THE nation’s ramblers have crowned the Jurassic Coast as the most idyllic hike in the UK.
The route, which covers 95 miles of dramatic coastline from East Devon to Dorset, passes the likes of Old Harry Rocks, Durdle Door, and seaside towns such as West Bay.
Cheddar Gorge in Somerset and England’s highest mountain, Scafell Pike, ranked in the top three most beautiful walking routes in the UK, as voted for by 2,000 adults who enjoy countryside walks.
The Coast to Coast Path in Yorkshire and a series of trails around the mythical Loch Ness in the Scottish Highlands also claimed spots within the nation’s most stunning strolls.
Rounding off the top 10 are Ben Nevis, the highest mountain on the British Isles, and Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland, which boasts thousands of stunning interlocking basalt columns.
The research was commissioned by holiday cottage rental company Sykes Holiday Cottages.
Chief executive Graham Donoghue said: “Here in the UK, we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to the number of beautiful walks and hikes on our doorstep.
“Wherever you are in the country, it often feels like an area of outstanding beauty is only a stone’s throw away.
“Whether you want a dramatic coastline, towering forests, or panoramic views, the UK has an incredible range of rural landscapes which are just waiting to be explored.”
When describing their perfect hike, over half (56 per cent) of Brits favour stunning views over everything else, and 47 per cent will choose a route that is near a lake or river.
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The UK’s top 10 most beautiful walks
1. The Jurassic Coast, Dorset
2. Cheddar Gorge, Somerset
3. Scafell Pike, The Lake District
4. South West Coast Path, Somerset/Devon/Cornwall/Dorset
5. Yorkshire Coast to Coast Path
6. Loch Ness, Scottish Highlands
7. Lizard Peninsula, Cornwall
8. Hadrian’s Wall Path, Tyne and Wear/Cumbria
9. Ben Nevis, Scottish Highlands
10. Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland
And nearly two in five (38 per cent) cited stopping off at a countryside pub as essential during a walk.
The survey also found the ideal distance for a hike is nearly seven and a half miles, with more than half of British ramblers (51 per cent) preferring this to be a leisurely stroll over a more strenuous trek.
Typically, the nation’s walkers will head off on 14 different coastal or countryside treks each year, with many choosing to fit these in during the spring and summer months.
Although nearly one in five (18 per cent) of those polled via OnePoll prefer to tackle walks in the autumn.
Walking is an important consideration when choosing a UK break, with eight in 10 saying they have either been on a staycation, or would consider booking one, based on the quality of the nearby walking trails.
And more than three quarters (77 per cent) believe having a range of countryside and coastal paths to explore is important when they are holidaying in the UK.
During a week-long staycation, Brits would aim to take four hikes, on average.
In fact, three quarters (75 per cent) believe the amount of stunning countryside to discover is one of the best things about this country.
Sykes’ Graham Donoghue added: “These survey results are a true testament to the magnificent and diverse landscapes we have here.
“That’s why it’s no surprise when holidaymakers with a passion for walking – and also those who have dipped their toes into hiking during the pandemic – are wanting to stay closer to home, with many planning their staycations solely around routes they want to tackle.”
When questioned, nearly three in 10 (29 per cent) ramblers admit that they often struggle to find walks that are appropriate for themselves and their skill level.
If you’re a keen hiker – or looking to lace up a new pair of walking boots – this guide to the UK’s top 10 most beautiful walks could offer some inspiration for your next trail.
The top 10 UK National Parks Brits most want to explore
1. Lake District
2. Yorkshire Dales
3. Peak District
4. Loch Lomond and The Trossachs
5. New Forest
6. Brecon Beacons
8. North York Moors
9. Pembrokeshire Coast