Profitable tip: mystic river, Peak District

My favorite railway stroll is alongside the Manifold Track, a slender gauge railway within the Peak District that closed in 1934 and was in all probability one of many first railways to turn out to be a footpath, because of the foresight of Staffordshire Council. That is limestone nation and filled with curiosity. The mysterious River Manifold disappears underground utterly in the summertime slightly below the outdated halt at Wetton Mill and picturesque Thor’s cave overlooks the tiny monitor mattress that winds its method up the valley crossing no fewer than 27 bridges on its method from Waterhouses to Hulme Finish, the place bikes may be employed. Children love biking by way of Swainsley Tunnel and don’t neglect to cease for cream tea at Wetton Mill.
Mark Dancer

New Wye valley path, for views and ruins

The old Wireworks rail bridge at Tintern .
The outdated Wireworks rail bridge at Tintern kinds a part of the Wye Valley Greenway. {Photograph}: Andrew Baskott/Alamy

The UK’s latest railway stroll (and cycle journey) is the just-opened spectacular Wye Valley Greenway. This five-mile route hyperlinks the outskirts of Chepstow with Tintern – because of the work of decided volunteers. Highlights embody the 1km Tidenham Tunnel (closed at evening), views of the River Wye and its dramatic cliffs, and crossing the bridge into Tintern, the place there are cafes and pubs for refreshment, and the abbey ruins. You will get there on the practice – Chepstow railway station is lower than a mile from the beginning.
Ben Searle


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Victorian rail hub, Merseyside

Ducky Pond sign on the Halewood Triangle, Merseyside.
Myriad paths wander by way of woodland within the Halewood Triangle. {Photograph}: Jennifer Jones

Within the nineteenth century, Halewood Triangle was a hub of railway exercise as two predominant rail traces converged right here. Right now it’s a honeypot for native folks and guests to ramble round. The previous railway monitor hosts the Trans Pennine Path, excellent for walkers and cyclists alike. Different paths snake by way of woodland wealthy in gnarled bushes. The Ducky Pond is a very nice draw for a restful break. Verges crammed with wildflowers improve a summer time stroll. A mini gymnasium gives leisure for the youngsters. Throughout there are reminders of this website’s necessary railway heritage.
Jennifer Jones

Richmond to Easby Abbey, North Yorkshire

Walkers crossing the old railway bridge over the Swale by Easby Abbey, outside Richmond, North Yorkshire.
Walkers crossing the outdated railway bridge over the Swale by Easby Abbey, outdoors Richmond. {Photograph}: Phil Crean A/Alamy

The Station in Richmond is now a beautiful arts venue and cinema with a restaurant and small outlets. Head off down the disused railway line on a round 3½-mile stroll that can take you over the River Swale, stated to be England’s fastest-flowing river, and to the enchanting ruins of Easby Abbey, painted by JMW Turner (entry free). Subsequent to the abbey is the little church of Saint Agatha’s. Proceed alongside the trail by way of a area of sheep (preserve canines on a lead) and down into the woods alongside the river. Cross the memorial to the Little Drummer Boy and again over Mercury Bridge to the station.

Idyllic villages and Pooh, East Sussex

Pooh Corner, near the Forest Way in East Sussex.
Pooh Nook in Hartfield village is an fascinating diversion off the Forest Method. {Photograph}: Adam van Bunnens/Alamy

Ranging from, considerably satirically, Beeching Method in East Grinstead (Baron Beeching, who axed so many railway traces, was an area resident) walkers and cyclists can take the Forest Way to Groombridge; a 10-mile path that takes up a lot of the outdated practice monitor that related Tunbridge Wells to East Grinstead. Alongside the best way you may cease off close to Forest Row for a few of Tablehurst Group Farm’s bio-dynamic sausage rolls, in Hartfield for some “pooh-phernalia” from Pooh Corner earlier than ending up in Groombridge, on the border with Kent and from the place the Spa Valley Railway brings the practice tracks again to life, providing steam providers to Tunbridge Wells (from 22 Might). In between you’re handled to some superb views: dragonflies, damselflies, foxes, newts, birds and badgers all use this inexperienced hall, so despite the fact that it’s solely a brief hop between every of the villages you’re feeling miles away from anyplace.

