The UK is filled with wild goodness, from rolling plains of green to icy-cold waterfalls. Athena Mellor created Ramble Guides as a way to celebrate all the UK has to offer, a website dedicated to outdoor travel guides to the UK's National Parks and wild spaces, designed for the 'modern explorer;' that is, the person who may want to go on a beautiful hike in the countryside then find a cosy cafe with good coffee and homemade cakes, or visit a viewpoint for sunset then retreat to a country pub with open fires and fine food.
Ramble Guides acts as the travel guide Athena wished she had when she first went exploring. She would find herself becoming anxious about going places alone because she didn't know where to go, where to park, where to camp, to eat. So she decided to write a travel guide to make it easier for people venturing into the outdoors and seeking similar adventures - for those whole love road trips, river swims and mountain views. You can see for yourself over on the Ramble Guides website, Athena has also put together her top 5 wild places in the UK we all should visit:
Mam Tor | Peak District
With a name meaning "Mother Hill," Mam Tor is one of the most iconic and easily accessible viewpoints in the Peak District. Avid photographers will head up to the summit for sunrise in the hope of seeing a rare and unpredictable inversion; when the clouds cover the base of the valley in a blanket of fluffy white, offering stunning views as the mist rises and the vast, green valley becomes visible in daylight. But views from Mam Tor are remarkable at all times of day; Kinder Scout and the Vale of Edale sit grandly in the north, while the Hope Valley and the village of Castleton can be seen in the east. Mam Tor is the perfect place to enjoy a picnic or relax in the middle of a long walk.
Getting there: Park at the Mam Tor National Trust carpark for a short but steep walk to the summit. Park in or get the train to the village of Edale for a longer, more strenuous walk. Combine a visit to Mam Tor with a walk along Rushup Edge, Hollins Cross or Back Tor. It is also possible to reach Mam Tor from the village of Castleton.
Y Garn | Snowdonia
Views from the summit of Y Garn are arguably some of the best of any hill climb in the whole of Snowdonia National Park, looking down onto Llyn Idwal, Llyn Ogwen and the mountainous layers of the Ogwen Valley. The route takes you first past the craggy shores of Llyn Idwal, nestled within the beautiful glacial ampitheatre of Cwm Idwal, then you can ascend through Devil's Kitchen (which is definitely quite a scramble!), or up the north east ridge to Y Garn. This walk is highly recommended as a beautiful but strenuous half-day walk, taking in the breathtaking scenes of the Ogwen Valley.
Hike: The hike is a 4.5 mile strenuous hill walk. Use OS Explorer Map OL17
Gear: Wear walking boots due to the scrambly section. Bring a warm, windproof jacket for the summit.
Food & drink: We'd recommend heading to Moel Siabod after the walk for a heart meal, or neaby Bethesda has plenty of pubs and restaurants. You can buy snacks and drinks from the Visitor Centre at Ogwen Cottage, at the start/finish of the hike.
Inchcailloch Island | Loch Lomond & the Trossachs
Part of a National Nature Reserve, Inchcailloch is Loch Lomond’s most accessible island; a leafy oasis of flora and fauna - low ferns, tall trees and if you're lucky you may spot a deer hiding amongst it all. There is a small campsite on the island, reached by following a footpath from the dock to a small and isolated bay. Though it’s only a five minute boat ride from Balmaha, on the shores of Loch Lomond, Inchcailloch is perfect if you're seeking some quiet and isolation in a natural and wild place.
Getting there: The ferry to the island runs on an ‘on demand’ basis from Balmaha and costs £5 return. You can park at the visitor centre at Balmaha for free.
Camping: The campsite is open from March to October, limited to 12 people and maximum group sizes of six. We'd recommend booking a pitch in the busier months.
Facilities: The island itself has no stores and only basic toilet facilities. If you’re camping on the island, stock up on food at the store in Balmaha, where there is also a cafe and pub.
Blea Tarn | Lake District
Mountains on mountains. On a still and clear day, you’ll be lucky to see a perfect reflection of the Langdale Pikes projected into Blea Tarn, and it is a sight that will certainly take your breath away. This little tarn at the foot of the hills is a highlight of the Lake District and also one of the most easily accessible sites, with a carpark on the adjacent road. It is a gentle walk around the tarn, or head up the hillside to Side Pike for a more strenuous walk with views across to the Pikes and looking down on the tarn.
Getting there: From Ambleside, follow the A593 before taking a narrow road to the right towards the tarn. The carpark is on the right-hand side.
Food & drink: Nearby food options are the Old Dungeon Ghyll, New Dungeon Ghyll, National Trust pub Sticklebarn, or head back towards Ambleside and visit the Three Shires Inn.
Waterfall Country | Brecon Beacons
A Celtic rainforest in southern Wales. Nestled within the Forest Fawr massif there is a lush environment of tall trees and tumbling water, one of the most popular areas in the Brecon Beacons. We’d recommend a walk that links together three of these waterfalls; park at the Ystradfellte Car Park and stroll past the Lower Fall of the White Meadow, the gushing Fall of the Fuller and end at the famous Sgwd Yr Eira Waterfall, which you can walk right behind. This would be the perfect place for a swim and picnic in the summertime.
Getting there: Park at the Ystradfellte Car Park to reach the falls or the Four Waterfalls Car Park for a longer circuit.
Gear: Trainers would be fine for this hike, though some areas may be slippery after rainfall. Bring swimming gear if it’s warm enough.