We're lucky to have four of Britain's finest National Trails here in Yorkshire.
So take your pick. The Cleveland Way roller-coasts around the North York Moors from Helmsley to the coast. The Yorkshire Wolds Way rambles through peaceful fields and over gentle chalk-hills.
Or for something more strenuous, the Pennine Way strides through the Yorkshire Dales on its mammoth journey from the Peak District to Scotland. Or maybe the purpose built Pennine Bridleway is your kind of walk, bike or horse ride?
Try a Trail
One of the best things about these trails, apart from the amazing scenery, is how easy it is to sample them. You don't have to do the whole thing end-to-end. And you don't have to be hardy hiker. You can stroll along a route for a few hours then loop back to your start-point. Try a Trail downloadable walks and rides are short day routes that take in highlights, without the need to do all the miles. Download a Try a Trail here.
Once you've sampled a few days on one of Yorkshire's National Trails, walking a route in its entirety will surely be your next aim. It may take a week or longer, but the sense of achievement is supreme, while close contact with the natural environment provides its own spiritual rewards - and it doesn't do the waistline any harm either.
Our walkers come in all different varieties. Some like to do it in style, staying at good B&Bs and having their luggage brought on each day by a baggage handling company, while many like to enjoy shorter walks just for the day. But there's still a place for the hardy hiker seeking the thrill and challenge of being exposed to some of the most outstanding scenery in Britain.
Distance: 109 miles (98 miles in Yorkshire)
Duration: 9 days
Start: Helmsley, North Yorkshire
Finish: Filey Brigg, North Yorkshire
Follow the fantastic scenery of the North York Moors National Park, crossing stunning lengths of heather moorland and providing spectacular views of the North Yorkshire coastline. Starting from the attractive market town of Helmsley, the trail heads across the inspirational, and sometimes vibrant heather moorland of the North York Moors, before reaching the coast at Saltburn. From here it's a visual feast along the dramatic North Yorkshire coastline to Filey, passing old fishing villages and lively coastal towns, including Staithes and Whitby.
Along the way there is a wealth of history and heritage to enjoy. Helmsley Castle, Rievaulx Abbey, Mount Grace Priory, Gisborough Priory, Whitby Abbey and Scarborough Castle to name just a few special sites.
A good level of fitness is needed to walk the whole route in one go, especially if you carry your own gear. However you can do a short section or a day walk which would be much easier. The distance you walk is entirely up to you - maybe you'll enjoy a few hours steady saunter, or maybe a few days trekking. Accommodation and pubs are great along the route. You're sure to get a warm Yorkshire welcome! The shoulder seasons in spring and autumn are good times to walk the Way. It will be quieter and it can be easier to book accommodation.
Filey Brigg is also the northern end of the Yorkshire Wolds Way, so why not keep going for another week of waking on one of Yorkshire's Top Trails?
For a real test of stamina, if you can manage another 48 miles walking, follow the Tabular Hills Walk between Scarborough and Helmsley, to complete the circuit around the North York Moors National Park, and you'll be able to travel by train to Scarborough, Whitby, Saltburn, Great Ayton or Kildale to start it.
The Cleveland Way website tell you all need to know to plan your walking holiday, including where to stay along the way, places to see and visit along the way, and guidebooks and maps to buy.
Coast Alive Tracker Packs have just been launched so visitors to Robin Hood's Bay or Ravenscar can find out more about the wildlife and heritage of these picturesque villages and the surrounding coastline. Pick up a rucksack packed with lots of fun nature activities and fascinating facts to enjoy on a short walk from either Robin Hood's Bay or Ravenscar. Great for all the family. What's more it's FREE! You just need to bring a £10 deposit and proof of ID to enjoy the Tracker Packs.
Each pack contains a route map for a short walk using the seashore and the Cleveland Way National Trail, binoculars, a magnifying glass plus fun nature activities and wildlife identification guides.
Available from the Old Coastguard Station (for Robin Hood's Bay) and the National Trust's Ravenscar Visitor Centre, the Robin Hood's Bay Tracker Pack can be pre-booked by calling 01947 885900 and the Ravenscar Tracker Pack by calling 01723 870138. Alternatively, people can just turn up and request one.
