Best Hiking Trails in Britain

The greats of history have long championed the benefits of walking, and walking might just be the best way to discover Britain. Many of the country’s finest attractions are best discovered by hiking, which makes the UK a treasure trove of natural beauty and history. 

The weather in the country might not always seem ideal, but walking to an incredible view amidst the wind never fails to amaze tourists. Plan accordingly, and you’ll enjoy an incredible experience regardless of the weather.

It is hard to find a bad hiking route in the UK, but there is something about this collection that is so inviting. Could these be the best hikes in the UK? Possibly. Let’s find out more about them!

West Highland Way

Discover one of the many Scottish mega-landscapes between Glasgow and Fort William. In addition to Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park, the West Highland Way leads through lowlands covered with heather and glassy lochs, as well as steep mountain trails. It’s certainly not easy to complete the entire route; however, if you’re not fazed, you finish right at the foot of Ben Nevis.

Coast to Coast Walk

Long-distance hikers can follow this route from the Irish Sea at St Bee’s in Cumbria through the North Sea as it rolls into Robin Hood’s Bay in Yorkshire. It’s not one of the UK’s official trails, but it’s a popular one. It follows footpaths in three National Parks: the Lakes, the Yorkshire Dales, and the North York Moors. Originally published in the 1970s, it was created by writer Alfred Wainwright. 

Cotswold Way

What to do with all that gear? Hiking The Cotswold Way will keep you from steep peaks and keep you from missing out on picturesque stops. The route features a number of historic sites and rolling valleys before connecting with Chipping Campden, a bougie town in Wiltshire. The route can be done in 11 days, but it’s a great one for a slow stroll in the afternoon if that’s more your thing.

Pennine Way

There is only one wild and remote path that connects northern England with the Scottish borders – the Pennine Way. Though it might not be easy on your calves, your eyeballs will certainly appreciate the hilly route. It offers breathtaking vistas along the way, crossing the Yorkshire Dales, the Peak District, and Hadrian’s Wall.

The Ridgeway

British travellers and traders have used this trail over high ground, known as Britain’s ‘oldest road’, since prehistoric times. Nonetheless, it is a wonderful walk, offering panoramic views of the North Wessex Downs and Chiltern Hills. In Goring, you can kick off your shoes at Avebury’s Neolithic stone circle and relax a few days later beside the Thames.

Top 10 Benefits of Spending Time in Nature

Enjoying the fresh air, the sunlight on one’s skin and bare feet in the sand can bring us so many small pleasures, invigorating us and restoring our energy. There are lots of benefits to spending time outdoors, some of which you might find surprising. Whether you’re relaxing in your backyard garden with a refreshing iced tea or going on an exciting white water rafting trip, being outside has lots of benefits.

It Affects Mood Positively

There is a range of outdoor activities suited to all fitness levels and preferences. Whether it’s going swimming in the sea, walking the dog, or mountain biking, finding outdoor activities that you enjoy boosts your mood and makes you feel better. Time in nature also helps you to relax and think clearly.

Relieves Stress

Stress can be reduced by disconnecting from screens and spending some time outdoors. The simple act of going outside for five minutes each day can have a calming effect on our brains. A walk, hike, or other outdoor activity will get your blood flowing. It is yet another way to reduce stress.

It Improves Short Term Memory

How could you have ever thought that spending a little time in nature would improve your memory? Researchers from the University of Michigan found that students who went on regular nature walks retained information much better. So, if you want to boost your short term memory, go hiking or stroll in the nearest park.

Defends Against Inflammation

The body can become inflamed for a variety of reasons, such as depression, cancer, or autoimmune diseases. Research has demonstrated that walking in the woods a little each week reduced inflammation in the body. Thus, if you want to help your body fight the inflammations, spend a little more time in nature.

Boosts Vitamin D

Certainly, too much sun can damage the skin and contribute to the creation of cancer cells. According to studies, being exposed to sunshine for between 15 and 20 minutes a day will allow the body to absorb vitamin D, which strengthens bones and reduces the risk of cancer, diabetes, and multiple sclerosis.

