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Stretching from Cheshire right up to Cumbria and the Scottish border, walks in North West England feature a vast range of spectacular scenery. Within this region lies the majestic Lake District, the Forest of Bowland and an impressive coastline.
You’ll find a richness of landscapes on your hikes in North West England that’s underlined by the incredible mountains and valleys of the Lakes. The walks through the Solway Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) also fall within this area and an uncountable number of lowland trails will take you through fields, over commons and along rivers.
The North West is home to the major cities of Manchester and Liverpool but aside from these cultural centres, the region is largely rural. When you start adventuring in the North West, you’ll find extremes of landscape, dramatic views and friendly faces.
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Setting up home in Grasmere and, later Ambleside, William Wordsworth most certainly fell in love with the Lake District. This national park has an undeniable power over the British walking community and is famous for its endless trails, sweeping views and challenging mountains.
The Lake District is where you’ll find many of the best hiking trails in North West England and you can’t go far wrong choosing routes either. From the stunning Coniston Water and famous Windermere to the towering Scafell Pike and peaceful Ullswater, each and every inch of the Lakes is a true joy.
You can pick a village to base yourself in and stride out on day hikes or walk from lake to lake on a multi-day expedition. Best sling your camera over your shoulder, you’ll use it so much there’s no point in it being in your backpack.
For tree-lined hikes in North West England, the Arnside and Silverdale AONB just south of the Lake District on Morecambe Bay is a wonderful place to explore on foot. This area has woodlands, heaths and fantastic nature reserves. The woodlands at Marble Quarry and Underlaid have a variety of pretty trails and when you walk to Arnside Park, you’ll have tremendous views of the bay.
South of Manchester, Alderley Edge woodlands are criss-crossed with paths and it’s easy to choose circular hikes amongst beautiful scenery. On the southern edge of the Forest of Bowland AONB (less a forest, more a vast area of sweeping moorland), you can explore Beacon Fell Country Park and its dark, atmospheric forest. Amongst the trees you can ascend to get wonderful views across this hilly region.
Coastal walks in North West England don’t get as much air time as their southerly peers but they absolutely have the capacity to blow you away. The trails between Whitehaven and St. Bees Head are exhilirating with astounding views of the swirling water and more birds than seems reasonable. Anyone with a love of seabirds will be in paradise here, with black guillemots and puffins to charm you.
Sunderland Point is another stunning patch of coastal glory to explore or why not follow the canal between Morecambe and Hest Bank? The Ribble and Alt Estuaries area is yet another spot where walking will show you unusual birds, salt marshes and sand dunes. Toads, lizards and water voles all call this home.
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Explore more of England: Browse the best Hikes in other regions.