Put Spring in Your Steps

Put Spring in Your Steps

Daffodils in flower at Tyneham village

Britain's Best Spring Escapes

As the days start to lengthen and the grip of winter loosens, the British countryside beckons. For those venturing out on foot, early spring has much to offer. With the sun still low in the sky but with the first hint of real warmth starting to shine through, it’s a great time for landscape photography or just admiring views in the clear air. At this time of year many people don’t venture out, meaning that walking routes are much quieter, even at the most popular spots.

The countryside is stirring. Early flowering plants such as primroses, celandine and daffodils start to peep through the surrounding foliage, adding a splash of colour. Mammals start to ready themselves for the upcoming breeding season and are easier to spot as the vegetation has yet to put on its summer coat.

At HF Holidays we’ve devised a programme of specially adapted UK spring walks designed to take in the highlights found at the end of February and through March. Specially adapted to the season, these routes are carefully curated, led by an experienced guide and include little touches like a flask of hot soup or a stop at a tea room or country pub for a warming drink. And if the weather turns wet, we're ideally set up at our country houses with boot and drying rooms, log fires and cosy corners to kick back in.

Here are a few special spring highlights you can enjoy during our spring walks.

Spring Walking Holidays in Exmoor

Dunkery Beacon, Exmoor

Walks Summary: 

Based near highlights such as Porlock, the Quantocks, Dunster and Lynmouth there are walking options aplenty both inland and to the coast. The moors of Exmoor are a huge draw with miles of open moorland populated by nothing more than sheep and Exmoor ponies. 

 

Spring Highlights:

1) Waders and waterfowl are busy taking advantage of the rich food found in the sediments of Blue Anchor Bay. Knots, oyster-catchers and curlew can often be seen.

2) Swelled by winter rains, the fast-flowing East Lyn River is even more impressive as it gushes down the gorge to Watersmeet where it joins Hoar Oak Water. With less vegetation around the chances of spotting an otter during a walk along the river are increased.

3) Clear, far-sighted views from the top of Dunkery Beacon – the highest point in Exmoor. The clear spring air reveals views across Devon as far as Dartmoor, the Bristol Channel and Wales and the rolling hills of the Mendips and Quantocks.

Refreshment highlights:

Watersmeet tea rooms serve a range of freshly baked goodies such as cakes and pasties to go with hot drinks. Don’t miss the home-baked scones in the cream tea and try the unusual whortleberry jam (made from wild Exmoor bilberries). If the weather is kind you can sit out in the gardens wrapped in a knee rug and share a few crumbs with the local birds who have learned that this is a good place to come for an easy meal!

Staying at: 

Holnicote House, near Selworthy 

Walks:

Choice of 3 walks of different distance / difficulty each day; options vary by departure date. 

 

Spring Walking Holidays in Dorset

View towards Worbarrow Bay

Walks Summary: 

A marvellous selection of walks taking in the many highlights of the beautiful Jurassic Coast in Dorset. On sunny days the clear air allows for far-reaching views along the spectacular cliffs and across to the Isle of Wight.

Many of the walks are linear – we organise transport at either the start or end of the walk to take you to/from our accommodation in West Lulworth. 

 

Spring Highlights:

1) Stand above Durdle Door and watch the low level sun shining straight through the middle of the arch with the light reflecting off the sea. 

2) Areas which are popular with tourists such as Corfe Castle, Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door are much quieter than in the summer months; our group will often have the walking path to itself. 

3) See patches of of yellow gorse carpeting the landscape and the glorious white blooms of blackthorn in the hedges.

Refreshment highlights:

Seventhwave Café and Restaurant at Durlston Country Park serves homemade cakes and Dorset cream teas. Enjoy while gazing out at the stunning sea views and the walls of Durlston Castle.

A short stroll from Old Harry Rocks is the 16th Century Bankes Arms - a traditional country pub built from quarried stone complete with a welcoming open fire. The pub serves real ales from the nearby Isle of Purbeck Brewery and affords sweeping views across Studland Bay towards Poole, Bournemouth and the Isle of Wight.

Staying at: 

West Lulworth House, Lulworth Cove 

Walks:

Choice of 3 walks of different distance / difficulty each day; options vary by departure date. 

