Scenic walks & cycle routes from stations

5 September 2021

Getting bored of the same old walking routes that you've been pacing during lockdown? Navigate new landscapes, marvel at spectacular vistas and explore exceptional scenery when you take the train.

Leave the car at home and go straight from rail to trail with plenty of walking routes easily accessible from railway stations across the country. You won't have to stress about traffic or parking, and you'll be helping to protect our environment as travelling by train is one of the greenest ways to travel. Not to mention you may even see some of Britain's most breath-taking views right from the train window.

We've pulled together some great suggestions below to help inspire you for your next travel adventure, just don't forget to swop your slippers for your walking boots before you leave the house!

We feature inspiration for day trips, short breaks and staycations on our Twitter, Facebook and Instagram channels so be sure to follow us for daily travel inspiration.

Train times are subject to change. Please check your route before you set off and allow extra travel time. If you're considering taking your bike on the train, please check the relevant train operator's website for the latest guidance. We strongly suggest you travel outside of busy periods and book in advance where possible. Many train operators have capacity checkers or provide advice on when services may be quieter, check their websites for details. We can't guarantee low prices on your particular route so please check with the train operator. The advice on our website is given in good faith.



Days out by rail in Scotland
Bass Rock. Photo: Lee Howard

Take the train from Stirling to Perth and choose from five scenic walks, each one starting and finishing at railway stations along the line. Featuring tranquil riverside paths, ancient woodland walks, rolling countryside treks or hiking routes with outstanding panoramic views you're sure to find a route for all abilities. Take a look here...

Explore 134 miles of ever-changing landscapes as you discover Scotland from coast to coast along the John Muir Way. Starting in Helensburgh, a Victorian holiday resort on the River Clyde, west of Glasgow and finishing in picturesque Dunbar, on the North Sea coast.

Step into the footsteps of John Muir in Dunbar, the Scotsman who after emigrating, was influential in the setup of the North American national parks and was an early advocate for the preservation of wilderness. John Muir Country Park is at the end of the John Muir Way and is a haven for birdwatching, deer spotting and organised walks with Llamas. A perfect place to escape into nature that is around a mile from the restaurants, shops and hotels of Dunbar High Street.

From Dunbar Railway Station you can take the stunning coastal path that provides breath-taking views out towards Bass Rock, a tiny island home to world's largest colony of northern gannets, to reach the John Muir Country Park. The station is only two minutes away from the High Street, five minutes to the beach and around six minutes to the harbour.

North West

Days out by rail in Derbyshire Peak District
Ladybower Reservoir

Parbold Station, situated along the Wigan to Southport line, is ideally located as the starting point for many different walks, hikes and cycle routes. It lies within the scenic Douglas Valley providing easy access to the spectacular viewpoints of Parbold Hill and Ashurst Beacon. Alternatively, you can stay by the waterside and enjoy a peaceful walk along the nearby Leeds and Liverpool Canal. Head into Parbold village for a choice of pubs, cafes and eateries, providing the perfect addition to your day out. See more details of walks here...

Discover one of Britain's most scenic waterways, the Peak Forest Canal, meandering through magnificent landscapes to the edge of the Peak District, with easy access from Romiley Station, along the Hope Valley Line. Enjoy walking or cycling at the canal side and marvel at spectacular views of Marple Aqueduct and River Goyt. Head to nearby Rose Hill (next stop on the line) to join the Middlewood Way, an 11-mile linear park following the route of the former Macclesfield, Bolllington and Marple railway, in operation between 1869 and 1970.

Take a scenic journey from Manchester along the picturesque Buxton Line and leave the train at Disley. From this station follow the waymarked route into National Trust Lyme Park. With free entry to the scenic parkland featuring woodland walks, moorland, adventure playground, café, gift shop and picnic areas you can easily spend a full day exploring the park without having to worry about the traffic on the A6. Disley Station is also the start of The Gritstone Trail, a 35 mile footpath leading to Kidsgrove Station, picking out some of the finest vantage viewpoints of the Cheshire Plain.

From Hope and Bamford stations, along the Hope Valley Line, you'll be able to pick up the Hope Valley Explorer Bus to Castleton for spectacular views and walks to Mam Tor, Winnats Pass and Peveril Castle. There are also many caves, gift shops and cafes in this pretty village.

The Hope Valley Explorer Bus can also take you up to Ladybower in the Upper Derwent Valley where you can walk to the dams made famous by the Dambusters of WWII and take in the wonderful reservoir views. You can also get £4 discount on bike hire from Derwent Bike Hire with your train ticket.

There's still time to take a special trip with DalesRail, a rail service operating every Sunday in summer, until 11 September (if you miss it be sure to check the website for 2023 dates when released). This train service links Lancashire with the scenic Ribble Valley, Yorkshire Dales and Eden Valley aimed at walkers and those looking for a special day out. With this service you can catch the train at Clitheroe and explore the stunning landscapes of Settle, Ribblehead and up to Carlisle, ideal for walkers. Look out for organised walking events throughout the summer run by Lancashire Rail Ramblers. Find out more.

