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LDPs Regional Summary

There are summaries of the trails by region on the links below. These are organised into: England (split into 8 English regions), Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

England has a wide range of landscapes and good access for walkers, both on its rights of way and its Access Land that includes large areas of its uplands. England is the largest of the four countries that make up the UK, with a land area about 50,000 sq miles (130,000 sq km) and a population of over 50 million.

Walking traditions in England are very strong and trailwalking is very popular, so England has close to 600 promoted routes, many of which are waymarked. Included are its 15 national trails, one shared with Wales. Anytime Challenge routes abound, with some 200, mostly in the north.

With so many trails and such a variety of distinctive landscapes we cover England as eight regions, heading clockwise from the south-east and the capital:

South East England is the most populous and it includes the walker-friendly capital city of London. The North and South Downs offer good ridge walking and the Thames a fine easy riverside trail. There is some seemingly remote countryside and some interesting coastal walking on Saxon shores and along high and undulating chalk cliffs.

South West England is remarkable for its sustained and spectacular coastal walking and for its moorlands, especially wild Dartmoor with its tors, and there is much industrial heritage in its past mining industries.

West Midlands and the South Welsh Borders offers many fine hill ranges including the dramatic Malvern Hills and the Cotswolds fringes, along with some scenic river gorges where the Wye cuts the Forest of Dean. It is also a commercial heartland, with England’s second and walker-friendly city of Birmingham.

North West England includes, to the south of the Mersey river, the moorland Shropshire hills and the Cheshire ridge, and to its north the Lancashire moorlands and the west Pennine fringes, while along the Mersey’s populous estuary and its valley are its principal cities of Liverpool and Manchester, both with good urban trails. We also include here the coastal and inland trails on the Isle of Man, a UK Crown Protectorate.

Cumbria and Northumberland include the Lake District, a gem for hill walkers packed with ridge walking above its brimming lakes but with fewer major trails, while Northumberland offers the lonely rolling north Pennine moorlands and the Cheviot Hills, and its atmospheric coastline with dramatic ruined headland castles.

Northern England includes some great walking country, with much of the Pennines, the Dales, the heather-covered North York Moors and the gentler Yorkshire Wolds chalk downlands, and it is home to very many challenge walks.

East Central England has the Peak District as its main lure for walkers, with fine moorland edges, while nearer the coast are the gentler Lincolnshire Wolds.

East of England has the gentle hills and wide skies in East Anglia with the flat fenlands and the Broads, all contrasting with the inland greensand ridgeline, rising westwards towards the undulating Chiltern Hills and their glowing autumn beechwoods.

Northern Ireland: The 'Six Counties' of Northern Ireland, although only about 6% of the UK's land area, offer great variety for the walker, in landscapes forged by fire and ice, on mountains rising to almost 3000ft, and along its lengthy and scenic coastline.

Wales: The 'Land of My Fathers' offers a wide scenic range from the rugged peaks of Snowdonia in the north across the central mountains and moorlands to the angular Brecons Beacons in the south. There is a fine coastline with some superb long and unspoilt beaches, while an ancient earthwork, Offa's Dyke, traces much of the English border.

Scotland: With its great scenic variety, Scotland offers the walker a wide choice of walking styles, from easy lowland walks to backpacking epics across its beautiful, wild and remote hills.