According to Sport England’s Active Lives Survey 2020, a strong upward trend in walking has been occurring over the last two years, even before lockdown. 20.3 million of the English population were walking for leisure last year, an increase of 1.2 million on the previous 12 months before that.

Having an active lifestyle, including regular walks, is a fantastic way to promote mental health and wellbeing. Self-esteem, mood, and sleep quality are benefitted while stress, anxiety, and fatigue are reduced. Walking is accessible and free and is the ideal exercise for everyday life.

Here, we’ll explore the most searched for walking routes to find the best places people have been retreating to over the best part of a stressful year. The UK is adorned with fantastic countryside walks and coastal views from the top of Scotland to the bottom of Cornwall. While the weather is often unpredictable, gorgeous walks are guaranteed.

We’ve created a list to help you find the best places to clear your mind – so get on your women’s and men’s trainers and get exercising. We gathered Google search data from June 2020 to July 2021 to find out which walks experienced the highest per cent increase over the last year.
Most popular walks
Searches for “Easy route up Old Man of Coniston” experienced the biggest increase with 2,100%. The Old Man of Coniston is located in the Furness Fells in the Lake District in Cumbria. It is a fell at least 2,632.61 feet high situated not far from the Coniston Water Lake. The entire walk is around 6.2 miles and takes around three and a half hours.

The second biggest increase was “Severn Way circular walks” with an increase of 1,700%. Severn Way follows River Severn through Mid Wales and western England and is in total around 215 miles long. It can take 12 to 19 nights and can be a strenuous trek, taking you from the mountain landscape of Llanidloes, Wales, to Bristol.

The third walking route with the biggest search increase was “Cathedral Cavern walk route” which experienced a 1,400% rise in searches. This is the second location in the Lake District to make an appearance on this list, situated in Tilberthwaite. A cave located deep in the woods is found after a fabulous and picturesque walk through the Langdale Pikes and two waterfalls. The Cathedral quarries open up through various tunnels.

The fourth walking route which experienced an increase in searches was “Sgwd Yr Eria walk route” at 1,400%. Venture to Sgwd yr Eira from Pontneddfechan in the heart of Waterfall Country. This is a 4.5-mile walk out of a backtrail near Neath Port Talbot in Wales. You will pass a waterfall that you can even get behind and will be treated to plenty of stunning views along a river.

The fifth highest increase in searches was “Malvern Hills circular walking routes” with 1,400%. In the beautiful countryside of Herefordshire and Worcestershire, Malvern Hills is an unspoiled walk in the Severn Valley with views of the Cotswolds. Hikers with a keen eye for beautiful flowers will be pleased to see the wildflowers growing on this trail as well as sweeping views of the English countryside.

Reconnect with nature and explore some of the best locations in the UK for a quaint and picturesque view.