As new year approaches and we move into 2019, why not get out and about into the bracing weather and experience some of the exceptional walks the UK has to offer, ranging from scenic countryside ambles to strolling round a picturesque town. Stop off at a pub to refuel along the way, or perhaps check into a cosy hotel or B&B for the night before picking up another track the following day. We've included some of our favourites...
This route feels wild and excitingly exposed in winter, and takes you through a north Kent nature reserve that forms a temporary home to thousands of migratory birds. Follow the path all the way to Faversham, or turn back and settle in for lunch at the very desirable Sportsman pub (though you will need to have booked this well in advance). For places to stay nearby, take a look here.
Arguably the best short walk in the Yorkshire Dales, this one follows a circular trail via the thundering Thornton Force waterfall as well as passing a host of other falls along the way. It's pretty accessible too, with a cafe and car park. Take a look here at our Dales guide.
Sussex resident Kat Bendix says there's a wonderful 4.5-mile walk from the South Downs village of Burpham, taking the path from the village hall (just behind the George and Dragon) and along the winding river Arun, past fields that are cultivated to attract wildlife then up on to the Downs for spectacular views of Arundel castle. Get back to the pub with a healthy appetite and stop in for a bite and a pint. For places to stay around the Downs, look here.
One of Martin Dunford's favourite winter walks is to strike out across the fields from Horsey Windpump to the Norfolk coast, where December sees the arrival of hundreds of seal pups at Horsey's beach. Stroll the dunes then head back via the excellent Nelson Head pub, to warm up with local Woodforde's ales and some great home-cooked food. See our Norfolk guide for great places to stay in the county.
An all-time fave New Year walk by our Peak District author Amanda Wragg involves tramping 6 miles through some of the most unspoilt and overlooked parts of the stunning national park. The best bit? Ending up at the Red Lion pub afterwards: roaring fires, local ales and British pub grub doesn't come much better than this. Take a look here for places to stay in the Peak District.
Bristol author Laura Dixon recommends the walk to Ashton Court Deer Farm, but from the art college – not the main entrance. At the steep hill there's a whole paddock of red deer; following the path up and round the main yellow building leads to the lawn walk, surrounded by pretty rose gardens and another park full of fallow deer. Check out our Bristol guide here.
There's no better place to start 2019 according to Yorkshire-based author Jules Brown than on the magnificent Cleveland Way, most of which lies within the North York Moors National Park, and it's a pretty easy trail to take in bite-sized sections – Whitby to Robin Hood's Bay, for example (6 miles), or up to the majestic viewpoint of Roseberry Topping from near Great Ayton. For nearby places to stay click here.
Author James Stewart's tip on escaping the Cambridge New Year high jinks is to take the pleasant stroll up the River Cam out of the city towards the idyllic frosty meadows nearby, ending up in the charming village of Grantchester – previous residence of war poet Rupert Brooke. Grab a beer in one of the snug local pubs and soak up the history. See accommodation options here.
Set out on a lovely 9-mile walk inland from Bigbury in south Devon, across the fields to the village of Kingston (be sure to stop off at the excellent Dolphin Inn) and then down to pick up the coastal path back to Bigbury. Click here for places to stay in and around the locality.
Many reckon this route in south Cornwall to be one of the best short walks in the country, and who are we to argue? It takes visitors high aloft the estuary above Fowey, and delivers magnificent views along its 4-mile length. It also takes in an excellent pit stop in the Old Ferry Inn in Boddinick. Take a look here for places to lay your head.
Easily accessed from the pretty Norman village of Newport in Wales, it's worth a hike up the relatively modest heights of Carn Ingli for the magnificent views from the summit, which take in much of the coast of north Pembrokeshire and on a clear day all of Cardigan Bay as far north as the hills of Snowdonia. Click here for our guide.
It's a small loch by Scottish standards, but that's what makes walk around this wee Scottish gem so appealing, with trails running all the way around its diminutive circumference. Plus it's dead easy to get to as well, just north of Callender, and just a short drive from Stirling and Glasgow. Take a look at our guide here.