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5 English Walks That Will Knock Your Boots Off

Within the next couple of years I’ll complete a long-standing goal: to walk at least five kilometers in every county of England. (I completed a similar walk-in-every-U.S.-state project many years ago.)


On these walks—some of which have inspired my Walk Through England mysteries--I’m always amazed at the beauty that can be found all over the country. Naming my favorite England walks is near impossible, but these immediately come to mind:


Thames Embankment. If you want to see many iconic London landmarks in one walk, this is the one. Walking the Embankment (south side) of the Thames between Tower Bridge and Westminster Bridge will give you eye-popping views of the Shard, London City Hall (the “glass testicle”), St. Paul’s, high-rises such as the Fenchurch (“Walkie-Talkie”) and the Gherkin, the London Eye and, of course, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament.


Northumberland Coast. Many breathtaking walks hug England’s dazzling coastline. The entire Northumberland Coast Path is 100 kilometers, so this slice, which you can do in a few hours, begins at Fenwick and goes south to Seahouses. Not only will you go across beautiful beaches, but you’ll also pass castles such as and Bamburgh and Dunstanburgh.


North Devon Coast. This is the setting for the walk in my first Rick Chasen mystery, A DEADLY WALK IN DEVON. Several scenes were inspired by a walk that begins in Lynmouth and takes you along cliffs toward the Valley of the Rocks, an area known for its prehistoric rock formations and herds of wild goats. On the way you’ll ascend to Lynton via the Cliff Railway, a water-powered funicular.


Yorkshire Dales. If you’re a fan of James Herriott, the veterinarian who wrote several best-sellers about his life in this part of the country, you’ll feel right at home walking in the Dales. One great short walk is along the River Ure in Wensleydale. The highlight is a visit to Aysgarth Falls, a triple flight of waterfalls surrounded by woodland and farmland.


New Forest. The New Forest in Hampshire is one of the largest remaining parcels of unenclosed land in England. A trail that will give you a taste of the region begins and ends in Brockenhurst, a picturesque village accessible by train. The walk (clearly marked) takes you across grazed lawns and through riverside woodlands. You may even see wildlife, such as deer.


Seven Sisters. This walk is both bracing and breathtaking. You begin in the Sussex town of Eastbourne, and proceed west along a well-marked path. Soon you’re climbing the hills known as the Seven Sisters, striking chalk cliffs bordering the English Channel. (These are not the famed White Cliffs of Dover, which are farther east.) You’ll get a good look at the renowned Beachy Head lighthouse, but be careful…don’t get too near to the edge of the cliff!


These walks, of course, only scratch the surface of all the trails available. All

have the same British advantages: they’re well-waymarked, easy to access, and never too far from a pub in which to have a refreshing post-walk pint.


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