National Trails Register
Ever thought about walking a new long distance path, perhaps as a week or fortnight walking holiday, on a series of short breaks to another part of the country, or over a number of day walks? Are you a little jaded of walking the same old routes and long to explore a new area? Would you like more of a structure to your trail walking days, a goal, a long-term aim, a new engrossing challenge? Have you been thinking for a long time that you really must do more trail walking, but have somehow never got round to it, never been sufficiently motivated? If the answer to any of these questions is “yes” then the LDWA’s Register of National Trail Walkers (NT Register) is for you.
The NT Register provides an incentive to venture out on some of the best walking trails that this country has to offer. Walk just five of the National Trails (NTs) in England, Wales or Scotland to gain entry into the Register at Bronze level. Your name and trail walking achievements will then be entered on the Online Register which is maintained on the LDWA website, and you may claim a high quality commemorative certificate to keep as an attractive memento of your walks. Keep adding to the list of National Trails walked until you complete five more trails, when you will advance to Silver level status, and be eligible for a Silver NT certificate. When you have walked 15 different National Trails in their entirety, you will have reached Gold level in the Register, and if you eventually complete all 19 of the NTs in Britain, then you will join a very distinguished and exclusive group of long distance walkers, those holding the LDWA National Trail Diamond award. Each level of achievement can be commemorated by a distinctive certificate, each one depicting a different National Trail. Acquire just one of these certificates, or better, walk on to collect eventually the complete set of four certificates. There is no time limit whatsoever for walking these trails and claims may be made retrospectively.
The NT Register is not the sole preserve of the dedicated long distance walker, but should appeal equally to the relatively laid back rambler who is content to hike some of our relatively short and fairly undemanding lowland trails, such as the Peddars Way and Norfolk Coast Path, Ridgeway, Great Glen Way, Hadrian’s Wall Path and Yorkshire Wolds Path. These trails pass through a variety of beautiful countryside and all are quite different in character. The more adventurous long distance walker, who is never happier than when tramping over hill and high moorland on long, tough trails such as the Pennine Way, Southern Upland Way and Glyndwr’s Way routes, has plenty of scope to satisfy his or her desires. The shortest trail, the Speyside Way, is a mere 65 miles long, with another six trails all less than a hundred miles in length. The longest route by far is that of the South West Coast Path, which covers some 630 miles of our finest coastline, but do not panic, as there is absolutely no necessity to walk it in one go (the same is true for all of the other NTs). There are four trails in Scotland to chose from, twelve in England, evenly located in north, south, east and west regions of the country, two in Wales and one that straddles the Welsh and English borders (Offa’s Dyke Path). There are coastal trails (e.g. South West Coast Path, Pembrokeshire Coast Path), those following ancient and prehistoric routes (e.g. Peddars Way, Hadrian’s Wall Path, Ridgeway), a riverside trail (Thames Path), paths over some of the finest downland in the UK (North Downs Way and South Downs Way) and even a coast-to-coast trail from Irish Sea to North Sea (Southern Upland Way). The 19 National Trails of England, Wales and Scotland make up around 3000 miles of premier league walking, so plenty of scope for even the most avid of long distance walkers. So you have no excuse! Get out there and walk the trails, whilst at the same time achieving a unique challenge.
Certificates and Badges
Entering the Registers will be free and those listed will be eligible to purchase, for £2.50, a high quality LDWA National Trails Certificate stating the level of the award. Gaining such a certificate will require a considerable amount of planning and walking so recipients should be justly proud of a substantial walking achievement.
A suitable high quality badge may also be designed once the scheme has got under way. This will again only be available to those whose name appears on the NT Register.
Members and Non-Members
The NT Register is open to both LDWA members and non-members. Non-members who enter the Registers will be sent information about the LDWA and hopefully will join the Association. The NT Register will also assist in 'spreading the load' by encouraging walkers to tackle the less well-known and walked LDPs, such as the excellent, challenging Glyndwr's Way in mid-Wales. The several associations that look after the National Trails will no doubt approve, as it will help to promote their paths.