Distance: 270 miles (80 miles in Yorkshire)
Duration: 6 to 19 days
Start: Edale, Peak District
Finish: Kirk Yetholm in the Scottish Borders
The Way takes you from the Peak District along the Pennine ridge, through the Yorkshire Dales and beyond. There are plenty of historical and cultural interest sites along the way to be enjoyed too. Starting at the scene of the Kinder Scout mass trespasses of the 1930s, walk through the Southern Pennines, the cradle of the Industrial Revolution, pass Haworth, home of the Brontë sisters, across the limestone country of the Yorkshire Dales, and enter an area renowned for its lead mining history. Finally you'll reach the Roman Wall and beyond that the territory of the Scottish Border rivers.
The Pennine Way takes you into isolated country. As with all walks, sound planning is important. Brush up your navigation skills, carry the appropriate large-scale maps and know how to use them. There are sections of the route, especially at each end, which require careful thought about accommodation and advance booking is advisable at most times of the year.
The Yorkshire stretch is full of great pubs and accommodation, and don't forget to check out the community café, Café 106.9FM in Cowling, North Yorkshire, only a few hundred yards from the Pennine Way.
It's a life affirming (possibly changing) experience and the Pennine Way website are full of information to help you plan for this challenging trek, including where to stay along the way, guidebooks and maps to buy, and support services.
Distance: 350 miles (when complete)
The Pennine Bridleway is one of the newest National Trails and the first purpose built trail of its kind designed specifically for horse-riders, off-road cyclists and walkers to enjoy. The entire Pennine Bridleway will eventually run for 350 miles (560km) from the High Peak Trail in Derbyshire to Byrness, Northumberland. It follows a mix of old packhorse routes and drove roads, often sensitively refurbished and upgraded, linked with newly created stretches of bridleway.
It's well signposted and maintained, which means you don't have to be a serious mountain biker to enjoy some of our finest mountain bike country.
Open sections include 73 miles through Derbyshire to the South Pennines, the 47 mile Mary Towneley Loop, which runs close to Todmorden, and the 10 mile Settle Loop in the Yorkshire Dales.
The route through the Yorkshire Dales National Park is now fully constructed, but the National Park Authority are still finalising legal agreements with Network Rail for the three locations where the route crosses the Settle to Carlisle railway line. Technically, anyone going on to Network Rail property whilst using the route is committing a trespass until the agreements are in place. You can download maps of the route in the Yorkshire Dales here - the maps clearly indicate where the legal agreements are not yet in place. Users may wish to plan their own alternative routes to avoid current sections requiring legal agreements/landowner approval.
Agreements should be in place for an official summer 2012 launch, bringing the total distance of bridleway open to 200 miles. Keep an eye on our website for news.
Yorkshire Wolds Way
Distance: 79 miles
Duration: 6 days
Start: Hessle, East Yorkshire
Finish: Filey, North Yorkshire
A National Trail to savour. It's not too strenuous and offers a route where the peace and quiet of country life still dominate and the gentle charm of the Yorkshire Wolds leaves the walker refreshed in body and spirit. As well as being a National Trail, the Wolds Way National Trail forms part of the E2 European walking route.
If you're looking for your first National Trail to walk, then the Yorkshire Wolds Way gives you a not too challenging introduction.
It's only 79-miles long and the Wolds make for easier walking than the North Yorks Moors, the Dales and the rest of the Pennines in Yorkshire. There's a full range of information to help plan your trip on the Yorkshire Wolds Way website. To make things even easier there are train stations near the start of the walk on the shore of the Humber estuary in Hessle and its North Sea coast end in Filey.
Yorkshire Wolds Way Tracker Packs have also been launched. Aimed at families and schools/youth organisations, these are a great way to experience the countryside and interpret its wildlife and history. Tracker Packs can be hired from four locations.
Yorkshire Explorer will be your guide and companion to help you discover and explore the stunning landscape and magnificent countryside that is Yorkshire. From short strolls to challenging hikes we can help you plan and organise the most spectacular walking holiday imaginable.