The National Trails of England are a series of outdoor trails that cross large swathes of England. You can walk them, cycle some of them, ride some of them on a horse and generally enjoy them as you see fit as long as you're responsible. There are also national trails in Wales, Scotland and Ireland which we will cover in future posts.
They are a great way to explore our green and pleasant land. They are also a fantastic way to see parts of the country you wouldn't normally see. Especially if you're staying in one of our many holiday cottages spread throughout England.
Spending a day or two exploring our lovely landscape is probably the best way to spend time on holiday that we can think of. You can keep your beaches, your clubs, your city breaks, give us miles of countryside and a few nice country pubs and we're happy!
There are 15 National Trails of England that stretch to around 2,500 miles. All of them are open to walkers and hikers. Many of them are open to cyclists and horse riders. A further trail is currently being built which will become the England Coast Path. This will add another few hundred miles of walking around some of the many beaches of England. The full path will open in 2020.
Who, what and why are the National Trails of England
The National Trails of England came about after World War Two to preserve areas of land from redevelopment and expansion. There was a need to control how and where we rebuilt, so National Parks, Areas of Outstanding National Beauty and Long Distance Routes were created to protect certain areas of land. These all became National Trails in England and Wales.
National Trails are looked after by local managers and funded by local government. Other social enterprises also contribute to the maintenance and improvement of the trails.
Where are the National Trails in England
As mentioned, there are 15 National Trails in England and we have holiday cottages close to all of them. If you visit this National Trails website page, it shows you where the trails are. There is also a printable leaflet here that shows you where each trail is.
The trails are continually evolving as new permissions and trail expansions are secured. Thanks to legislation passed a few years ago that allows new rights of way just about anywhere for responsible walkers, new trails are opening up across the country. While it's best to stick to established trails, there are many ways to explore the countryside that we didn't have before.
If you're planning a spring or summer break in one of our holiday cottages, you could do worse than spending a day or two exploring the National Trails of England.