This content about stress-free walks and walking holidays is sponsored by Contours Holidays.
For most hillwalkers, the pull of days on the trail is too good to pass up when it comes to going on holiday. But walking holidays take more preparation than most. You can spend forever trying to pick your dream trail (mountainous or coastal, thru-hikes or stile-free walks with short daily mileage?) as well as many additional hours plotting routes in accordance with your own abilities, booking overnight stays in new places each night, factoring in refreshment stops, gearing up and fine tuning your navigation skills on familiar routes in advance… Not to mention trying to persuade your friends to join you on the trail.
To some, that’s Excel spreadsheet and map plotting heaven. To others, however, it doesn’t exactly sound like a relaxing way to plan a holiday. This can be especially true for those who seek solace in the outdoors on shorter days only to find stiles and other obstacles stop them in their tracks – literally.
Walking group holiday operator Contours Holidays has plotted some stile-free walks and short daily mileage walking holidays so you can enjoy the great outdoors at your own pace without having to lift a finger in terms of the logistics, leaving you with plenty of energy to walk your walk on the trail.
Here’s just a snippet of the stress-free walks they have on offer:
As stile-free walks, these walking holiday routes have no challenging obstacles to contend with. Any climbs or descents are short and/or gentle. They are suitable for beginners, young families and those with mild mobility impairments.
1. Usk Valley stile-free walk
This user-friendly walk through the glorious Usk Valley begins from Llangattock village and neighbouring Crickhowell, each with their own quiet charm. The route then meanders along canal towpaths through woodland and farmland, following the river. As well as wonderful scenery throughout, the route encounters lime kilns, aqueducts and countless bridges on its way to the market town of Brecon.
This particular tour also includes a circular day walk from Talybont-on-Usk halfway through your holiday. This extension takes you around the Talybont Reservoir via more quiet forests and riverside paths, featuring spectacular views of Bannau Brycheiniog/the Brecon Beacons. Overall, this walk is perfect for new walkers seeking a taste of the beautiful Welsh countryside.
2. Derwentwater Round stile-free walk
The Derwentwater Round walking trail is designed to help more people enjoy the Lake District National Park on foot while offering a stile-free walking experience. Beginning and ending in Keswick, this single-centre holiday walks around Derwentwater: 12 miles along easy, well-signposted paths. It meanders through ancient woodland and along the banks of one of the Lake District’s best known bodies of water.
There is plenty of wildlife to see, and the scenery along the route is magnificent. In particular, the viewpoints of Friar’s Crag and the Millennium Seat offer great panoramas of the surrounding fells. This route is ideal for those who want to explore the impressive landscapes of the Lake District, but at a much gentler, easier pace.
3. Kennet and Avon Canal stile-free walk
This section of the Kennet and Avon Canal trail takes in much of the beautiful scenery you would expect from the full route, but at a more manageable pace. This stile-free offering meanders from Devizes to Bath along 20 miles of level, easy terrain. The views of the canals and surrounding countryside are truly stunning as you stroll along the Avon Valley.
Sites of particular interest include the Caen Hill Lock Flight at Devizes and the Avoncliff Aqueduct. There is also plenty to see and do in the fantastic city of Bath, where your holiday concludes. This holiday route is perfect for new or less able walkers who want to discover the delights and stories of the English countryside.
4. Lincolnshire Coast Path stile-free walk
The Lincolnshire Coast Path opened in February 2019 as part of the England Coast Path. This walking holiday along a section of coastline is a relaxing 20 miles in length. The walk begins at Gibraltar Point, a thriving nature reserve filled with wildlife. It then follows clear promenades and sandy beaches all the way to Mablethorpe, a popular seaside resort.
There are several other wonderful places on this stile-free walk, such as the Victorian holiday destination of Skegness. This town in particular features historic buildings, valuable conservation efforts and amusements galore. This is the perfect coastal walking trail for anyone seeking a sense of tranquillity, with peace of mind knowing there are facilities within easy reach throughout your holiday.
