The perfect way to explore the UK post-lockdown...
England is dotted with famous monuments and historic sites, from ancient burial grounds and abandoned mines to standing stones, stone circles and icons from far more recent times. A fabulous walk can reveal the fascinating countryside surrounding the UK’s incredible ancient monuments.
From Stonehenge in Wiltshire to Nine Standards Rigg in the Pennine Hills there’s so much to explore right here in the UK.
Put on your walking boots and enjoy one of these historic UK hikes…
UK hikes to explore some of the country’s incredible ancient monuments
Britain’s most famous prehistoric monument is set in a landscape that is full of important archaeology – from burial grounds to ceremonial pathways.
To explore this amazing World Heritage Site, the National Trust has put together a number of walking routes across the surrounding chalk downlands. Ranging from three to five miles, the walks pass through areas that are rich in wildlife and allow you to see lesser-known parts of the site.
The Neolithic settlement at Durrington Walls may have had hundreds of houses, potentially making it the largest village in north-west Europe at the time. At New King Barrows, near an impressive line of 200-year-old beech trees, you’ll find Bronze Age burial mounds.
With stunning views of Stonehenge, it’s a wonderful area to stop for a picnic. The walks are graded as easy, though surfaces may be uneven and sloping. Dogs are welcome on a lead.
Parking is available on site, though at peak periods there is a charge to non-members of the National Trust and English Heritage.
The world’s largest prehistoric stone circle is a must-see, and the best way to explore the surrounding landscape is by following one of the National Trust’s walks.
Discover Silbury Hill, the biggest man-made prehistoric mound in Europe, or you can enjoy the serenity of Windmill Hill, with its stunning views. Now rich in wild flowers, it was once a busy Neolithic earthworks.
The massive stones at Avebury itself are awe-inspiring, with the largest weighing over 100 tonnes. From there, head on a walk that is a treat for birdwatchers, as it passes ancient burial mounds.
On the most challenging walk, you can explore West Kennet Long Barrow – a tomb that once held the remains of around 50 people.
The car park is 500 yards from the stone circle – National Trust and English Heritage members park free. Dogs are welcome on a lead.
Nine Standards Rigg
Standing at the summit of Hartley Fell, Nine Standards Rigg is a line of curious stone cairns, some about 12ft high. No one knows why they were erected, or even how old they are.
One theory is that they were built by the Romans to look like a line of troops from a distance, and thereby scaring the neighbouring Scots. To get to them, you can walk through pretty, rolling countryside from the nearby town of Kirby Stephen, where you’ll find plenty of parking.
The walk, which is graded as moderate by Walking Britain, takes in woodland and moorland, while offering lovely views across the Vale of Eden.
Ring of Brodgar
Forming the heart of a huge prehistoric ceremonial complex, which has been designated a World Heritage Site, the Ring of Brodgar is a Neolithic circle of mystical stones.
Set in a wide-open landscape overlooking the Loch of Stenness, and surrounded by heather and wild flowers, the circle is particularly magical at sunrise or sunset.
Parking is available at the site, and free guided walks are provided by Historic Scotland rangers.
Will you be heading on any of these UK hikes?