Beyond Walking: Train Adventures for National Walking Month



7 min read

National Walking Month is a fantastic excuse to explore the UK on foot, but what if you're looking for something a little different? Trains offer a gateway to a variety of experiences, and here are some ideas to inspire your next adventure:

1. Hafren Forest, WalesBreathe in the Tranquility of Ancient Woodlands (with a Boardwalk Option!)

Hafren Forest
Image credit: Maddie Red Photography | Getty Images

  • Nearest Train Station: Caersws
  • Walk: Hafren Forest (with options for all abilities)

Nestled amidst the rolling hills of Wales, the Hafren Forest offers a haven of peace and quiet, catering to walkers of all abilities. If you're looking for a gentle stroll with a stunning payoff, the Cascades Walk is an excellent option.

The Cascades Walk:

  • Distance: ½ mile (0.8 km)
  • Accessibility: Wheelchair accessible with a boardwalk section
  • Time: 30 minutes

This short trail follows the riverside along the Severn River, with a section featuring a boardwalk. It leads to a raised platform offering breathtaking views of the cascading waterfalls.

For those seeking a more challenging adventure, Hafren Forest offers a variety of other trails. Explore the website to discover the perfect route for your fitness level and interests.

Inspiration: Embrace the serenity. Pack a mindfulness journal and find a quiet spot on the platform to reflect on the beauty of the cascades. Breathe in the fresh air, listen to the sounds of rushing water, and allow yourself to truly connect with the natural world.

2. The Scottish Borders: Secluded Hills and Hidden Waterfalls Await

St Abb's Head Walk
Image credit: 1111IESPDJ | Getty Images Signature

  • Nearest Train Station: Berwick-Upon-Tweed
  • Walk: St Abb's Head Walk (5 miles)

Escape to the rugged beauty of the Scottish Borders with this invigorating walk starting at Berwick-Upon-Tweed station. The trail leads you around the Mire Loch and up the cliffs of St Abb's Head National Nature Reserve, offering breathtaking coastal scenery.

St Abb's Head Walk

  • Terrain: Tarmaced road and grassy paths alongside high cliffs with some short steep inclines. Some of the paths can be muddy and care is needed near the cliff edges.
  • Highlights:
    • Dramatic coastal headland with stunning views
    • Highly populated bird nesting areas
    • Historic lighthouse in operation since 1862
    • Potential for spotting playful dolphins and soaring seabirds
  • Amenities: Tea room and toilets adjacent to the car park

Inspiration: Enhance your walk by becoming a citizen scientist. Download a birdwatching app and see how many feathered friends you can identify along the way. Contribute to conservation efforts by logging your sightings and helping researchers understand local bird populations.

Keep in mind: While some sections are paved, be prepared for uneven terrain and potential mud. Always exercise caution near cliff edges and prioritise your safety throughout the walk.

3. The Brecon Beacons: Explore a National Park Off the Beaten Path

Four Falls Walk
Image credit: Hardyuno | Getty Images

The Brecon Beacons National Park offers a haven for nature lovers, and Waterfall Country is a hidden gem within this already stunning landscape. Escape the crowds and explore a network of cascading waterfalls accessible from Merthyr Tydfil station.

Waterfall Country Options:

  • Four Falls Trail (from Cwm Porth car park): This 6-mile route takes you past four of the most impressive waterfalls: Sgwd yr Eira, Sgwd Clun-Gwyn, Sgwd Isaf Clun-Gwyn, and Sgwd-yr-Pannwr. The car park offers pay and display parking, an information point, and toilets (details).
  • Sgwd yr Eira Trail (from Dinas Rock car park): If you're looking for a shorter option, this trail leads directly to Sgwd-yr-Eira waterfall. This car park also offers pay and display parking (details).

Exploring Waterfall Country:

Waterfall Country boasts an unparalleled concentration of waterfalls within a compact area. The Mellte, Hepste, Pyrddin,Nedd Fechan, and Sychryd rivers carve their way through deep, wooded gorges, creating a dramatic backdrop for these cascading wonders. Whether you seek a full-day adventure or a leisurely stroll, there's a path waiting to be discovered.


  • The Brecon Beacons National Park website provides more details on Waterfall Country, including additional walks and points of interest: details
  • Most of Waterfall Country is managed jointly by Natural Resources Wales and the National Park Authority. These organisations maintain the trails, ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience.