LDWA NT Register Web Pages and Strider
There are separate web pages within this website devoted to the National Trails Register with full details of the National Trails Register Scheme, a downloadable Claim Form and the names of those on the Registers are constantly being updated. A short report on the progress of the Register is published each year in Strider. The day to day running of the Register and the writing of the annual Strider report are the tasks of the NT Recorder.
For the purposes of the NT Register, National Trails are defined as the National Trails of England and of Wales that are waymarked with the 'Acorn' logo, plus the official Long Distance Paths of Scotland that carry the 'White Thistle' waymarking.
The National Trails of England, Wales and Scotland that are included in the National Trail Register are as follows:
|4||Great Glen Way||73||Scotland|
|5||Hadrian's Wall Path||81||England|
|6||North Downs Way||151||England|
|7||Offa's Dyke Path||177||England/Wales|
|8||Peddars Way and Norfolk Coast Path2||93||England|
|9||Pembrokeshire Coast Path||186||Wales|
|13||South Downs Way||100||England|
|14||South West Coast Path6||630||England|
|15||Southern Upland Way||212||Scotland|
|18||West Highland Way||95||Scotland|
|19||Yorkshire Wolds Way9||79||England|
1. One of the newest of Britain's National Trails, opened in 2007.
2. Claims will only be accepted if both the Peddars Way and the North Norfolk Path are walked.
3. The section of the Pennine Bridleway, from Middleton Top in Derbyshire to The Street, south of Kirkby Stephen and including the Mary Towneley Loop and the Settle Link, was opened in the summer of 2012 and was added to the LDWA National Trails Register on 1st January, 2013. The trail is eventually to be extended to Byrness in Northumberland, in which case the full route will be considerably longer, but this is not expected to be complete for many years.
4. The oldest of the National Trails, opened in 1963.
5. A few miles at the northern end are in Scotland.
6. Britain's longest National Trail. Claims for separate county sections, e.g. the Cornwall Coastal Path, will not be accepted.
7. The first section of the Way was opened in 1981, but it was not completed between Aviemore and Buckie until 2000. There are still hopes of extending the path from Aviemore to Newtonmore.
8. The last of the National Trails to be opened in the old Millennium, in 1996.
9. Originally known as the Wolds Way.
Levels of the LDWA NT Register
There are four levels or categories as follows:
This Register contains the names of those long distance walkers who have walked at least FIVE different National Trails in England and Wales or Official Long Distance Routes in Scotland.
This Register contains the names of those long distance walkers who have walked at least TEN different National Trails.
This Register contains the names of those long distance walkers who have walked at least FIFTEEN different National Trails.
This Register contains the names of those long distance walkers who have walked all NINETEEN National Trails
Note: prior to 1st January 2013, the Pennine Bridleway was not included in the list of National Trails on the NT Register. Those walkers who completed all of the eighteen National Trails on the Register before that date were also awarded Diamond status; they are listed here as having completed eighteen National Trails, unless they have subsequently gone on to walk the Pennine Bridleway and so complete all current nineteen National Trails. From 1st January 2013 it is necessary to walk all nineteen of the National Trails, including the Pennine Bridleway, in order to be awarded Diamond status.
As the length of the South West Coast Path is very considerable, more than twice that of the second longest National Trail, those who have walked the whole of the route will be specially identified on the Register, whichever of the above categories they occupy.
The ultimate achievement would be for someone to walk all of the National Trails as one continuous pedestrian journey, with linking routes to join the Trails. To my knowledge this has so far not been achieved, but the NT Register may spur some hardy walker, with plenty of available time, to attempt this very demanding challenge.
Rules for Entry into the National Trails Register
1. The trails must all be completed on foot. It is permissible to ride, on bicycle or horseback, those parts of the Trails that are bridleways (most of the South Downs Way and all of the Pennine Bridleway can be covered in this way), but this will not be acceptable for entry into the LDWA NT Register.
