Last updated on May 26th, 2023 at 10:22 AM
Yorkshire has been named home to the top calorie-burning walk in the UK, based on its length, duration and elevation.
Worthwhile Walking Routes: The Top UK Trails, created by Peak Cottages, reveals which of the UK’s most popular trails tick all the boxes when it comes to intensity, accessibility and aesthetics, looking at metrics like rest stop frequency, elevation, and Instagram worthiness.
The study gathers data on each trail’s duration, length, elevation, type, and number of Instagram hashtags, as well as calorie-burning potential, rest stop frequency, average hiking rating, and distance from the nearest car park.
Lockdown prompted a surge in people taking up hiking as a replacement for indoor gyms during the pandemic, with a recent survey from Mintel revealing almost a quarter of Brits aged 16-24 (24%) were avid walkers, compared to just 16% back in 2018.
So for those who want to continue pushing themselves to stay fit outdoors, the study has named Saltaire to Skipton – otherwise known as the Dales Highway Section 1 – as the top walking route for fitness fans.
On this mega 32.5 km long route, walkers could burn a whopping 2,211 calories (kcal), making it an ideal trail for those looking to push themselves physically.
The study’s calorie burn rate was based on an average person’s weight (137lbs) carrying a 15lb backpack and was scaled based on route type, distance, and elevation.
The runner-up routes for fitness fanatics were revealed to be Ben Macdui: Cairn Gorm in Scotland – a 17.7 km route where ramblers could burn 1,446 kcal – and coastal walk Seaford to Eastbourne in East Sussex, 20.6 km long and 1,333 potential calories to burn.
And when it comes to the hotly-disputed North-South divide, how do walks up North fare against those in the South for intensity?
It’s the North that takes the top spot, boasting more intensive walks than those found in the South, with the average kcal burnt on walks at 1,079 kcal compared to the South’s 932 kcal.
As well as naming the best walks for fitness fanatics, the study named the top walking routes which are the most accessible and picturesque, and which boast the highest cumulative score across all metrics analysed.
Scafell Pike, in the Lake District, was crowned the UK’s top trail, followed by Peak District neighbour Mam Tor and The Great Ridge, and Pembrokeshire’s Solva to St David’s trail.
Yorkshire’s intensive Saltaire to Skipton route, as well as film-worthy Malham Cove to Gordale Scar, also made it into the top five UK walking routes.
Shannon Keary, PR Manager at Peak Cottages, weighed in on the study: “Given the big increase in walking trail interest over the last year and ever-fluctuating guidelines, it’s really encouraging to see how many great walking trails are available across the nation.
There truly is a walking route for everyone – whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned hiker – and it’s helpful to see them broken down by key metrics so people can easily find a trail suited to their needs.”