Hiking near Liverpool: Top routes with travel info, recommendations & tips
With a new year comes new goals. Whether you’re looking to enjoy a more active 12 months, spend less time in front of screens or make more effort to explore areas beyond the city, we’ve got the perfect answer.
Why not make 2019 the year you truly embrace the outdoors and take up hiking? With our trio of chosen routes you can don your boots and soak up stunning scenery all year round, in destinations little more than 90 minutes from Liverpool.
Words by Natasha Young | Photos by Matthew Smith
A Peak District hike to Kinder Scout
Getting there: Drive to Edale in the Peak District, which takes around an hour and 35 minutes to reach from Liverpool via the M62. Alternatively you can hop on a train at Liverpool Lime Street to Edale station, which takes around an hour and 40 minutes with a change at Manchester Piccadilly.
The walk: The starting point is located near to Edale train station, where you’ll find a signpost to the start of the Pennine Way just outside of The Old Nags Head pub.
Walk up Grindsbrook Clough on a climb to eventually reach Kinder Scout – the highest point in the Peak District National Park, set within its Dark Peak area – and you’ll be rewarded with beautiful, dramatic scenery and picturesque waterfalls along the way.
The Grindsbrook Clough route – a well-worn path alongside the water – does involve some scrambling over rocks although nothing too strenuous for inexperienced walkers.
Be aware that on arrival at Kinder Scout, there’s still a long walk before you reach the official summit or the more prominent Kinder Low Trig Point for a photo opportunity and a moment of ‘we made it’ satisfaction, but on a clear day you can really soak up the views across the national park.
Make your way back down to Edale via the short, steep Jacob’s Ladder path – historically an old packhorse route with stone steps.
Pit stops and attractions: There’s nothing quite like a visit to the pub at the end of a long walk, and The Old Nags Head conveniently awaits you at the finish line of our chosen walk.
A hit with hikers, this dog-friendly and family-friendly watering hole has bags of authentic countryside character with its low ceilings and stone structure dating back to 1577.
Alternatively the National Trust’s Penny Pot café in Edale offers sustenance in the form of hot drinks, homemade meals and cakes, along with comfy sofas to sit and rest those weary legs.
And you can learn a lot about the nature in the area or pick up gifts or maps and forgotten outdoor essentials for your walk by popping into the Moorland Centre in Edale.
The hub of moorland research and exhibitions for visitors is set within an eco-friendly building with a living roof of sedum turf.
When to go: The most challenging of our recommended walks, this six to seven-hour Peak District trek is best enjoyed during the spring and summer as rocks and steeper paths can be slippery when wet. Clearer days also enable the spectacular surroundings to truly be enjoyed.
Windermere’s Orrest Head walk
Getting there: The journey from Liverpool to Windermere by road takes around one hour and 40 minutes.
The walk: The Lake District’s Windermere is a well-known hotspot for embracing Britain’s beautiful countryside, and this recommended route promises unrivalled views of the area’s famous lake, surrounding Lake District fells, Morecambe Bay and the Pennines.
Prominent British fellwalker, guidebook author and illustrator Alfred Wainwright MBE once said that his visit to Orrest Head “cast a spell that changed my life”. It’s easy to see why when you reach the top of the easy to follow path.
Opposite Windermere’s railway station, a sign for Orrest Head with a hand pointing up a tarmac path will set you on your way to the striking summit.
At the top of the route, which incorporates some stiles along the way, a plaque (pictured) paying tribute to Wainwright highlights the stunning Windermere and the High Fells scenery in your view.
Venture back down along the same path to complete the walk, totalling around an hour and a half.
Pit stops and attractions: A relatively short but rewarding walk, the Orrest Head trail should leave plenty of time during a day out in Windermere to explore the village and the iconic lake or popular surrounding locations like Ambleside, Lakeside and Bowness-on-Windermere.
The Hole in t’ Wall pub, originally known as the New Hall Inn, is a favourite amongst ramblers thanks to its range of cask ales and plenty of heritage.
Built in 1612, it’s the oldest pub in Bowness and welcomes families, with dogs allowed into the beer garden.
When to go: A walk to Orrest Head is easy-going enough to be enjoyed at any point of the year.
Llanberis’ Dinorwic Slate Quarry trails
Getting there: Drive to Llanberis in North Wales – a journey which takes just over an hour and 40 minutes from Liverpool.
The walk: Llanberis is best known as a starting point for the climb up England and Wales’ tallest peak, Mount Snowdon. On the other side of the area’s lake though, a fascinating exploration of Dinorwic Slate Quarry awaits.
Several guided trails are clearly marked out for a walk lasting a couple of hours, but it’s worth factoring in some additional time to find out about the quarry’s history and importance to the area.
Original structures like the Anglesey Barracks (pictured) – two rows of now derelict cottages which once housed quarry workers from Anglesey during the week until they were condemned in 1948 – and the Dinorwic Quarry Hospital can be found along the walk.
Follow the path down from the hospital and, on a clear day, you’ll reach a perfect spot to capture a picture-perfect view of the Snowdonia mountain range across the water.
Pit stops and attractions: Head inside the old Dinorwic Quarry Hospital – now a museum housing the restored ward, operating theatre and 19th Century medical equipment.
The free to enter National Slate Museum is also close at hand, offering exhibitions as well as year-round slate splitting demonstrations and talks about how a quarry engine works for all the family.
And if you’ve worked up an appetite on the walk, or you’re looking to fill up before you set off, the museum’s Ffowntan café serves up meals, snacks and refreshments with Welsh produce where possible.
When to go: With indoor museums to enjoy and some areas of the route more shaded, the trails around the Dinorwic Slate Quarry can be walked during any season. Clearer, brighter weather can, however, allow you to truly make the most of the Llanberis location and views of Snowdonia.