Could 2024 be the year that you embark on hiking? Perfect as a pastime or a way of getting fit, sustained cardiovascular endurance can do wonders for your heart, body, mind and overall health.

If you fancy getting out there and exploring, here are outdoor experts Valley & Peak’s Jim De’Ath’s and @Wildcamping.lifeuk's Daniel Jones’ top choices ranked  so you can decide on where to head next on your hiking adventures.

The pair have ranked their favourite UK long distance walks by distance, difficulty and natural beauty. Of course, the list is subjective as beauty really is in the eye of the beholder but this should give anyone who wants to start walking seriously some inspiration!

Jim says: “Getting out there and into nature really gives you a way to unwind as well as get fit. As well as the obvious health benefits, there’s so much of this country that people simply haven’t explored before. These are some of the most captivating and memorable routes available and they are out there to enjoy! Get out there and have some fun!”

Daniel added: “Long distance hiking really gets the blood pumping but there’s also the sense of freedom it gives you. Take a look at our ranked list and see which ones appeal to you!”

The Cleveland Way

1. The Cleveland Way - 109 miles - Offers a challenging hike with diverse natural beauty, including coastal cliffs, moorlands, and historic sites.

Explore the dramatic coastline of North Yorkshire on the Cleveland Way. This trail offers stunning sea views, rugged cliffs, and charming fishing villages like Robin Hood's Bay. Discover the heritage of this coastal landscape, passing by ancient abbeys and historic landmarks.

Elevation Gain 16,506ft

Difficulty Level 3


The West Highland Way
2. The West Highland Way - 96 miles - A long hike with stunning views of the Scottish Highlands, providing a moderate level of difficulty.

Embark on a journey through the rugged heart of Scotland's West Highlands. This trail leads you through dramatic glens, alongside tranquil lochs, and beneath towering Munros. Expect breathtaking vistas and encounters with ancient castles and charming villages.

Elevation gain 12,143ft

Difficulty Level 3

South Downs Way

3. The South Downs Way - 100 miles - Offers a moderate level of difficulty with beautiful views of the South Downs over a substantial distance.

Experience the beauty of the South Downs National Park on this panoramic trail. As you walk, soak in views of rolling chalk hills, blooming wildflower meadows, and historic hill forts. This journey also includes visits to quaint market towns and the iconic Seven Sisters cliffs.

Elevation Gain 12,700ft

Difficulty Level 3

Derbyshire Portway Path

4. The Derbyshire Portway Path - 49 miles - A shorter hike with the potential for unique scenery in the Derbyshire region, including the Peak District.

Delve into the heart of the Peak District on the Derbyshire Portway Path. This route traverses the rugged gritstone edges and sweeping moorlands of Derbyshire. Enjoy ancient stone circles, gritstone tors, and the quintessential charm of this captivating English county.

Elevation Gain 6,535 ft

Difficulty Level 2

The Cumbria Way

5. The Cumbria Way - 71 miles - Provides a decent distance and beautiful scenery, including lakes and mountains.

Discover the natural wonders of the Lake District and the Eden Valley on the Cumbria Way. Meander through enchanting woodlands, tranquil lakeshores, and across rolling moorlands. Encounter the iconic landscapes and charming villages that define this part of northern England.

Elevation Gain 9,754 ft

Difficulty Level 3

Lincolnshire Wolds Way

6. Lincolnshire Wolds Way - 77 miles - Similar to Yorkshire Wolds Way in terms of distance and natural beauty but may have slightly more challenging terrain.

The Lincolnshire Wolds Way is an absolute must when exploring. It was designed by a local hiker named Tony from Louth, a keen local walker who has plotted the route to take in the best of the Lincolnshire Wolds.

It’s designed to keep you on the high ground whenever possible. For those who want to walk it in stages, it’s also helpfully broken down into five stages with lots of villages all around the route.

The walk starts and ends in Louth and visits some of my favourite spots, including Legbourne, Somersby, Belchford, Goulceby, Ludford, Tealby, Walesby, Normanby le Wold and the sites of Beesby village and Cadeby village.

This is the perfect ‘tour’ of the Wolds and if you’ve got a few days spare, it’s one to embark on all at once.

Elevation 1,685 metres

Difficulty Level 2

Yorkshire Wolds Way

7. Yorkshire Wolds Way - 79 miles - Offers a good distance with some scenic landscapes but may not be as challenging as others.

Traverse the gentle undulations of the Yorkshire Wolds, where lush green valleys meet expansive chalk hills. This trail winds through picturesque villages, historic sites, and rolling farmland, providing a tranquil immersion into the timeless beauty of rural Yorkshire.

Elevation Gain 12,211 ft

Difficulty Level 2

Derwent Valley Skyline

8. Derwent Valley Skyline - 23 miles - Similar to Edale Valley Skyline in terms of length and natural beauty but slightly longer.

Explore the scenic Derwent Valley Skyline trail in the Peak District. This circular route showcases the region's dramatic landscapes, with panoramic views of the Derwent Valley, serene reservoirs, and lush woodlands. Discover hidden gems and the area's rich industrial heritage along the way.

Elevation Gain 6,850ft

Difficulty Level 3

Edale Valley Skyline

9. Edale Valley Skyline - 20 miles - A relatively short hike with beautiful views, but limited in distance and difficulty compared to others.

Hike along the Edale Valley Skyline for a compact yet exhilarating adventure in the Peak District. This circular route offers jaw-dropping vistas of the Dark Peak's rugged terrain, including Kinder Scout, and the serene beauty of Edale village nestled in the valley below.

Elevation Gain 4,108ft

Difficulty Level 2

Belmont 30

10. Belmont 30 - 30 miles - Shortest distance and may offer less variety in natural beauty.

If you’re after a real challenge, then the Belmont 30 is the one for you. This is one that takes in some of the most arresting views you’ll be able to experience in the Wolds. A circular route to the west and south of Louth, it passes through many small hamlets and villages.

The name of the walk can be a little misleading, as the distance is actually 33 miles, but you can shave it down to around 30 by taking some alternative paths. From the start in historic Tetford, the walk loops its way through the villages of Belchford, Scamblesby, Goulceby, Market Stainton, Donington on Bain and Biscathorpe. It also takes in the site of the Medieval village of Biscathorpe before touching on Burgh on Bain, Wykeham Park, the site of the Medieval village of Calcethorpe, Welton le Wold, South Elkington, west Louth and Raithby. It then allows you to visit the site of the Medieval village of Maltby before hitting Tathwell, Orgarth Hill, Maidenwell, Farforth, Ruckland and Worlaby before returning to Tetford for a well-earned rest! Best tackled over a two day period, it’s one that really gives you a taste of this part of the country and I would urge everyone to do it at least once!

Elevation 731 metres

Difficulty Level 2

If you want to find out more about long distance hiking and what you need to keep yourself dry, comfortable and focused, visit

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February 21, 2024 — Jim De'Ath