The Best Boxing Day Walks in the North East and Yorkshire | Living North

The Best Boxing Day Walks in the North East and Yorkshire

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Kielder Water at Sunrise
When you cannot possibly eat another morsel, galvanise yourself with a walk through stunning scenery in the great outdoors

North East

Kielder Water  
Distance: 6 miles
Time: 3 hrs
There’s something about reservoirs that makes them perfect for walking in winter – and Kielder Water is the mother of them all. With over 600sq km of forest, 26 miles of shoreline and an abundance of walking routes showcasing the very best of the North East countryside, it’s the perfect place to round up the family for a rousing walk. This circular route, from Leaplish to Hawkhirst, follows well-maintained lakeside paths, forest trails and tarmac roads with tremendous views of Kielder Water. 
Top Tip: Don’t miss Mounces Viewpoint, which provides epic views over the forest towards the Scottish border.
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Durham Riverside 
Distance: 3.3 miles
Time: 1 hr 20 mins
Take in all of Durham’s most famous landmarks on this riverside route which teams impressive medieval heritage with breathtaking riverside scenery. Wander through the cobbled streets of the city, past the university cricket ground and onto a path along the banks of the river Wear, where you’ll enjoy an unrivalled view of the 900-year-old Durham Cathedral. A short climb leads to the top of the hill and what is believed to be the iron-age fort of Maiden Castle.
Top Tip: Be sure to schedule in a stop at the Half Moon Inn near the end of the route, which is open 11am–8pm, for a well-deserved lunch and drink by the fire. 
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Hedley Hall Woods
Distance: 2.6 miles
Time: 1 hr 
With wondrous woodland, a wildflower meadow and sculpture trail, there’s plenty to see at Hedley Hall. This tranquil site, part of the Woodland Trust, is a vast 230-acre site with dense, ancient woodland home to a vast array of birdlife, including robins and rare great spotted woodpecker. Park at Hedley Lane, go through the gate into the forest, and follow the babbling streams and winding tracks, before heading for a refreshing pint at The Causey Arch Inn (open 11am–11pm) on the outskirts of the wood. 
Top Tip: Keep an eye out for the wooden sculptures that pepper the route, designed by environmental artist and sculptor Keith Barrett.
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Craster to Low Newton
Distance: 6 miles
Time: 2 hrs
For a bracing and beautiful coastal walk, Northumberland is without compare. This route between two of its most popular seaside spots, Craster and Low Newton, showcases magnificent sea views and long sandy stretches, passing the mighty ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle and the long sweep of Embleton Bay before reaching Low Newton-by-the-Sea. Here you can climb up from the beach to the picturesque three-sided square, where the Ship Inn offers a brilliant range of cask beers and fine wines to warm you up. 
Top Tip: Turn left at the base of Dunstanburgh Castle and you’ll find the peculiar cliff formation of Greymare Rock, which was formed by volcanic pressure. 
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Yorkshire

Speeton Cliff 
Distance: 5.5 miles
Time: 3 hrs 
Taking you from the pretty village of Speeton, over the cliffs of North Flamborough Headland to the beach below, this beautiful route showcases Yorkshire’s coast in all its glory. Walk along the beach until you reach Hunmanby Gap, before heading back along the cliff tops, which offer stunning views across the rugged coast. 
Top Tip: You’ll eventually reach Speeton, where you’ll find the ancient church of St Leonard’s – one of the smallest parish churches in Yorkshire, which dates back to the early Norman period. 
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Spurn Point 
Distance: 1 mile
Time: 1 hr
Looking for a quick, brisk outing before the family arrive for another festive feast? This walk across Spurn Point, one of Yorkshire’s best nature reserves, is perfect. The thin strip of land features spectacular wildlife and incredible views, while clear paths and signage explaining what you might see along the way. Together with the short distance, it makes for a perfect family walk. Dogs, however, are not allowed here, so it’s best to keep your furry friends at home. 
Top Tip: Look across the Stony Binks and Greedy Gut from this narrow tongue of sand, and see if you can spot a seal or two.
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Fountains Abbey Ancient Trees Walk 
Distance: 2.5 miles
Time: 1 hr 30 mins
Follow the bridleways, footpaths and roadways through this ancient estate as you spot rare deer and witness wild landscapes. With views of Ripon Cathedral, this route boasts a wide variety of trees, from cherry and oak to impressive sweet chestnuts which were planted on the hillside in 1710, before you reach the magnificent views of Fountains Abbey lake at the end of the trail. 
Top Tip: Walk between two lines of frosty oak trees after Rough Bridge and you’ll spot two Atlantic cedars to your left, which were planted in the 19th century.
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Malham Tarn Archaeology Walk 
Distance: 5.5 miles
Time: 3–4 hrs
This walk is perfect for history buffs, who can stroll through ancient limestone pastures, discovering fascinating archaeological remains and the amazing Malham Tarn lake. Step back in time as you walk along Mastiles Lane to the Roman Camp, heading towards Middle House Farm, surrounded by timeless landscapes which have remained untouched for thousands of years. From here, head over the brow of the hill where you will glimpse the spectacular Malham Tarn, before heading there yourself to take in the scenery.
Top Tip: Pack a flask and some leftover pigs in blankets and enjoy a scenic pit stop on the rocks at Malham Tarn.

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Published in: December 2019

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