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10 exquisite hill hikes — Little Hills of Joy

Martinwalford

10 exquisite hill hikes — Little Hills of Joy

Hiking Collection by Country Walking Magazine

10

Tours

24:39 h

48.6 mi

9,650 ft

Welcome to Walking! This beautiful Collection is inspired by Welcome to Walking, a 32-page guide included with the January 2022 issue of Country Walking, Britain’s bestselling walking magazine. Produced in association with komoot, it’s the complete guide to getting started in the world of walking: where to go, what to look for, how to stay on track, what to wear – and why it’s the healthiest, happiest, simplest and free-est outdoor activity on the planet.

This Collection showcases 10 classic hillwalks, each taking you to a summit that packs a scenic punch to rival most mountains. These are hills that have enchanted walkers for centuries. Some have inspired legendary tales, while others were the muse of some of Britain's great personalities, such as explorer Captain James Cook, author Beatrix Potter or composer Ralph Vaughn Williams. From the chalk escarpment of the South Downs, all the way up to the Trossachs on the threshold of the Scottish Highlands, you’ll discover that our land is rich in little hills of joy.

The 10 walks range from 2.5 to 10 miles (4 to 16 km) and all entail a modest amount of elevation gain. Each route — except for Butser Hill — should take less than a few hours, making them ideal for brisk morning hikes, afternoon ambles or exciting evening outings during the summer months. Any reasonably fit walker will have no trouble and the itineraries are such that you can take your time over the ascents if necessary.

These hills can be tackled at any time of year and each season brings its own charms, from spring’s displays of colour and long, lazy summer afternoons to the magical, golden light of late autumn and the crunch of frosty earth in winter. If anything, by avoiding peak times you are more likely to have the summits to yourself.

Regardless of the season, these hikes are prone to challenging weather, as some of them explore hills in our most mountainous regions, which attract precipitation and changeable conditions like moths to a flame. Other hills in the Collection are prominent or isolated high points, their summits exposed to the elements. To deal with this, we recommend sturdy hiking boots, waterproofs and warm layers. In the summer months, sun protection is also essential.

The highest hills in this Collection — Moel Famau, Catbells, Ben A’an, Mam Tor, the Eildons and the Malverns — usually see at least one period of snow cover in the winter. However, it is vanishingly rare that the use of crampons or an ice axe would be necessary.

Most of the walks visit places where you can buy something to eat and drink, though taking a picnic to these exceptional viewpoints is perhaps the better option. Pack plenty of water as, even if some of these routes are short, the ascents will soon have you working up a thirst, particularly in warm weather.

So, grab your backpack, have your camera ready, round up some friends and head for these exquisite little hills of joy!

On The Map

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Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors
    Easy
    01:26
    2.77 mi
    1.9 mph
    575 ft
    575 ft
    Easy hike. Great for any fitness level. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Roseberry Topping is one of the most recognisable and charismatic objects in the North York Moors National Park. Such is its prominence above the surrounding landscape, it has earned the moniker ‘the Matterhorn of Yorkshire.’ Unlike the famous Swiss mountain, you don’t need to be an alpinist with nerves of steel to get to the top; this is a walk …

  • Intermediate
    02:19
    4.14 mi
    1.8 mph
    1,125 ft
    1,125 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    An icon of the Lake District, Catbells’ gorgeous form and easy access elevate it above the likes of Haystacks and Helm Crag to claim the title of the national park’s most beloved mountain-in-miniature. Catbells is a marriage of shapeliness and splendour, offering just enough challenge to enthral the entire family and rewarding the intrepid with an astonishing summit panorama that’s …

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  • Intermediate
    04:24
    9.79 mi
    2.2 mph
    925 ft
    925 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Boasting superb views and a wealth of vibrant flora and fauna, Butser Hill and the wider Queen Elizabeth Country Park are a delight to explore. At 889 feet (271 m) above sea level, Butser Hill is the highest point on the chalk ridge of the South Downs and the second highest in the National Park, behind the Weald’s Blackdown.

    This …

  • Intermediate
    02:56
    5.60 mi
    1.9 mph
    1,300 ft
    1,300 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Geological wonder, ancient history, fascinating folklore and scenic splendour combine in the Eildon Hills, a beloved trio of little peaks in the quiet countryside of the Scottish Borders. Promising sublime views of Teviotdale, the evidence of a Neolithic fort and associations with legendary characters like the prophet Thomas the Rhymer, a wizard named Michael Scot and King Arthur, there’s plenty …

  • Intermediate
    02:34
    4.89 mi
    1.9 mph
    1,200 ft
    1,175 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    At 1,821 feet (555 m) above sea level, Moel Famau is the loftiest of our 10 Little Hills of Joy and is also the highest point in North Wales’ Clwydian Range. This glorious hill will be familiar to anyone who has tackled the Offa’s Dyke Path, one of Britain’s most spellbinding long-distance trails. The Path visits the summit and its …

  • Intermediate
    02:42
    5.07 mi
    1.9 mph
    1,250 ft
    1,250 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    The Malvern Hills rise steeply and unexpectedly above Worcestershire’s patchwork pastures as a long, north-to-south ridge that looks like it’s been hauled down from the Pennines or the eastern Lake District. Separating the counties of Worcestershire and Herefordshire, the ridge’s prominence rewards explorers with simply huge views of the surrounding countryside.

    Starting at the station, follow Clarence Road to Priory …

  • Easy
    01:15
    2.57 mi
    2.1 mph
    450 ft
    400 ft
    Easy hike. Great for any fitness level. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    With associations to some of the nation’s greatest scientists and musical composers; surrounded by beautiful forest trails that burst with life in spring and summer; crowned by a majestic 18th-century Gothic tower and standing proud as the highest point on Southeast England’s Greensand Ridge, Leith Hill has a lot going for it. A walk to its summit is richly rewarding …

  • Intermediate
    02:19
    4.15 mi
    1.8 mph
    1,100 ft
    1,125 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    For many young hikers, Ben A’an’s astonishing, craggy apex is their first taste of Highland grandeur. This mini mountain, standing proud and defiant in the midst of the Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park, has the swagger and the personality to trump many much loftier summits. Rarely does a modest hill walk reward with such drama and scenic majesty. …

  • Intermediate
    02:23
    4.70 mi
    2.0 mph
    925 ft
    925 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    For a national park mostly characterised by gritstone edges, wild moorland, green valleys and limestone gorges, it sometimes seems odd that there aren’t many proper peaks in the Peak District. Mam Tor bucks this trend. While it may not have the pointiness of a Highland Stob, a Cuillin Sgurr or a Chamonix Aiguille, it nevertheless rises beautifully as the central …

  • Intermediate
    02:24
    4.93 mi
    2.1 mph
    825 ft
    825 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Some hills are so remarkably located and achieve such prominence over the surrounding land that the locals can’t help but bestow them with the title of ‘mountain’. Holyhead Mountain is one such example, rising to 720 feet (220 m) as the highest point not only on Holy Island, but the whole of Anglesey, its rugged character and sensational views make …

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    10
  • Distance
    48.6 mi
  • Duration
    24:39 h
  • Elevation
    9,650 ft

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10 exquisite hill hikes — Little Hills of Joy