Strata Florida, Ceredigion
Begin/finish Coed Dolgoed automobile park, PontrhydfendigaidDistance/time 3.four miles/2 hoursGrade Simple
The luxurious Teifi Valley, within the foothills of the Cambrian Mountains, is a very distant and unspoiled space of mid-Wales. These mountains are the supply of a lot of Wales’s largest rivers. This stroll explores the valley carved out by the River Teifi and uncovers some unusual reminders of the world’s previous.
Starting close to on the churchyard, the place amongst different macabre finds is a stone marking the grave of an amputated leg (its proprietor emigrated to America), the route follows the river to a ruined 12th-century abbey: Strata Florida (which implies Vale of Flowers). On the skyline simply above the abbey, walkers would possibly spot a tall determine holding a workers and trudging head down in opposition to the wind. Constructed from railway sleepers, this outside sculpture, named “Pilgrim”, is considered one of a number of commissioned to have a good time the Teifi Valley’s archaeological heritage.
After skirting the woodland and taking in beautiful views of the abbey ruins within the valley, the route continues alongside the river. After the spectacular abbey, a jumble of stones in an open subject might not appear price nearer inspection, however these are the stays of a ty unnos (one-night home). They started life as hovels – unexpectedly thrown collectively stone buildings put up (illegally) on frequent land between the 17th and 19th centuries.
Based on customized, in case you might construct one in a single day in order that smoke was seen from the chimney by morning, you can legally dwell in it. The quantity of land claimed round the home trusted how far the builder might throw his axe!
Seaford, East Sussex

{Photograph}: Irina Poliakova/Alamy
Begin/finish South Hill Barn automobile parkDistance/time 3½ miles/2 hours with stopsGrade Simple
The Cuckmere Valley might be one of the vital fashionable magnificence spots in southern England. Sandwiched between the vacation cities of Eastbourne and Seaford, and downriver from the charming South Downs village of Alfriston (beloved of the bohemian Bloomsburys and 20th-century Eastbourne artist Eric Ravilious), it’s a mecca for walkers hungry for a quintessential English panorama.
Within the distance, the daring white cliffs of the Seven Sisters dip and rise like a fairground journey, standing as a logo of British fortitude. However past its apparent scenic enchantment, this panorama hides tales of battle, sacrifice and forgotten heroism that simply would possibly change our view of it.
Our stroll begins simply exterior Seaford at South Hill, an remoted wood barn and enormous automobile park from which a collection of footpaths lead in direction of Seaford Head and Birling Hole within the different. It’s the place to begin for a lot of a ramble alongside the South Downs Manner.

The Cuckmere valley close to Alfriston. {Photograph}: Peter Cripps/Alamy
However this magnificence spot was as soon as a part of a sprawling army camp the place males lived and had been educated earlier than being despatched to the Western Entrance in 1914. North Camp is now buried beneath the streets of the fashionable city centre, however for the eagle-eyed, the stays of South Camp are nonetheless faintly seen. Although ploughing has destroyed a lot of the camp’s bodily proof, irregular humps and bumps will be made out, together with the stays of lengthy pits dug to arrange the lads for the true trenches. Aerial surveys carried out by Historic England reveal the camp clearly.
Lots of those that educated at Seaford had come from the world over to struggle for the “mom nation”, together with African, Caribbean and Asian troopers ill-prepared for harsh British winters. Regardless of their sacrifice, these troopers had been usually assigned soiled and harmful jobs akin to loading ammunition, laying phone wires and digging trenches.
Glen Cornaa, Isle of Man