Remember: Pack appropriate footwear for uneven terrain and potential mud. With its diverse range of waterfalls and breathtaking scenery, Waterfall Country offers a unique escape for all levels of walkers in the Brecon Beacons National Park.

4. Northumberland Coast: A Walk Back in Time with Unparalleled Coastline Vistas

Unstanburgh Castle and Embleton Bay Walk
Image credit: iwfrazer | Getty Images

Discover a unique blend of history and nature with this walk along the Northumberland Coast. The path takes you along a golden sand beach, the perfect place to sink your toes into the soft sand and feel the invigorating ocean breeze. As you continue, the imposing ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle rise from the cliffs, a reminder of the area's rich history. Enjoy the vastness of the coastline and the serenity of the secluded coves, a perfect escape from the everyday.

Walk Details:

  • Distance: 5.6 miles (adjustable based on beach walk preference)
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Time: Allow 2-3 hours for a leisurely pace, including time to explore the castle

The most convenient way to travel from Alnmouth to Craster by public transport is to take the Arriva service X18 bus. The journey takes approximately 36 minutes. You can board the bus at the village center bus stop in Alnmouth and alight at The Craster Car Park. Link to bus service

Google Maps link to Craster Car Park

Inspiration: Research the history of Dunstanburgh Castle before your walk. Imagine the stories its walls hold, the battles fought, and the lives lived within its grounds. As you explore the ruins, let your imagination transport you back in time and immerse yourself in the castle's past.

5. The New Forest: Explore Ancient Woodlands and Roaming Ponies

Ornamental Drive and Rhinefield House
Image credit: merlinpf | Getty Images

Step into a world of ancient woodlands and roaming ponies with this walk in the heart of the New Forest National Park. Starting at Brockenhurst station, the route follows the scenic Ornamental Drive, a historic route boasting towering trees and vibrant wildlife. Keep your eyes peeled for the iconic New Forest ponies, a unique breed that has roamed freely in the park for centuries. Enjoy the tranquility of the forest and the beauty of Rhinefield House, a stunning country estate that adds a touch of grandeur to your walk.

This easy 2-mile (3.5-kilometer) circular route is perfect for families, casual walkers, and anyone seeking a tranquil escape.

Inspiration: Learn about the history of the New Forest and the unique ponies that call it home. Discover how these resilient creatures have adapted to their environment and the role they play in maintaining the delicate balance of the forest ecosystem.

Planning Your Walk:

  • Footwear: While the paths are well-maintained, comfortable walking shoes are recommended.
  • Amenities: Picnic areas are available along the route, making it a perfect opportunity to pack a lunch and enjoy the natural beauty.
  • Things to Do: After your walk, consider exploring the wider New Forest National Park. Visit charming villages, go cycling on scenic trails, or learn more about the park's unique wildlife.

Embrace the tranquility of the New Forest and embark on a historical and scenic journey with the Ornamental Drive and Rhinefield House Walk. This walk is a perfect way to connect with nature, learn about the region's rich heritage, and create lasting memories.

Remember, these are just a taste of the many tranquil train-accessible walks waiting to be discovered. With a little research, you can unearth hidden gems all over the UK, perfect for a peaceful escape this National Walking Month. So, ditch the car, pack your walking essentials, hop on a train, and embark on a journey of tranquility. Breathe in the fresh air, immerse yourself in stunning scenery, and discover the hidden wonders that await you just beyond the bustle of everyday life.

Image credit: pixdeluxe | Getty Images Signature

Here are some additional tips to enhance your tranquil train walk experience:

  • Go early or late: Beat the crowds by setting off for your walk early in the morning or later in the afternoon.
  • Pack light snacks: Bring energising snacks like nuts, fruits, or granola bars to keep your energy levels up without weighing you down.
  • Dress appropriately: Wear comfortable layers that can be adjusted based on the weather conditions.
  • Download a map: While many trails are well-marked, having a map downloaded on your phone can provide peace of mind and help you navigate any unexpected detours.
  • Leave no trace: Respect the environment by taking all your rubbish with you and sticking to designated paths.

National Walking Month is the perfect opportunity to reconnect with nature, find your inner peace, and create lasting memories. So lace up your walking boots, embrace the serenity of the countryside, and let the train take you on an unforgettable adventure.

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