Woods and water, South Staffordshire/West Midlands

South Staffordshire Railway Walk
The South Staffordshire Railway Stroll may be become a round route of 9 miles. {Photograph}: Colin Pearson

The South Staffordshire Railway Walk runs from Wombourne to Aldersley in Wolverhampton. There are nice cafes at both finish so when you stroll there and again you may refuel at the beginning, center and finish of your stroll. The beginning and finish factors additionally hyperlink to canal walks with the prettiest on the historic Bratch Locks, and you may flip it right into a round stroll of about 9 miles utilizing the canal hyperlink. Alongside the outdated railway line there’s fascinating graffiti artwork underneath bridges, and tempting diversions alongside paths working by way of woodland alongside the principle path. You can too embody an amble by way of Smestow Valley nature reserve (a superb location for a picnic).
Colin Pearson

Arthur’s Seat to the ocean, Edinburgh

Cyclist on the Innocent Railway path towards Portobello from central Edinburgh.
The Harmless Railway path makes use of disused suburban traces. {Photograph}: Arch White/Alamy

Edinburgh’s former railway traces provide a few of my favorite metropolis walks, which make you’re feeling miles away from the bustle of the city. Beginning at Arthur’s Seat, you may observe the Innocent Railway path by way of a 518-metre tunnel after which all the best way all the way down to the seashore at Portobello. The outdated suburban line permits a complete loop of the town, with sections of various lengths relying how far you wish to stroll, and with common entry factors. Look out for the outdated station platforms alongside the route – my favorite down close to Granton, has been become a home. Info boards alongside the route give data on the historical past of the areas and the railway line.

Historical past from iron age to D-day, Hampshire

Bridge over the former Meon Valley Railway, dismantled in the 1950s and now a heritage trail.
Nature seems to be reclaiming this bridge over the previous Meon Valley Railway. {Photograph}: David Robinson/Alamy

The trackbed of the previous Meon Valley Railway, between Wickham and West Meon in Hampshire, shouldn’t be missed for walkers, households and practice fans. The route gives a flat and well-managed route straight into the gorgeous Meon Valley. In simply 10 miles, it packs in a collection of sinuous chalk streams, historical church buildings, gently sloping downland and even an iron age hillfort. The superbly preserved former station at Droxford, assembly place of the Allied Leaders in 1944, shouldn’t be missed and demonstrates how former railway infrastructure can shortly tackle a brand new lease of life after closure. Seize a pint on the White Lion in, look forward to it, Soberton.

Strawberry fields, Somerset

A family cycles on the Strawberry Line
‘Like disappearing down a hall into the previous’ – the Shute Shelve tunnel. {Photograph}: Joe Dunckley/Alamy

Strolling into the darkish entrance of the 165-metre Shute Shelve tunnel of the Strawberry Line in Somerset is like disappearing down a hall into the previous. The ten-mile route takes its identify from the previous railway which carried strawberries from the fields round Cheddar. Working previous the river Yeo and Sandford Orchards cider maker, this rail path presents wonderful views of the rolling countryside. You’ll want to begin with a espresso on the kiosk in Yatton Village, run by volunteers who helped renovate the stroll, and revel in a cease on the still-intact platforms at Winscombe station.

Observe that bus, Cambridgeshire

Couple walking beside Cambridge Guided Busway at St Ives.
Particular buses observe the disused Cambridge-St Ives rail monitor – and so does Nationwide Cycle Community’s route 51. {Photograph}: Roger Fletcher/Alamy

The northern stretch of the Cambridge Guided Busway follows the course of the previous Cambridge-St Ives railway line. Alongside that is a part of the Nationwide Cycle Community’s route 51, a clean asphalt monitor affording leisurely walks or cycles by way of hedge-lined farmland. It additionally bisects the RSPB reserve at Fen Drayton, its glistening lakes the results of former sand and gravel quarrying. Latest highlights embody seeing swallows skimming the grassy earthworks of Swavesey Priory and having fun with a skylark music soundtrack. And if weary after strolling, you may all the time catch a bus again.
Sharon Pinner

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