Cashtal yn Ard stones. {Photograph}: Eoin Clarke/Getty Pictures
Begin/finish Ballaglass Glen automobile park, CornaaDistance/time 3½ miles/2 hoursGrade Medium
With greater than 40% of its land unpopulated, the Isle of Man nonetheless gives a level of wilderness for these ready to go off the overwhelmed monitor. This mild stroll from the wooded Ballaglass Glen right down to a secret cove gives an opportunity to decelerate, tread softly and luxuriate in one of many least-explored locations within the British Isles.
Following the Cornaa River on its serpentine path by the glen, we’re strolling within the footsteps of an enormous sheet of ice, a glacier that unfold down from Scotland in the course of the ice ages of the final 2.5 million years. Maintain a watch out for big solitary rocks, referred to as “erratics” (as a result of they don’t slot in right here), which had been carried in sheets of ice. When the ice melted, they had been left behind, leaving slightly piece of Scotland on Manx soil.
A brief diversion results in the standing stones of Cashtal yn Ard (the title means Fort of the Heights). It’s a big Neolithic burial web site on excessive land with beautiful views. Although its origins have by no means been totally defined, its dimension and site in all probability imply it was constructed as a communal grave for native chieftains and their households.
From burial underground to renewal above, refresh your self with a drink or perhaps a dip within the mini plunge swimming pools created by the deeply minimize river earlier than you stroll again by the glen again to the beginning.
Cardross, Argyll & Bute

St Peter’s Seminary. {Photograph}: Murdo MacLeod/The Guardian
Begin/finish Cardross stationDistance/time four miles/2½ hoursGrade Medium
A 40-minute prepare journey from Glasgow, on the banks of the Clyde, is the village of Cardross. And a brief stroll from the station are the woods of Kilmahew Glen, a spot that has lived many lives and left a lot for us to find, from the medieval to the modernist. Its title comes from the Gaelic cille, referring to a settlement of monks.
Close by are the stays of an early chapel, thought to have been constructed on the positioning of a pagan sanctuary. Among the many woods and rhododendrons there are tantalising glimpses of what was as soon as a grand nation property: a ruined gatehouse, overgrown lakes with artifical islands, and big redwoods standing sentinel both aspect of the trail. As we speak, its solely occupants are the barn owls that roost among the many ivy. Maintain going and also you’ll be rewarded with waterfalls and panoramic views of the Clyde estuary.
The return route gives maybe the best shock. Within the 1950s, the positioning was chosen for the brand new St Peter’s seminary for coaching Catholic clergymen. However as a substitute of tearing down the previous mansion, the architects designed a brand new, daring, modernist construction of concrete and glass across the present mansion, described has been described as a “fashionable constructing of world significance”.
Barely half a century previous, it has been deserted for the reason that 1980 and is now a tantalising wreck, including one other layer of historical past to this historic place.
Dartmoor

The clapper bridge on the way in which to Grimspound. {Photograph}: Ian Dagnall/Alamy
Begin/finish The Warren Home Inn, close to PostbridgeDistance/time 4½ miles/Three hoursGrade Medium
When the solar shines on Dartmoor it glows on the rocky hills known as tors. When the clouds descend and the rain is almost horizontal, it may be one of many bleakest locations conceivable.
Granite underpins this stroll: first, we cross a standard Devon clapper bridge – a big granite slab over the river – to achieve the evocatively named Grimspound. Now below English Heritage, it’s considered one of our best-preserved prehistoric settlements. A low wall surrounds the stays of 24 roundhouses – constructed by our bronze age ancestors in about 1450-700BC. As we speak, it’s laborious to think about these piles of rocks as individuals’s houses, however discoveries of paved flooring, stone benches, hearths and cooking holes begin to construct an image of home life maybe not so not like our personal.
Additional on is the deserted village of Challacombe and the ruins of a number of longhouses. These houses had been basically one massive room, with an inside wall to divide individuals from their animals. Throughout lengthy winters out on the moor, the animals’ heat should have greater than made up for his or her odours. Refresh your self on the historic Warren Home Inn, constructed to serve tin miners. Based on folklore, the fireplace within the authentic pub was “at all times in”, and when the brand new inn was constructed, the owner transferred some smouldering peat from the unique constructing to the brand new fireside. So the pub hearth is alleged to have by no means gone out!
Caroline Millar is venture supervisor of Discovering Britain, run by the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG). Extra routes at discoveringbritain.org