Improves Sleep Quality

Our bodies can better regulate sleep patterns when we spend time in natural light. After the sun sets, our brains release the appropriate amount of melatonin to enable us to sleep well. Researchers have discovered that a week spent camping in winter resets the body’s “clock” to be in harmony with nature’s light and dark cycles.

Boosts the Immune System

Outdoor activities and exposure to sunlight can boost the immune system, according to research. Stay healthy by taking a short walk outside or enjoying a bit of time outdoors. Maintaining a moderate to brisk activity level for at least 30 minutes can help your immune system fight viruses and bacteria.

It Is Good for Your Vision

Eyesight can be damaged by staring at screens for long periods of time. We benefit from taking a break from staring at computers, televisions, or smartphones when we are outside. A study by Australian scientists even found that children who spend time outdoors are less likely to develop myopia in old age.

Creativity is Encouraged

A rainbow of colours can be seen in nature, from orange sunsets to seafoam green waters and rose-coloured gardens. Spending time outdoors offers the opportunity to be inspired by the amazing sights, sounds, and smells of nature.

Increases Spiritual Awareness

Walking in a park on your own provides an opportunity to clear your mind and can even be regarded as a form of meditation. When we spend time in nature, we are able to breathe in the fresh air, listen, feel, and live in the moment. Often, nature reveals meaningful metaphors that can assist us in connecting with our spirituality.

4 Best Books on Mushroom Foraging

Mushrooms are not too demanding when it comes to growing conditions, and there are thousands of different mushroom species out there. Meaning, it’s not too difficult to find mushrooms in the wilderness, but it’s difficult to know which mushrooms are edible. Knowing this information can come in handy in multiple scenarios. Who knows, maybe you will find yourself in the wilderness foraging for food, or you might want to know what some delicious mushrooms look like in order to prepare a better meal. So, let’s see some of the best books that you can use to gather edible mushrooms. 

Mushrooms: A Comprehensive Guide to Mushroom Identification

This is a guide written by Roger Phillips and it basically serves as an encyclopedia for fungi identification. The images that are featured in this book are amazing and you will learn a lot simply by looking at them. It’s not a book for beginners though, as it seems to be aimed at intermediate or advanced mushroom foragers. The style is academic and there is a lot of technical data included. 

Edible Mushrooms: A Forager’s Guide to the Wild Fungi of Britain and Europe

This guide is a better fit for someone who is looking to become a mushroom forager. It is written by Geoff Dann and it is a big book with over 500 pages, filled with useful information on different fungi. You will learn how to identify them based on appearance, smell, taste, and the places they grow. You will also learn about the type of equipment that you will need to get started, but as the title suggests it only covers specifics that can be found in Europe. 

Collins Complete Guide to British Mushrooms and Toadstools

This is a pocket guide, so it will be more convenient for you to carry it around. It is written by Paul Sterry and Barry Hughes, and it focuses on fungi you can find in Ireland and the UK. It’s a perfect fit for both intermediary mycologists and casual or amateur mushroom lovers. So, if you are looking for a neat and useful field guide you cannot go wrong with this one, so long as you are in the UK.  

Complete Mushroom Book, The Quiet Hunt

An ideal pick for those who are foraging because they love to cook. This guide is written by Antonio Carluccio and the first part of the book contains illustrations and explanations on how to identify mushrooms in the field. The second part of the book contains recipes or cookery ideas that can inspire you to create lots of different meals, using the mushrooms that you can find. You can see just how passionate the author is when it comes to mushrooms, and you will likely be inspired to become a forager yourself. 

These were some of our top suggestions for books on mushroom foraging. Hopefully, you found these descriptions useful, and we helped you decide which book to get. 

How to Choose the Best Hiking Shoes

There’s a thin line between enjoying a hike and turning it into a hellish experience. A simple mistake of picking the wrong pair of hiking shoes or hiking boots can quickly lead to a painful memory. Luckily, a little bit of research goes a long way. Here’s how to find the best hiking shoes for your next adventure.

Understand Essential Differences

Before making any decisions, understand the fundamental differences between various hiking shoes and boots. It all starts with the types of boots that are available on the market. Each of them has a specific use.