 

Spring Walking Holidays in the Peak District

Chatsworth Bridge, Peak DistrictWalks Summary: 

Chatsworth House, Dovedale, Bakewell, the Tissington Trail – all these and more await in Derbyshire’s beautiful Peak District. Walk through hidden valleys and up to elevated peaks for sweeping views across the landscape. 

 

Spring Highlights:

1) In late March, see the carpets of wild garlic start to bloom in the Manifold Valley and cowslips in Biggin Dale National Nature Reserve.

2) See cute lambs gambolling in the stone-wall edged fields – a classic English scene.

3) With the trees yet to sport their new leaves, attractions such as the limestone gorge at Dovedale have a different look and feel. The bright spring light bounces off the rock and reflects off the water.

Refreshment highlights:

The Miners Arms pub at Carsington is a recently refurbished village pub on the Carsington Water footpath. They serve real ales and excellent food. Warm yourself by the open fire and enjoy the family-run pub’s hospitality.

The Waterloo Inn, Biggin – a traditional Cask Marque accredited country pub which serves home-cooked food made largely from local produce. The pub is located just off the Tissington Trail and has a crackling open fire.

Staying at: 

The Peveril of the Peak, Thorpe, near Dovedale 

Walks:

Choice of 3 walks of different distance / difficulty each day; options vary by departure date. 

 

Spring Walking Holidays in the Southern Lake District

Daffodils in springWalks Summary: 

A range of walks to discover the best parts of the Southern Lake District from easier lakeside walks to more strenuous treks into the mountains. This area was once home to William Wordsworth; many walks will take us through the landscapes which inspired his poetry.

 

Spring Highlights:

1) Stand beneath the waterfalls of Colwith Force and Skelwith Force. Swelled by winter rains, their cascades are particularly spectacular. Both falls are located in pretty, wooded dells. With the leaves on the trees missing, more of the cascading waters are revealed.

2) Swathes of daffodils come into bloom producing a beautiful yellow carpet of flowers. In the early 1800s such a sight inspired Wordsworth to write his most famous poem.

3) The Herdwick lambs gambolling in the fields around Troutbeck Park Farm – once home to Beatrix Potter. This sheep breed is indigenous to the Lake District. The lambs you see may well be descended from the flock that Beatrix herself used to farm.

Refreshment highlights:

Grasmere Gingerbread – a spicy cross between a biscuit and a cake from a recipe invented in Victorian times. The shop in Grasmere bakes it fresh every day and sells a delectable range of other treats including Cumberland rum butter, fudge, Kendal Mint Cake and a range of ginger-flavoured sweets.

Staying at: 

Monk Coniston House, Coniston Water 

Walks:

Choice of 3 walks of different distance / difficulty each day; options vary by departure date. 

 

Spring Walking Holidays in the North York Moors

Explore Whitby and the North York MoorsWalks Summary: 

Based near the historic coastal town of Whitby and also close to the North York Moors National Park, there are walking opportunities in all directions across a range of landscapes. The nearby village of Great Ayton was the childhood home of Captain James Cook.

 

Spring Highlights:

1) See the natural drama of the North Yorkshire coast unfold as the unrelenting waters of the North Sea batter its beaches and cliffs. Bathed in the clear light of early spring, the views are both dramatic and spectacular.

2) Climb to the top of the lop-sided Roseberry Topping for far-reaching views of the surrounding countryside to breath in the crisp air.

3) Beachcombing at Runswick Bay or Sandsend can reveal beautiful shells which have been brought to the surface by winter storms. You might find other natural flotsam and jetsam such as shiny pieces of black jet, ammonite fossils, bits of sea sponge and shark egg cases.

Refreshment highlights:

The Goathland Hotel in the village of Goathland was turned into the ‘Aidensfield Arms’ for the TV series ‘Heartbeat’. Both a hotel and a pub, it serves local food such as deep-filled Yorkshire puddings and Whitby scampi.

Staying at: 

Larpool Hall near Whitby 

Walks:

Choice of 3 walks of different distance / difficulty each day; options vary by departure date. 

 

We hope you can join us. Our full range of spring walks can be found on our Spring and Winter Walking page