The National Trails

19 Long-Distance Routes through England, Scotland and Wales

By Paddy Dillon

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.



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.


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

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.
8 Sep 2015
8 Nov 2018
24.0 x 17.0 x 1.9cm
  • Overview

    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.

  • Contents

    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

  • Updates
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    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 contact form. They will be published here following review by the author(s).

  • Reviews

    "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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Paddy Dillon

Paddy Dillon is a prolific walker and guidebook writer with over 90 guidebooks to his name, and contributions to 40 other titles. He has written for several outdoor magazines and other publications, and has appeared on radio and TV. Paddy is an indefatigable long-distance walker who has walked all of Britain’s National Trails and several European trails. He has also walked in Nepal, Tibet, Korea and the Rocky Mountains of Canada and the US. Paddy is a member of the Outdoor Writers and Photographers Guild and President of the Backpackers Club.

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