2. Some National Trails have alternative sections in some areas:
The South West Coast Path has alternative routes in the region of Weymouth.
The Speyside Way has two alternative starting points, at Aviemore and at Tomintoul.
The Pennine Way has an alternative trail, the Bowes Alternative, south of Middleton in Teesdale.
In all these cases it will only be necessary to walk one of the alternatives in order to satisfy entry into the NT Register, although purists will no doubt wish to walk every inch of the way.
The Pennine Bridleway has two “Loop” routes as part of the official trail:
Mary Towneley Loop: Either the eastern half of the Mary Towneley Loop (via Bottomley, Lumbutts, Mankinholes YH, east of Hebden Bridge, Jack Bridge and Widdop Reservoir) or the western section (via Broadley, Waterfoot, Lumb and Holme Chapel) can be walked in order to satisfy completion of the Pennine Bridleway for the purposes of the National Trails Register. Nevertheless, as the Mary Towneley Loop is a such a significant part of the whole National Trail (47 miles of the total length), many National Trail walkers will wish to walk the entire circuit, eastern and western sections.
Settle Loop: for the purposes of an entry into the National Trails Register it is not necessary to walk this 10 mile loop route east of the town of Settle in the Yorkshire Dales, but is thoroughy recommended, none the less.
The Pennine Way has a spur detour to the summit of the Cheviot. For the purposes of entry into the National Trails Register it is not obligatory to include this detour, although, in good weather condtions it is a fine summit to visit, the highest in the Cheviots range of hills.
3. Each LDP must be walked in its entirety for entry into the Register (with the exceptions noted above) but any of the following options are acceptable, i.e. they can be walked:
'in one go' without overnight accommodation, as a challenge walk (this method will probably only appeal to a few LDWA stalwarts!), or
during a sequential number of days, on a walking holiday, using tent (backpacking) and/or hostel/B&B/hotel accommodation (this will probably be the method of choice for most people), or
during a number of day walks which may or may not be sequential in time or in sections. Most walkers will wish to walk the stages of a LDP in sequence, i.e. from Point A to Point B on the first day, from B to C on the second day (which may or may not be the following day - subsequent days could be weeks or months apart, as found convenient), from C to D on the third day and so on, although this is not essential for inclusion in the Register. For example, it may be convenient to walk from C to D on a first day, A to B on the second day, D to E on the third, and so on in any sequence until the whole walk is completed. The only requirement is that the whole trail is eventually walked. This method is most useful for LDPs close to one's home or holiday base.
4. The LDPs can be walked in either direction.
5. The routes can be walked in any order, and if the "day walks" method described above is used, then several can be on-going at the same time.
6. There are no time limits. Retrospective claims are welcomed.
7. From time to time alignments are made to the line of the Trails, for various reasons, e.g. after successful campaigning by pressure groups a better or safer section sometimes replaces an old route. For inclusion in the Register it is unnecessary to return to walk these new routes. To count for a completion, the Trail must be followed as it existed at the time of walking.
8. Some of the National Trails, e.g. Cotswold Way, Glyndwr's Way, were in existence long before they were designated as National Trails. If these trails were walked before they gained National Trail status, then this is permissible for inclusion in the Register.
9. Each completion of a specific National Trail can only be counted once for the purpose of the NT Register. For example, a claim for a Bronze Level Award will not be accepted from a person who has completed the South Downs Way five times; five different National Trails must be walked for entry into the Register.
10. Claims are only accepted on a NT Claim Form. Once accepted the name of the claimant will be added to the Register at the appropriate level of award. Subsequent claims for higher levels of the Register must be made separately, on a further Claim Form. The National Trails Register appears on this website and is updated regularly. It consists of the names of those at Bronze, Silver, Gold and Diamond levels, listing the National Trails that they have walked and when they completed them.
11. Entry to the Registers is free-of-charge and is open to all, both LDWA members and non-members, but there is a small charge for an optional commemorative certificate.