The 10 Most Secluded Walking Trails in the UK for Solitude Seekers

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If you’re anything like me, there’s nothing quite as invigorating as setting off on a walking trail and leaving the hustle and bustle of daily life behind. The UK is a treasure trove of spectacular landscapes, and what better way to explore them than by embarking on one of these hidden gems? In this post, I’ll share with you ten of the most secluded walking trails in the UK, perfect for those seeking peace, tranquillity, and perhaps a little adventure. So grab your boots, pack your rucksack, and let’s hit the trail!

Cape Wrath Trail, Scotland

capewrathtrail.org.uk

As a hiker with a penchant for solitude, the Cape Wrath Trail holds a special place in my heart. This challenging 200-mile trek stretches from Fort William to Cape Wrath, offering a taste of Scotland’s wild and rugged landscapes. Be prepared for some serious navigation, as the trail is unmarked and requires a good deal of map and compass work. Don’t let that deter you, though – the rewards are truly worth it.

“Solitude is a powerful means to happiness.”

Henry David Thoreau, ‘Walden’ (1854)

On your journey along the Cape Wrath Trail, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of the Highlands, dramatic coastlines, and vast expanses of untamed wilderness. The unpredictable Scottish weather may add an extra layer of excitement – you might find yourself navigating through misty moorlands one moment and basking in the sun the next. Just remember to pack a waterproof jacket, hiking in the rain without one is no fun!

Key points

  • Breathtaking views of the Scottish Highlands and dramatic coastlines
  • Challenging navigation and unmarked paths for a true sense of adventure
  • Experience diverse landscapes and ever-changing weather conditions
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Glyndwr’s Way, Wales

Glyndwr’s Way

Named after the legendary Welsh ruler Owain Glyndwr, this 135-mile circular trail begins and ends in Knighton, traversing the heart of Wales with its rolling hills and picturesque valleys. You can walk this trail with a sense of serenity, encountering only a few fellow hikers and the occasional friendly sheep.

“The more powerful and original a mind, the more it will incline towards the religion of solitude.”

Aldous Huxley, ‘Proper Studies’ (1927)

The highlights of this walk include the stunning Powis Castle and the serene waters of Lake Vyrnwy, both of which make for perfect lunchtime stops.

Key points

  • The amazing Powis Castle, a historical highlight along the route
  • Serene Lake Vyrnwy, perfect for a peaceful lunch stop
  • Tranquil countryside walks through rolling hills and picturesque valleys
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The Pennine Bridleway, England

The Pennine Bridleway

Though primarily designated for horse riders and cyclists, the Pennine Bridleway is a real treat for walkers seeking solitude. Spanning 205 miles from Derbyshire to Cumbria, this lesser-known gem winds its way along the spine of the Pennines, boasting impressive views and diverse terrain.

“In solitude the mind gains strength and learns to lean upon itself.”

Laurence Sterne, ‘The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman’ (1759)

My most cherished memory from this trail was stumbling upon a hidden waterfall in the Yorkshire Dales, offering a refreshing break from the summer heat. Along the way, you’ll also encounter charming villages, inviting you to enjoy a well-earned pint in their cosy pubs.

Key points

  • Impressive views and diverse terrain along the spine of the Pennines
  • Hidden waterfalls in the Yorkshire Dales for a refreshing break
  • Charming villages with cosy pubs for a well-earned rest
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Knoydart Peninsula, Scotland

Knoydart Peninsula

If remote beauty is what you’re after, look no further than the Knoydart Peninsula. Accessible only by boat or a long hike, this area is a haven for solitude seekers. If you pay it a visit, you’ll be struck by the sheer scale of the mountains and the rugged beauty of the landscape.

“In stillness lives wisdom. In quiet you’ll find peace. In solitude you’ll remember yourself.”

Robin Sharma, ‘The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari’ (1997)

Whether you choose to explore the stunning beaches at Sandaig or tackle the challenging ascent to the summit of Ladhar Bheinn, you’ll be rewarded with remarkable views and a sense of accomplishment. A visit to the Old Forge, Britain’s remotest pub, is a must-do for a well-deserved celebration after your adventure.

Key points

  • Remote beauty with stunning beaches at Sandaig and mountain landscapes
  • Challenging ascent to the summit of Ladhar Bheinn for a sense of accomplishment
  • A visit to the Old Forge, Britain’s remotest pub, for a unique experience
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The Peddars Way and Norfolk Coast Path, England

The Peddars Way and Norfolk Coast Path

Combining the tranquillity of the Norfolk countryside with the dramatic beauty of its coastline, this 93-mile trail is perfect for those who crave variety. I particularly enjoyed the contrast between the quiet, ancient woodlands of the Peddars Way and the windswept beaches of the Norfolk Coast Path.

“The greatest thing in the world is to know how to belong to oneself.”

Michel de Montaigne, ‘Essays’ (1580)

Keep an eye out for the abundant birdlife as you make your way along the coast, and be sure to visit the charming village of Cley-next-the-Sea, with its iconic windmill and delicious local seafood. For history buffs, the Roman fort at Brancaster is a fascinating stop, offering a glimpse into the past.

