The National Trails

The National Trails


What are National Trails? 

National Trails are long distance walking, cycling and horse riding routes through the best landscapes in England and Wales. In Scotland the equivalent trails are called Scotland’s Great Trails
There are 15 National Trails. Walkers can enjoy them all, cyclists and horse riders can enjoy the Pennine Bridleway and the South Downs Way, as well as sections of the other Trails. In total, England and Wales have around 2,500 miles (4,000 Km) of National Trail.
The England Coast Path will be the newest (and longest) National Trail when it is complete in 2020. The first section few sections are now open and more will be opening over the next few months.
Download 'The Best Trails in England and Wales' leaflet (pdf) to find out more about the National Trails.
For an overview of the Trails download our Trail Comparison chart 


How did National Trails come about?

Walking in the wild and beautiful parts of Britain became increasingly popular in the early decades of the Twentieth Century. After World War II the desire to keep areas of Britain “special” and to protect them from post-war development led to the establishment of National Parks, Areas of Outstanding National Beauty (AONBs) and Long Distance Routes (now called National Trails in England and Wales).
The first Trail was the Pennine Way, opened in 1965. 

How are National Trails looked after?

Each Trail in England and Wales has a Trail Partnership made up of the local authorities responsible for the path on the ground. Usually there is a dedicated National Trail Officer or Manager with responsibility for keeping the Trail up to the high standards set for National Trails. Maintenance work is carried out by the local highway authorities together with landowners often with the help of volunteers.
Funding for National Trails is provided by national government through Natural England and Natural Resources Wales and also by local highway authorities and other funding partners.
Promotion of National Trails is carried out by Walk Unlimited; a social enterprise dedicated to encouraging walking.

Find where the National Trails are

Where are the National Trails?

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