Yorkshire & North East

Days out by rail in Durham
Seaham Lighthouse

Take a scenic journey into the heart of West Yorkshire along the Calder Valley Line and leave the train at Halifax. From here you can walk to the impressive Beacon Hill, boasting panoramic views, explore Anne Lister's Shibden Hall, featured in 'Gentleman Jack', and join the Hebble Trail that follows the route of the old Halifax Branch Canal.

Navigate the Durham Heritage Coast on foot as you leave the train at Seaham Station. From here you can follow the route that takes you from this lively harbour town along the coast through Easington Colliery and down into Castle Eden Dene. The coastal path then leads on to Blackhall where the final dramatic scenes of Get Carter were played out. Next you'll pass the fascinating smugglers caves of Blackhall Rocks and through Crimdon Dene into Hartlepool before picking the train back up. See part of the route here.


Scenic walks and days out by rail in the Midlands
Get exploring with Geocaching.

Once a thriving railway line, the Merelake Way is now a peaceful walking route, less than 10 minutes from Alsager Station, along the picturesque North Staffordshire Line. This footpath follows a wooded cutting as it climbs uphill towards the Staffordshire border at Merelake and is ideal for a spot of bird watching.

Heading back to Alsager Station you can explore the Salt Line and Borrow Pit Meadows. This route covers just under two miles of disused railway track and is less than a 10 minute cycle ride from the station. Along the footpath look out for the Solar System Trail and the Tale of Trees, two self-guided walks around the meadows. If Geocaching is your thing there's plenty to uncover along the way so get your GPS at the ready.

Looking for organised walks? You'll want to head to the Wellington Walking Festival, returning for its 10th year from 13 to 19 September. This year, alongside its regular walks for health, the festival will be hosting special guided walks that explore the plants, trees and animals that make the area their home. Many walks are specified as railway friendly, with start times reflecting train arrivals and being easy to reach from Wellington Railway Station. Booking is essential, find out more here.


Scenic walks and days out by rail in Essex
Essex countryside views

Step straight from train to footpath as you make the most of Essex's rail network connecting with 17 different walking routes across the region. Head across rolling countryside or along one of the county's many waterways and discover independent shops and businesses in pretty villages and coastal towns on self-guided walking trails. Find out more online here or download the Go Jauntly app to access them on the move.

South East

Scenic walks and days out by rail in the south east
Arundel Castle

Looking for a more challenging walk? Aimed at experienced walkers, the Midhurst Way is a long-distance route starting at Haslemere Railway Station and finishing at Arundel Railway Station. You'll want to be prepared for this one, bring your map and don't forget your essential supplies. Highlights along the route include Petworth House, a 17th century mansion set within 700 acres of beautiful parkland, postcard-perfect views of the River Rother, and the majestic Arundel Castle, dating back to 1067 overlooking scenic West Sussex countryside.

Have a trip along the picturesque Medway Valley Line and enjoy a variety of walks starting from each station. These routes take you through charming towns and villages, along the tranquil river and past pretty orchards and magical woodlands. Filled with history and wildlife these walking paths are sure to capture the interest of all the family. Look out for kingfishers and otters along the riverside trails and admire the stunning Archbishop's Palace near Maidstone West. See the stations and walking routes here.

South West

Scenic walks and days out by rail in Gloucestershire

The lush, verdant countryside of the Blackmore Vale and Nadder Valley offers an extensive choice of walking or cycling routes. Tisbury, situated along the beautiful Blackmore Vale Line, lies within the Cranborne Chase and West Wiltshire Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and makes an excellent base from which to explore the countryside of the Nadder Valley. Tisbury Railway Station is the only dark sky friendly railway station in the UK and provides a gateway to Cranborne Chase AONB and International Dark Sky Reservation.

Why not hire an electric mountain bike and discover the delights of Cranborne Chase on two wheels? Be sure to book before you leave and just collect your e-bike from the hire centre, less than 20 minutes walk from the station. Book your bike here.

See full walking & cycling routes in Cranborne Chase AONB here.

Remaining on the Blackmore Vale Line, you'll reach Gillingham, a Walkers are Welcome town in Dorset. Look out for the annual Walking Festival taking place 4 - 11 September, proving a rich programme of free guided walks for all ages and abilities throughout the week.

Get ready for picture-perfect scenery as you explore the attractive landscapes of Gloucestershire on foot. Starting at a railway station, you can take in the local heritage, farms (including alpacas!) and enjoy food and drink from independent eateries. Discover paths in and around the charming towns of Stonehouse, Stroud and Cheltenham. Look out for the fascinating self-led trail Kingfisher Trail too. View and download the maps here.

Don't forget to follow us on social media to get a daily boost of inspiration on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

We encourage you to explore these journeys safely by adhering to the latest government advice. Before planning any journey, please check the government guidance on travelling on public transport, relevant to where you are: England, Scotland, Wales. Please research your journey in advance as timetables can change and check for disruptions before you set off.

These scenic railway routes are supported by community rail partnerships, you can find out more about each partnership on the individual line pages linked above. Community rail is a growing grassroots movement made up of community rail partnerships and groups across Britain. They engage communities and help people get the most from their railways, promoting social inclusion and sustainable travel while working alongside train operators to bring about improvements. Learn more about community rail across Britain and how you can get involved through the Community Rail Network website.

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