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Explore Britain's National Trail network with a Cicerone guidebook

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.
We do not yet have any updates available for this book

We are always grateful to readers for information about any discrepancies between a guidebook and the facts on the ground. If you would like to send some information to us then please use our Feedback form. They will be published here following review by the author(s).


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


"A bible for serious walkers"

YHA magazine


"Paddy Dillon has walked all of Britain's National Trails at least twice and has also written five Cicerone guidebooks to six of them. so there could hardly be a more appropriate person to write this large format general book on Britain's National Trails.

This paperback book is not an actual guidebook to the National Trails (NTs) themselves, but more of a compendium, a reference book to the 19 Trails. After a 19-page general introduction. which includes some useful advice to newcomers to trail walking. the main body of the book consists of a description of the National Trails, one by one, starting with the longest. the South West Coast Path, followed by the remaining II paths in England. Then come the three National Trails in Wales and lastly the four Long Distance Routes north of the Border.

The book is attractively designed and each Trail is illustrated with a good selection of photographs. which will surely inspire both potential and seasoned NT walkers to don their boots and go. Pleasing colour sketch maps and height profiles of the routes are included. The work will appeal to National Trail Register members and others who 24 want an all·in·one reference book to the 19 NT walks. The overviews of each trail in the book should also be found useful by those walkers trying to decide which NT to choose for their next trail walking holiday. It will no doubt bring back fond memories of happy days spent walking the Trails for those readers who have already walked them."

Strider, the magazine of the Long Distance Walkers' Association

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