Location Guide: The East Midlands - a walker's paradise
The East Midlands is full of vast open spaces, ideal for exploration. Here are a few of our recommended places for walking.
The Peak District
The Peak District offers so many routes, for every level of walker, from leisurely strolls around pretty towns to challenging open countryside hikes. There are four visitor centres across the Peak District National Park, and these are the best bases for details and information on the walks available. You can find them at Bakewell, Castleton, Edale and Fairholmes. The centres have a selection of maps, books and guides at your disposal and these will prove a worthwhile investment if you’re going to be spending a lot of time in the area.
If you’d rather have an experienced guide to take you on an adventurous amble, then consider Peak Walking Adventures, which offers guided walks all year round. You can choose from half-day and day group walks, plus personal walking guides. We’ve walked the Great Ridge at Hope and Kinder Scout at night with Peak Walking Adventures and had a fab time. The views were stunning and our guide was informative.
Few places in the UK provide a limestone landscape as marvellous as Dovedale, with its crystal-clear trout stream, dizzying rock outcrops and secret caves. This is the shining jewel of the region known as the White Peak. Walks here can be as gentle or as intrepid as you like. You can take a leisurely circular route from the car park along the river, cross the famous stepping stones and return back down the other side. For further exercise, a quick scramble up Thorpe Cloud provides exhilarating views. Those wanting a longer walk can carry on alongside the river for many miles before returning back to the car park.
Rutland Water Hambleton Peninsula Walk
There are many options for walking routes at Rutland Water, a man-made reservoir between Stamford in Lincolnshire and Oakham in Rutland. In fact, you can walk the entire 25-mile circumference of the reservoir, but the circular route around a peninsula jutting out into the water is much more manageable, at around five miles. It offers splendid views of lake and landscape.
It starts at St Andrew’s Church in the centre of Hambleton village. Pass the Finch’s Arms pub on the Oakham road. After around 250 yards, follow the signs and take the path on the right, between hedgerows heading downhill. At the end of the path, cross a sheep pasture then follow the track alongside the water until you reach Armley Wood. Follow the path through the woods, then rejoin the track, winding its way along the southern shore of the peninsula. Pass through Hambleton Wood then follow the lane along the shore past the Old Hall on the water’s edge. You’ll pass a few properties before finding yourself on a gently rising path that takes you into the village and back to the church.
Images (L-R): Dovedale (Image: VisitEngland/Visit Peak District), The Great Ridge (Image: Cath Lee, Peak Walking Adventures)
Walk in the footsteps of the legend of Robin Hood… Starting from the visitor centre there is a variety of trails to suit all energy levels. You can collect a free trail guide from the visitor centre; all routes are marked throughout the forest. Some of the popular trails include the Major Oak Trail; it takes you to the iconic oak that Robin Hood used as a hiding place, and the Wildwood Trail that leads through heathland and wood pasture. There are so many routes to choose from that you should never get bored. There’s a host of wildlife to look out for and hundreds of oaks that have been here for more than 500 years.
A beautiful expanse of parkland, heath and woods managed by the National Trust. Clumber was once a country estate belonging to the Dukes of Newcastle. The house was demolished in 1938 but there are glimpses of its grand past to be found in the grounds still. There’s a Gothic-style chapel, Walled Kitchen Garden and Ornamental Bridge. There are walking and cycling routes around the estate which features an abundance of flowers and over 120 different types of tree, including the memorable two-mile avenue of limes that forms the main approach.
Want to read more?
For more articles to provide you with inspiration for the location of your park home or holiday home get the latest issue of Park and Holiday Home Inspiration magazine, available in both print and digital format. If it's campsites you're after, for a break away, there's our Campsite Finder guide available as a digital download.