Key points

  • The contrast between quiet, ancient woodlands and windswept beaches
  • Abundant birdlife and picturesque views along the Norfolk coastline
  • Fascinating historical sites, such as the Roman fort at Brancaster
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Llyn Peninsula Coastal Path, Wales

Llyn Peninsula Coastal Path

The Llyn Peninsula Coastal Path is a real gem, winding its way around 84 miles of the Welsh coastline. The remote location means fewer crowds, allowing you to truly immerse yourself in the beauty of your surroundings. As you walk this path, you’ll be captivated by the breathtaking views of the Irish Sea and Cardigan Bay, as well as the abundance of wildlife, including seals, dolphins, and seabirds.

“Whosoever is delighted in solitude is either a wild beast or a god.”

Francis Bacon, ‘Essays, Civil and Moral’ (1625)

For a taste of history, the pilgrimage site of Bardsey Island is a must-visit. With its ancient abbey ruins and rich spiritual heritage, this sacred island is a memorable addition to your journey.

Key points

  • Breathtaking views of the Irish Sea and Cardigan Bay
  • Abundant wildlife, including seals, dolphins, and seabirds
  • A visit to the spiritual and historical site of Bardsey Island
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Cumbria Way, England

Cumbria Way

The Lake District is undoubtedly a popular destination, but the 70-mile Cumbria Way allows you to explore some of its lesser-known areas. This trail takes you through quiet valleys, serene lakes, and remote corners of the National Park, far from the bustling tourist hotspots.

“Solitude is independence. It…was also still, wonderfully still and vast like the cold stillness of space in which the stars revolve.”

Hermann Hesse, ‘Steppenwolf’ (1927)

One of my favourite moments on this trail was arriving at the shores of Coniston Water, where the tranquil atmosphere allowed me to fully appreciate the beauty of my surroundings. If you’re a literature lover, be sure to visit the former home of Beatrix Potter at Hill Top, which provides a charming insight into the life and work of this beloved author.

Key points

  • Quiet valleys, serene lakes, and remote corners of the Lake District
  • Tranquil shores of Coniston Water, perfect for relaxation
  • Beatrix Potter’s former home at Hill Top for a literary treat
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St. Cuthbert’s Way, Scotland and England

St. Cuthbert’s Way

This 62-mile cross-border trail takes you on a journey through history, connecting Melrose in Scotland to the tidal island of Lindisfarne in England. Along the way, you’ll traverse the lesser-known sections of the Northumberland National Park and the Cheviot Hills, soaking in the stunning scenery and peaceful atmosphere.

“Solitude gives birth to the original in us, to beauty unfamiliar and perilous – to poetry.”

Thomas Mann, ‘Death in Venice and Other Tales’ (1912)

During my time on St. Cuthbert’s Way, I was particularly struck by the atmospheric ruins of Dryburgh Abbey, a serene spot for contemplation amidst the beautiful landscape. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, with its striking castle and ancient priory, as a fitting end to your walk. But be careful not to get stranded by the tide!

Key points

  • Atmospheric ruins of Dryburgh Abbey, perfect for quiet contemplation
  • Stunning scenery as you traverse the Northumberland National Park and Cheviot Hills
  • The Holy Island of Lindisfarne with its striking castle and ancient priory
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Mull of Galloway Trail, Scotland

Mull of Galloway Trail

At only 37 miles long, the Mull of Galloway Trail is a shorter option, but it certainly doesn’t skimp on beauty. This trail takes you along the southernmost tip of Scotland, revealing secluded coastal cliffs, vibrant wildflower meadows, and peaceful farmland.

“Be alone—that is the secret of invention: be alone, that is when ideas are born.”

Nikola Tesla

As I walked this trail, I was enchanted by the sight of the Mull of Galloway Lighthouse, perched dramatically on the edge of a cliff. The nearby RSPB reserve is well worth a visit, offering fantastic birdwatching opportunities and the chance to spot playful seals and dolphins in the waters below.

Key points

  • Secluded coastal cliffs, vibrant wildflower meadows, and peaceful farmland
  • Mull of Galloway Lighthouse and its dramatic cliff-top location
  • RSPB reserve for fantastic birdwatching and marine wildlife spotting
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Two Moors Way, England

Two Moors Way

Finally, the Two Moors Way spans 102 miles between Ivybridge in Devon and Lynmouth in Somerset, taking you through the wild beauty of Dartmoor and Exmoor National Parks. This trail is perfect for those seeking solitude among the open moorlands and rugged tors.

“In solitude, where we are least alone.”

Lord Byron, ‘Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage’ (1812-1818)

One unforgettable opportunity along the Two Moors Way is an encounter with the famous Dartmoor ponies, grazing peacefully amidst the heather. Be sure to take some time to explore the historic Tarr Steps, a prehistoric clapper bridge nestled in a picturesque woodland setting.

Key points

  • Wild beauty of Dartmoor and Exmoor National Parks
  • Encounters with the famous Dartmoor ponies amidst the heather
  • The historic Tarr Steps, a prehistoric clapper bridge in a picturesque woodland setting
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Conclusion

There you have it – ten of the most secluded walking trails the UK has to offer. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a casual rambler, these trails provide a wealth of opportunities for solitude, adventure, and exploration. Each one offers its own unique charm, allowing you to immerse yourself in the stunning beauty of the British countryside while escaping the crowds.

As you embark on your own journey along these trails, you’re sure to create unforgettable memories and forge a deep connection with the landscapes you traverse. So lace up those boots, pack your rucksack, and set out to discover the hidden gems that await you on these lesser-trodden paths. And remember, in the words of the great John Muir, “In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.”

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