Cochrane Pike, Breamish Valley
The isolated Breamish Valley is dotted with ancient Neolithic and Bronze Age settlements – so there’s plenty of history to dive into on this walk at Cochrane Pike, where you can see the remains of four stone huts and cultivation terraces. There are various hill walks around the ancient forts and settlements accompanied by amazing views. The circular walk, starting from the visitor centre, takes you through moorland where you could spot curlew, oystercatcher, and skylark, as well as red squirrels.
Viewranger Route, Stanhope
The tranquil market town of Stanhope within Weardale is at the heart of the Durham Dales, surrounded by the moorland of the Northern Pennines. Taking a stroll along the banks of the River Wear is a must but the Viewranger route, which begins in the market town of Frosterley and ends in Stanhope is perfect for those looking for a full day out to really get away from it all.
Take a stroll through this unspoilt ancient woodland and species-rich meadow, then follow the path out of the trees and to the beach (depending on what the weather brings). The reserve, between Easington and Seaham, is an area that’s often forgotten about along the Durham coast but with wild garlic, treecreepers, woodpeckers and roe deer to see (if you’re lucky) there’s plenty to keep you occupied.
This short four-mile route will lead you along a stretch of the the River Ure past, you guessed it: Aysgarth Falls – then through St Joseph’s Wood. The landscaped area is suitable for pushchairs and wheelchairs too but if you’re looking for a longer walk head towards Castle Bolton – which boasts spectacular views of its own.
While it’s not one of the longest walks, Spurn Point is one of Yorkshire’s best nature reserves with spectacular wildlife and incredible views. If you’re taking an early trip out, you could spot roe deer here too, but with beach, mudflats, saltmarsh, dunes and grassland around you, there’s plenty of other wildlife favourites to discover along the way.
West Wood is one of Leeds’ best kept secrets, only a 20-minute drive from the city. Within the Aire Valley, between Shipley and Pudsey, it links with the beautiful Calverley Wood and Lodge Wood, with various pathways which are a haven for the birds you’ll see there. Look out for the old walled garden, hidden grottos, and many more historical features.