  • Light hiking shoes – If you need lightweight footwear, these should be your pick. They are great for soft terrain and dry weather. They are equally comfortable for short and long tracks. But if you’re planning to go on different terrain, you’ll need something more durable.
  • Mountaineering boots – Rocky trails are typical in the hiking world. As you might imagine, you’ll need more robust shoes to help you endure rocky surfaces. Besides being more durable, these boots are warmer too, which is helpful for snow-covered paths.
  • Backpacking boots – These are the perfect pick for professionals, as they are incredibly durable and will get you through any type of terrain. Backpacking boots are for advanced hikers who enjoy being on the road for several days.

Before you head out to your first hike, learn more about the terrain. You can do it easily with one of the popular hiking apps containing details of thousands of paths.

Figure Out What Material You Need

When you’re looking for the best hiking shoes, pick a material that suits your needs.

  • Synthetics – If you’re looking for a water-resistant material, you should steer away from synthetics. However, shoes with polyester or nylon dry faster and are light to wear. They’re suitable for shorter day treks under clear weather.
  • Split-grain leather – These shoes are a mix of synthetics and leather. They’re more durable than synthetics. However, they’re still not the best pick for rainy weather.
  • Full-grain leather – Are you planning to go on demanding hikes, and do you want outstanding protection and durability? Full-grain leather is the way to go. Do some conditioning though, you’ll need it because the material is heavy.

It all comes down to the type of trail and weather conditions. If you’re planning to become an advanced hiker, it’s best to equip yourself with different shoes with these materials.

Pick a Cut That Works For You

Deciding which cut to use is an individual choice. For example, if the wearer experienced any kind of ankle injury in the past, they’ll find high cut the best option. Other options are low and mid-cut. Low-cut is the lightest, whereas mid-cut provides better ankle support.

The Most Useful Apps for Hikers

Hiking is a fun hobby for millions of enthusiasts around the world. It’s a perfect group activity, but many hikers go on their exploration journeys on their own. The experience of walking through nature with lungs full of oxygen is as close to liberty and peace as one can imagine.

Naturally, as time passes, hikers need more challenging trails that provide them with more exploration opportunities. Installing a hiking app can help passionate hikers find their next trail. With a vast database, there are a plethora of options available on the map.

Given how popular the hobby is, there’s a big selection of hiking apps for Android and iOS operating systems. Here are a couple of apps you’ll find helpful as a hiker.

AllTrails

AllTrails has a massive selection of trails maps. It’s the perfect partner for both novice and expert hikers as it allows its users to access maps with a couple of taps. More importantly, each trail map provides additional details, such as the trail length and difficulty. The social aspect also makes the app appealing, as you can add friends and follow each other’s hiking activities. The included trail reviews are the perfect depictions of the trails, helping hikers experience the trail before they venture it.

The app is available on iOS and Android, and there’s a free and paid version. If you want to access all the features, it’ll set you back $29.99 per year.

Spyglass

Spyglass offers unique features that ease the hiker’s navigation. While it’s available on Android and iOS, unlike many other apps, it’s not free. You’ll have to spend $5.99 to install it. However, it’s a one-time fee, and you’ll get lifetime access to the app. It’s more than worth it, as the app includes useful features that turn your phone into binoculars, star finder, altimeter, GPS receiver, and speedometer, among other things.

Having access to all this data is beneficial for active hikers, and this app should be on their phones.

The Hiking Project

The Hiking Project is the biggest community of people centered around hiking. The app is entirely free, and all of the information in the app is added by hikers. Furthermore, they also add relevant details about the trail, including reviews and things such as how much food and water supplies you’ll need.

If you want to join a global community of passionate hikers, installing this app is a must. Aside from offering plenty of features, the best part is that the app is free and that you can add your content for other hikers to enjoy.

PeakFinder

If you’re looking for a way to explore the trail in a completely different way, PeakFinder will allow you to do so. The app comes with a rich database exceeding 650,000 peaks. No matter where you are, all you have to do is point your camera towards the landscape you’re looking at, and you’ll see the labels of peaks in focus. The app is available on iOS and Android and is only $4.99.