Urban Hiking UK

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Three years ago I was asked by Regatta to develop new urban hiking trails for London and Manchester. Being based in the Lake District and very used to wild and remote locations I was at first hesitant to head to the city but I am an inquisitive type, so I booked my train ticket and headed to our capital city. I loved every minute of it I am pleased to report and couldn't believe the hidden gems and secret city squares I discovered just minutes away from the main bustling streets of Covent Garden. It is a great part of London if you want to discover hidden courtyards and secret secluded spots within the hustle and bustle.


With a newly discovered zest for our city streets I headed to Manchester (the city nearest to where I grew up) and again was amazed by the hidden parts of this great city that I had never discovered before. Urban hiking is a great way to combine exercise with exploration and can really help you connect with your local city.

 

The urban hiking trails are designed to reveal secret parts of the city: hidden passages, quiet courtyards and quirky finds, such as an old policeman’s hook in Great Newport Street in London and a pair of life-sized ears on the wall in Floral Street.

 

Urban hiking is all about taking advantage of the environment on your doorstep and just getting out there, no matter where you live, discovering more about your city in the process. The layers of history and culture in our cities are incredible; it’s fascinating that each one has its own ambience that can evoke different feelings.

 

Here are my TOP TIPS to help you explore...

 

KEEP YOUR EYES AND EARS OPEN
Some of the most inspirational moments come from unexpected directions. Take the opportunity to look up, down and all around at the layers of history in our cities. Did you know it’s also harder to feel down on a walk if you are looking up…try it!

 

LONE WOLF OR HERD ANIMAL

Some people prefer their own company on a hike but if you prefer walking with others check out the Ramblers website as a starting point.

 

VARIETY IS THE SPICE OF LIFE
The city is just one big outdoors gym if you’re prepared to open your mind. If you see a park bench, do a few triceps dips….a wall, a fallen tree, a curb, it’s all out there. Run a few strides when the mood takes you or simply wander; try to match your mood and energy levels rather than fight against them.

 

SOMETIMES THOSE WHO WANDER ARE LOST
Part of the charm of an urban hike is having a sense of adventure and discovering new things. Whether you prefer a set route or just to wander freely if you approach it with the right mindset you can’t go wrong.

 

START SLOW AND BUILD THINGS UP
Hiking is a great way to exercise and build fitness. A distance of 5k is perfect as it is achievable if you haven’t exercised for a while, but still gives a good workout. You might be surprised by how far you wander when you are feeling inspired.

 

KIT YOURSELF OUT

Wear the right clothing, the same as you would in the country – base layers, fleeces, a waterproof, breathable outer layer, comfy walking shoes. ‘There’s no such thing as bad weather just bad clothing’. Even on a short hike in the city, look at the forecast before you head off. If you stay warm and dry, it makes such a difference to how enjoyable it is. Regatta’s hiking range is stylish, practical and affordable.

 

HIKE AS A FAMILY

Upgrade your Sunday stroll to something more energising, and get younger and older generations involved. The great thing about walking is that different age groups can do it together. You can go with the kids and with granny.

 

DON’T WORRY IF YOU GOT LOST

Part of the charm of an urban hike is having a sense of adventure and discovering new things. It can be just as exciting as any rural trail if you approach it with the right mindset.

 

 

 

If you’d like to try my Urban Hiking trails I designed with Regatta and Get Living London you can find the maps here.....

 

www.regatta.com/blog/londons-best-walking-routes-urban-hike-guide/

 

www.regatta.com/blog/walking-routes-manchester/

 

www.eastvillagelondon.co.uk/news/families-can-now-enjoy-east-village-tale-trail

 

 

I’m currently working on an urban hiking trail for Blackpool alongside Lancashire Wildlife Trust, so watch this space!



 

If you're an organisation interested in creating an urban hike throughout your town or city then please get in touch