Forget about those unachievable fitness or weight loss driven New Year's resolutions. All you need is a dash of nature mixed with a helping of the great outdoors. It's simple.
Research has shown that a walk outside, surrounded by nature, has many proven health benefits:
- Lowers blood pressure
- Reduces stress related hormones.
- Improves mood and physical health
- Reduces the sense of loneliness
- Improves self-esteem and confidence
Connecting with nature and being outdoors requires little commitment, yet it can be extremely rewarding. So, with this in mind, we’ve created a list of seven hikes or challenges you can set yourself to reconnect with nature and the outdoors. Some will take more planning than others, but all will still be as enjoyable and beneficial.
Capital Ring Walk, London
Calling all Londoners, it’s time to put your trainers on and get outside. Living in a metropolis might deter you from thinking there’s nature beyond the concrete jungle, but if you look closely, the natural world exists in every corner of the capital.
The Capital Ring Walk is a 78 mile walking route sat within the M25. It’s the creme de la creme of urban hikes, taking in cityscapes and rural nature reserves, areas of scientific interest and open spaces. The Capital Ring is split into 15 easy-to-walk sections, ideal for any rambler, experienced or in-experienced. This is a great challenge which you could do across 7 to 15 weekends, it’s not strenuous but will get you up and out of the house.
Mount Snowdon is the highest peak in the Snowdonia National Park and in Wales. Sat in a place known as the dragon’s back, which marks all of the highest mountains through central Wales, means it’s located close to a fair few campsites, towns and villages that’ll have a bucket load of B&Bs, hotels and rentals .
Snowdon has seven walking routes up to the summit; the hardest being Crib Goch and the easiest known as Llanberis Path. There’s a route for everyone. Alternatively, if you don’t fancy a climb, you can still enjoy the stunning panoramic views by riding a train to the summit.
Conquer Ben Nevis
The highest mountain in the UK, Ben Nevis stands proud at 1,345m tall. It sits on the outskirts of Fort William in Scotland. Known for its summit being shrouded in cloud cover six out of seven days a week, you’ll be lucky to see anything spectacular upon reaching the top. Having said this, it’s well worth the climb, even if it is to say you reached the highest point in the UK.
Ben Nevis has four main routes; the tourist trail is by far the easiest – a well paved path all the way to the top – recommended for novice hikers. We couldn’t think of a better way to connect the outdoors than hiking Ben Nevis.
Clamber up Scafell Pike
Scafell Pike is the highest Wainwright nestled in the heart of the Lake District, and the tallest of its kind in England. Scafell Pike has something for every ability level –it’s a beautiful destination for families who can wonder the Wasdale valley where the Scafell Pike resides.
Stroll along the South Downs Way
The South Downs Way is a 100 mile route through the South Downs National Park. The route follows old routes and droveways, taking up to nine days to complete. The South Downs Way passes through five National Nature Reserves and a multitude of Sites of Special Scientific Interest. It’s an ideal challenge for those seeking a countryside refresh. It doesn’t have to be completed at once, split the route up and complete as and when.
South West Coast Path
At 630 miles, the South West Coast Path is England’s longest way-marked footpath, which starts in Minehead on the north coast of Devon, and ends in Shell Bay in Dorset. To complete the entire path, it’s estimated to take 52 days to walk – but don't let this put you off. It can easily split out into different legs, with a couple days here and there.
If you're really committed, split the 52 days into consecutive weekends and complete it in a year. Realistically, this is only possible if you live in the South West.
Yorkshire Three Peaks
The Yorkshire Three Peaks is a 24 mile route which takes in the tallest peaks in the Yorkshire Dales.
The route consists of Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough, a complete elevation of 1,585m, and can be done in around 12 hours. Don’t be fooled into thinking it’s a walk in the park though, it’s a strenuous hike, but one that can be achieved my most.
Having said all of this, the quickest and easiest way to get outside and reconnect with nature is to go for a walk around a park close to your home. Half an hour of this everyday and the benefits will go along way.
The challenges mentioned above guarantee to inspire, motivate and provide a sense of achievement. They also make the outdoors and nature a lot more interesting than a walk around a park.If you’ve enjoyed this blog, you might also like 8 UK holiday destinations ideas.