Short daily mileage walking holidays
1. Hadrian’s Wall Path
As the UK’s most popular trail, Hadrian’s Wall follows Britain’s treasured monument across the north of England. Walkers from across the globe come to marvel at this remarkable insight into British history. We have two short daily mileage walking itineraries along Hadrian’s Wall Path.
Countours Holidays’ five-day Highlights of Hadrian’s Wall Path tour journeys from Corbridge to Brampton. The three-day Hadrian’s Wall Path Short Break is shorter, stretching from Chollerford to Lanercost. Both walks pass by the Roman forts of Chesters, Housesteads, Vindolanda and Birdoswald, among many other amazing sites.
2. Limestone Way
The White Peak region of the Peak District National Park is beautiful and tranquil. The limestone landscape has formed over thousands of years, creating fantastic cliffs, caves and gorges. Scattered amongst these is a mixture of woodland, farmland and rolling green hills, adding diversity to your journey.
The full Limestone Way trail can be walked in six days without exceeding ten walking miles per day. You can also walk the shorter Limestone Way Highlights tour, from Castleton to Matlock, in four days. Both walks visit the villages of Castleton, Youlgreave and Tissington, and pass through the deep gorge of Cave Dale.
3. Cotswold Way
The Cotswold Way National Trail is one of the UK’s favourite walking routes. This is thanks to the region’s tranquil, rolling landscapes and stone-built villages. The trail showcases unique examples of history, architecture and scenery found only in the Cotswolds.
You can walk the full Cotswold Way in thirteen days by walking ten miles per day or less. You can also enjoy just the North Section in six days or the South Section in seven days. Lastly, the Cotswold Way Short Break stretches between Dowdeswell and Kings Stanley in only three days.
4. South West Coast Path
The South West Coast Path National Trail is famous for its incredible coastal scenery. Though the idea of walking 630 miles is daunting to most, by breaking it into sections, the South West Coast Path can be enjoyed by any keen walker. There are three sections of the South West Coast Path that can be walked in under ten miles per day. These are Cornwall’s Atlantic Coast South, the Far West of Cornwall and East Devon.
5. Fife Coast Path
Setting off from the seaside town of Leven, this short break explores the beautiful East Neuk fishing villages that dot the coastline of Fife along this central section of the Fife Coast Path. All the best parts of the full-length trail are here, with long walks along sandy beaches and the occasional assent to clifftop paths, where you’ll find staggering views out to sea.
This walk draws to its conclusion in St Andrews, where you can visit a ruined 12th century castle, the famous golf club, or the towering remains of the largest cathedral in Scotland, making this an excellent place in which to celebrate the completion of your walk.
6. The Cumbria Way (central section)
Follow a mixture of woodland trails and lakeside paths on this two-day exploration of the Lake District, which follows the very central section of the Cumbria Way.
From the marvellous mountain views from Stake Pass to the enthralling expanse of Derwentwater, complete with its four islands, there’s an abundance of natural beauty to admire. Vibrant local towns provide perfect rest stops throughout, particularly the thriving town of Keswick, where this wonderful taster break comes to its conclusion.
Stile-free walks and short mileage holidays: what to expect
Contours will transport your luggage for you. Simply leave your bags at your accommodation and set out on footpaths through the UK countryside. Walk at your own pace, add detours as you please, and choose where to eat along the way.
Reservations and bookings, sorted
The team at Contours reserves all your overnight accommodation, breakfasts included, and arranges daily luggage transfers along with any lifts you might need to and from the trail.
Route, maps and instructions
Pick the ideal itinerary for your chosen route and receive your custom Holiday Pack four weeks before your tour begins. You’ll use these directions, along with the maps supplied, to navigate the trail. The custom holiday packs a bespoke information pack detailing your overnight stays and how to reach them. The beginner-friendly holidays are generally well-waymarked, meaning you’ll have signposts and trail markers to follow as well.
Support throughout your walking holiday
The Contours office is open 9.00-17.30 British local time from Monday-Saturday, and there is a dedicated emergency line operated 24/7 so you can always get in touch.
In short, Contours arranges everything you need to enjoy hiking a point-to-point trail leaving you with energy left over to make the walk your own. See if stress-free – and stile-free – adventures sound right for you.