Westcountry the top region to take a hike
New research carried out by the National Trust names the Westcountry peninsula as the UK's top region for walking.
The study, undertaken in support of the trust's Great British Walk annual hiking festival this weekend, shows that no fewer than four out of five people living in the region enjoy country walking on a regular basis, with one in ten marching more than 50 miles a month.
In some places, such as Cornwall, residents walk more than double the national average, according to the new figures – and one Cornish walking route has topped the charity's poll, making it the nation's number one favourite hike that can only be accessed on foot.
The stroll around the Trelissick estate on the banks of the River Fal beats locations which many might regard as being more famous – including the White Cliffs of Dover, the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales.
Steve Burgess, visitor services manager at Trelissick, responded to the findings by saying: "With 64% of people keen to get out and walk more, and 89% agreeing walking is one of life's simple pleasures, hopefully our top ten list shows there is something for everyone to enjoy in the outdoors.
"We're delighted that Trelissick was selected, but we've got hundreds of easy to follow walks around the country available to download, so are hoping the public will join in and get exploring."
The new research found that walking "makes 87% of people in the South West happy" with respondents saying the best thing about hikes are the places or things that can be discovered en-route.
More than nine out of ten walkers said they simply enjoyed the feeling of being in the fresh air, while 78% thought happy hiking memories were also important.
Devon walkers (88%) said that the sense of being 'revived' was particularly important for them, while nine out of ten hikers across the region were sad that children seemed to walk less nowadays compared to 40 or 50 years ago.
Cornish respondents were particularly keen on walks with relations – 83% said they wanted to go on more family walks together.
The sense of achievement walking can instil was important to many – six out of ten respondents in the South West said that failing to complete a walk felt like "cheating".
The notorious British weather prevents a third of Westcountry walkers from going out for a stroll – but it seems hikers in some counties are more delicate than in others. In Dorset and Cornwall the unpredictable climate puts 41% off walking, while Devon folk are more resilient with only 19% staying indoors.
Top ten ‘secret’ trails
1 Trelissick – includes estuarine views and an Iron Age fort.
2 The White Cliffs of Dover: land acquired by National Trust last year, now open for the first time.
3 Minnowburn, Northern Ireland: the Giant’s Ring, largest stone circle in Ireland.
4 Erddig, Wales: scenic estate walk.
5 Sizergh Castle, Lake District: little-known hike includes 1,600- year-old yew tree.
6 Sparrow Dale, Norfolk: hidden valley, perfect for wildlife lovers.
7 Dunstanburgh Castle, Northumberland: fortress with breathtaking views.
8 Malham Waterfall, Yorkshire Dales: famous falls and secret cave.
9 Stowe, Buckinghamshire:
the Stowe estate, including secret garden.
10 Attingham, Shropshire: newly opened path allows views of Attingham House.