England

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England is one of four nations which make up the UK or United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. England is the largest of the four nations and contains the vast majority of the population.

England is perhaps best known for its large and bustling capital city, London. Other well known cities and towns include Oxford and Cambridge with their acclaimed universities, Bath with its Georgian architecture and Roman baths, and Stratford the home of Shakespeare.

These are great places for walking in their own right, but elsewhere throughout England's "green and pleasant land" provides a variety of unique and beautiful walking experiences making for some great walking holidays. The quintessential English village is still very much part of the landscape of the UK. The English countryside is crammed full of charming, well preserved historic villages with thatched cottages looking out over the village green or lining narrow twisting streets. These villages are often set in a picturesque countryside of rolling hills with small fields lined with hedgerows. The south west & west of England is particularly rich in beautiful typical English scenery. Great examples include the downs of Dorset & Wiltshire with towns and villages such as Shaftesbury and Lacock, and the Cotswolds. In addition, southern England has a remarkable pre-historic heritage; the countryside of southern England being littered with standing stones, burial mounds, earth works and hill forts. The best examples are without doubt Stonehenge and Avebury.

Such areas are designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and other scenic parts of England are protected for the enjoyment of everyone. Some of these areas have become more accessible with the new ‘right to roam’ Act, which allows more access onto certain upland areas such as parts of the southern downs or moorland.

England also has a large number of National Parks such as the Lake District, Exmoor, the New Forest, Dartmoor and the Yorkshire Dales where varied walking experiences and contrasting scenery is on offer.

Most of these areas are crossed by an extensive network of public footpaths built up over time with the creation of lines of communication from pre-historic and then Roman times up to the present day.

England also has a long and interesting coastline. Much of its scenic beauty is designated for its protection and the beautiful landscapes make for some of the finest long distance walks not only in the UK but in the World. The south coast of Devon and Dorset has been designated a natural World Heritage site because of its unique representation of the Earth's history.

Elsewhere, upland regions give rise to another type of landscape. One of the most picturesque regions in the UK is the Lake District in northern England with its rugged mountains and beautiful lake filled valleys shaped by glaciation during the ice age. The Lake District includes the highest mountain in England and although it does not pass the 1000m barrier, the mountains are harsh and foreboding with a number of sheer rock faces. Below, the mountains are covered in ferns, bracken and heather giving contrasting hues ranging from deep purple to a rich green. Below that, verdant fields grazed by sheep are lined by stone walls with the odd white-washed farm decorating the u-shaped valleys.

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North Cornwall Coast

This is a dramatic and beautiful section of the South West Coastal Trail between Bude and Padstow in Cornwall. The walking is varied and challenging with towering cliffs, prominent headlands and secluded bays and inlets harbouring well preserved small fishing ports

North Cornwall Coast

Dorset Coast

This stunning stretch of coastline, in Dorset on England's south coast, is one of the most interesting and varied in the UK and has been designated a natural World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

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Dorset & Wiltshire Hills

The beautiful green and rolling hills of southern England are a treasure chest of quaint villages and remarkable pre-historic monuments. A picturesque countryside of secluded valleys and chalk escarpments provide some great walking holidays.

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Somerset Levels and Mendip Hills

Somerset is a rural county of contrasting landscapes. As well as having a coastline it also has rolling hills such as the Blackdown Hills, Mendip Hills, Quantock Hills and Exmoor National Park as well as large flat expanses of land including the Somerset Levels. It's these contrasts that provide a great backdrop for walking holidays.

Wells Cathedral