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Explore Britain's National Trail network with a Cicerone guidebook - Maps and Photos

Cover of The National Trails
8 Sep 2015
24.0 x 17.0 x 1.9cm
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The National Trails

Complete Guide to Britain's National Trails

by Paddy Dillon
Book published by Cicerone Press

This inspirational guidebook looks at each of the UK's 19 National Trails, with information that allows ease of comparison and contrast, inspiring you to find out more and to take up a long-distance challenge. Some Trails are short and easy, others much longer, many have strong themes - they may follow a coastline, or traverse ranges of hills.

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Cover: Paperback - Laminated
Size: 24.0 x 17.0 x 1.9cm
Weight: 810g

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This guidebook provides a comprehensive introduction to each of Britain's magnificent National Trails walking routes through England and Wales and the official long-distance routes in Scotland, revealing what makes them so special helping you choose the best routes for you and make the most of your time along them.


South West Coast Path
South Downs Way
North Downs Way
The Ridgeway
Thames Path
Cotswold Way
Peddars Way & Norfolk Coast Path
Yorkshire Wolds Way
Cleveland Way
Pennine Bridleway
Pennine Way
Hadrian's Wall Path


Pembrokeshire Coast Path
Offas Dyke Path
Glyndwyrs Way


Southern Upland Way
Speyside Way
West Highland Way
Great Glen Way

In 1965 as the first National Trail in the country was opened – ‘a Pennine Way from the Peak to the Cheviots’. Together, the National Trails cover well over 5000km (3100 miles), exploring the rich, scenic, historic countryside of Britain. Some trails are short and easy, while others are long and challenging. Some have a strong theme, following rugged coastlines or meandering rivers. Others use ancient cross-country routes or follow the courses of ancient boundaries.

Author Paddy Dillon has walked all 19 routes described here not just one, but twice. The National Trails (know in Scotland as Scotland’s Great Trails) wriggle their way through some of Britain's finest landscapes, making them readily accessible and allowing walkers to explore these areas with relative ease. 

Packed with information, this guide will help you get out and walk the finest long-distance routes in the country.

  • Outline schedules to allow you to compare the routes and organise your own walking itinerary.
  • Basic day-by-day route descriptions illustrated with maps and profiles.
  • Information on access to and from the route, maps, public transport, guidebooks, tourist information centres, accommodation and useful websites.


  • Activities
    Long-distance walking and backpacking
  • Seasons
    All trails can be tackled throughout the year, though many of the northern and Scottish routes can be challenging in winter conditions. Avoid the Hadrian's Wall Path in winter, as the ground is soft and underlying archaeology easily damaged.
  • Difficulty
    The routes vary in both length and technical difficulty, the longest being the South West Coast Path and the most difficult possibly the Pennine Way.
  • Must See
    Broad views and unspoilt landscapes in some of Britain's best walking areas - from thunderous breaking waves against the cliffs on the South West Coast Path to Buachaille Etive Mor at the gateway to Glen Coe.
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Route Summary Table


Wanted: A Long Green Trail
Making Trails
Trail Theme
Path Associations
Long-distance Laughs
Food and Drink
Tourist Information Centres
Preparing for a Long Walk
General Fitness
Best Time of Year
Making Time
Who’s Going?
Public Transport
Daily Routine


1 South West Coast Path
2 South Downs Way
3 North Downs Way
4 The Ridgeway
5 Thames Path
6 Cotswold Way
7 Peddars Way and Norfolk Coast Path
8 Yorkshire Wolds Way
9 Cleveland Way
10 Pennine Bridleway
11 Pennine Way
12 Hadrian’s Wall Path  


13 Pembrokeshire Coast Path
14 Offa’s Dyke Path  
15 Glyndwr’s Way


16 Southern Upland Way  
17 Speyside Way  
18 West Highland Way  
19 Great Glen Way

APPENDIX 1 Useful Contacts
APPENDIX 2 England Coast Path


Front Cover The broad waters of Langdon Beck are followed past isolated  whitewashed farms (Day 10, Pennine Way) A walker approaches the Wain Stones on Hasty Bank (Day 3, Cleveland Way) Attractive Rocky Valley is passed on the way from Boscastle Harbour to Tintagel Head Bushes blossom beside the South Downs Way on the slopes of Westburton Hill (Day 3) A field path climbs over a gentle rise on the way to the village of Otford Flowery riverside meadows are preserved as nature reserves beyond Cricklade The Cotswold Way runs along the flanks of Cleeve Common high above Cheltenham A straight stretch of the Peddars Way runs through fields near Swaffham A fine little pond in the heart of Londesborough Park attracts a variety of wildfowl (Day 3) A fine moorland track crosses a shallow valley holding the Oldham reservoirs (Day 4)
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