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Five great British family walks

You don’t have to scale a mountain or trek for miles to enjoy a good walk, just getting out for an hour or so on a walk with the family is great for your wellbeing. 

May is National Walking Month, and we have pulled together a selection of lovely, not-too-demanding walks from different parts of the country. 


Box Hill stepping stones, Surrey 

Distance: Two miles 

Parking: Yes, paid at National Trust car park 

One of the best-known spots in the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Box HIll is less than 20 miles from London. 

Boasting spectacular views, varied wildlife and – importantly – a cafe, it can make a good focal point for a longer walk, or a great location for a shorter walk like the two-mile loop taking in the iconic stepping stones across the River Mole. 

This waymarked route starts at the National Trust visitor centre at the top of the hill, heading down the hill to the river, then back up again — and passes by the ancient Box Hill Fort, which is now home to bats rather than soldiers. 

Link to route: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/visit/surrey/box-hill/box-hill-stepping-stones-walk 


Lickey Hills Country Park, Birmingham 

Distance: From 1.8 miles 

Parking: Yes, free 

Located just 10 miles south west of Birmingham, Lickey Hills Country Park covers more than 500 acres and is a popular spot for walking and other leisure activities. 

Beacon Hill, which stands at 297m above sea level, offers fantastic views across the countryside and the city — and has a castle-like “toposcope” structure at the top. This was built to mark the handing over of the land to the City of Birmingham by the Cadbury chocolatefamily in 1907. 

There are a number of circular waymarked walks to follow, and bluebells are prominent during April and May. 

Link to route information: https://www.birmingham.gov.uk/info/20089/parks/467/walks_in_lickey_hills 


Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire 

Distance: From 3/4 mile 

Parking: Yes, paid at Cannop Ponds car park 

Nestling against the Welsh border in the south-west of England, the Forest of Dean is one of the most-impressive surviving ancient woodlands in the country. 

It covers 42 square miles and is home to a variety of wildlife, including deer, birds, butterflies and the European adder — the UK’s only venomous snake. It also has a population of wild boar, which were illegally released into the area in 2006. 

The forest sits in the stunning Wye Valley, which has a long-distance walking trail along the River Wye, but many visitors head to the visitor centres to follow the shorter marked loops in the forest. 

The local tourist authority offers maps to 12 easy walks, including a two-mile loop around Cannop Ponds which passes former mine works, giving a taste of the area’s industrial heritage. 

Route information: https://www.visitdeanwye.co.uk/things-to-do/walking/12-easy-walks 


Lee Valley, London, Hertfordshire and Essex 

Distance: From 0.6 miles 

Parking: Yes, paid 

The River Lea runs from Leagrave near Luton to meet the River Thames in London, and the Lee Valley Regional Park is a much-loved green and blue space which stretches from the capital out to Hertfordshire and Essex. 

While the park is based around the river, it also includes the Lea Navigation canal and a number of former gravel pits which now form picturesque lakes — and which have made the park a nationally important habitat for migrating birds. 

The park was also home to athletes from around the world during the 2012 London Olympics, and still plays host to a variety of legacy venues. These include the Lee Valley White Water Centre at Waltham Abbey — which is open to walk around, so we recommend stopping in while along your route.  

Route information: https://www.visitleevalley.org.uk/walking-running-and-cycling-routes 


Ivinghoe Beacon, Buckinghamshire 

Distance: Two-to-three miles, with longer options 

Parking: Free at National Trust car park 

A prominent hill and landmark standing at 233m, Ivinghoe Beacon is a great place for a leisurely stroll — or you can challenge yourself to a longer hike using part of the Ridgeway long distance trail.  

With its stunning views, it is no wonder Ivinghoe Beacon has been featured in various films, including the Harry Potter franchise and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.  

The hill is a great place to see a variety of wildlife, including birds of prey, bees, butterflies and even the occasional deer. 

More information: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/visit/essex-bedfordshire-hertfordshire/ashridge-estate