If 50 is the new 40, there is certainly plenty of life left in three of the UK’s best walking trails, which celebrate their semi-centennial in 2019. The Dales Way, the Cleveland Way and the Offa’s Dyke Trail are all reaching this major milestone this year. Experience a different side of the UK by walking one or all three trails with UTracks.
The Yorkshire Dales are often considered the purest form of English highland landscape, with traditions and views that have remained virtually untouched for centuries. The first public Dales Way walk took place on 23 March 1969 and was organised by the West Riding Ramblers, who were pivotal in the creation of the route. The much-loved long-distance path runs for 78 miles across the Yorkshire Dales National Park to the Lake District, from Ilkley in West Yorkshire to Bowness-on-Windermere in Cumbria. Following mostly riverside paths, you will pass interesting old churches and abbeys, traditional villages and real ale pubs on this 8 day self guided walk.
One of the UK’s earliest official National Trails, the 109-mile long Cleveland Way in the North York Moors National Park turns 50 on 24 May 2019. If you can’t decide whether you prefer dramatic coastline or heather moorland this is the trail for you, as it alternates between quilted farmlands, forest patches, sandstone rock scarps and isolated hills, while the highly eroded coastline is punctuated by beautiful little fishing villages that cling to the cliffs. There is plenty of history too, with the 13th century Whitby Abbey, the remains of the Norman Rievaulx Abbey and the Captain James Cook Museum (whose ships were all built at coastal Whitby) to be discovered along the way.
Taking its name from King Offa and criss-crossing the modern border between England and Wales, this path follows the course of an ancient defensive earthwork of immense proportions. Lined with castles and abbeys, it oozes history as it dates back to the late 8th century when Offa, the King of Mercia, decided to define his territory and protect it from the marauding Welsh. This visually stunning traverse through remote and sparsely populated countryside follows the southern half of the trail along a nearly unbroken section of the dyke. The Offa’s Dyke Association marks its 50th anniversary on 29 March 2019.
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