Welcome to Great Britain, the best place to walk on the planet!

Britain has 140,000 miles of footpaths - probably the longest network of established paths, tracks, bridleways and trails of any developed country of comparable size and population density.


The honeypots where everyone wants to walk: The Lakes, the Dales, Snowdonia, Cairngorm and the Peak District are magnets for walkers and the routes across them well documented and equally well-worn.

We can climb the highest hills in the land, follow the coastline for dozens of miles, make pilgrimages to sacred sites or step back in time to explore places of huge historical importance. And lest we get lost, many of the most popular trails are conveniently sign-posted.

But what makes Britain truly amazing as a walking destination is the wealth of access to the nation's less well-known landscapes - ancient holloways through native woodland, footpaths beside verdant water meadows or industrial canals, byways and bridleways between towns and villages - a vast network of tracks and trails stretching out through time and space from prehistory to the industrial revolution.

It's easy to take this wonderful legacy for granted, but it's only when you try to go for a quiet stroll in another country that you begin to realise just how lucky we are in Britain. Not only do we have the most extensive network of way-marked rights of way anywhere in the developed world - we also have universal access to the most detailed mapping on the planet - courtesy of Ordnance Survey.

When we set out to find the best places to walk in Britain, we scoured the whole country in search of these hidden gems off the beaten track in every corner of the UK.

Tapping into the local knowledge of our network of experienced routes writers, we asked them to share the best walks on their patch. As you'll see if you pick up a copy of the Spring issue of Country Walking, some of the crowd-pleasers mentioned above feature in their recommendations, but the routes we've chosen often avoid the headline summits and well-worn paths.

The mountains we scale in our special spring issue: The Best Places to Walk in Britain aren't the highest in the land and the routes may not be the longest, but we're confident there will be at least one route in our line-up within striking distance of your home.

What these wonderful walks all have in common is that they take you into the most striking scenery in Britain and reflect the wonderful diversity of landscapes we are lucky to be able to enjoy on foot.

Walk a few of them and you'll be in no doubt that these are the best places to walk in Britain. Walk them all and you might just reach the conclusion that Britain is one of the best places to walk on the planet.

*Country Walking's special Spring issue 'The Best Places to Walk in Britain' goes on sale on February 27. Every walk featured comes complete with a compact route card with easy-to-follow directions and Ordnance Survey mapping.