trip to explore the countryside, be sure you have quality men’ and ladies’ country clothing and other equipment ready, so you are warm and comfortable wherever you go!