Six great beginner hillwalking routes
These six routes are perfect for newcomers to hillwalking, written by Trail magazine experts and available to download and follow using the OS Maps app.
1. Causey Pike, Lake District
One of the quieter Lakeland fells, Causey Pike escapes the crowds as it lies on the quieter aspect of popular Coledale Horseshoe. This route bears much interest, with plenty of crags, cascading waterfalls and the historical Force Crag Mine.
2. High Cup Nick, North Pennines
Affectionately referred to as the ‘Grand Canyon of the Pennines’, High Cup Nick is a landscape spectacle everyone should lay eyes upon at least once in their lifetime. The almost perfectly symmetrical U-shaped valley in the North Pennines is a geological marvel and makes for a very fine hill walk from the village of Dufton.
3. Mam Tor, Peak District
Not only can you bag the 517m-high Mam Tor, or ‘Mother Hill’, on this walk – you also get to experience the Peak District National Park’s classic ridge walk too. The Great Ridge also takes in Lose Hill, Back Tor and Hollins Cross, while you get treated to arresting views over the Kinder Scout plateau and the Vale of Edale. Set out early to avoid the masses!
4. Moel Hebog, Snowdonia
Situated on the periphery of the north Wales town of Beddgelert, this imposing and underrated hill stands at a fairly modest 782m but delivers fantastic rewards for those who make the effort to reach its top. Incredible views stretch over Snowdonia and the Welsh coastline, while the surrounding forested area is recognised for its plentiful bird life.
5. Ben Venue, South Highlands
A small (727m) but perfectly proportioned peak in the south-eastern slice of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park. There’s a glorious mix of forest, heathland and mountainous terrain with loch views to boot – something for everyone.
6. Cheddar Gorge, Somerset
England’s largest gorge is part of the Mendip Hills, tucked into a sleepy corner of Somerset. Forget the hordes at the commercialised southern half of the gorge, because the northern half offers some excellent walking with exquisite wildlife, sweeping hilltop ridges, luscious valleys, craggy cliff edges and huge views, while the high point is Beacon Batch at 325m.
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What is a GPX file?
A GPX (GPS Exchange Format) file is a digital version of a route. Each GPX file contains a long list of the precise GPS coordinates that make up a route, which can be placed on top of a digital map for printing or following on a GPS device or smartphone. How to upload and use a GPX file depends on which navigation device you’re using, but they work on everything from handheld Garmin devices and Suunto watches to smartphone apps like OS Maps. As GPX files are made up of unique and universal latitude/longitude coordinates, they can be used with almost any type of mapping software.