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Wild Escapes

Posted to Wanderlustings by Lauren on 1st May 2019

Snow-capped mountains, long stretches of golden sand and ancient forests with hidden glades alive with butterflies; the United Kingdom offers so much more than bleak weather and roast dinners. Dip your feet in sparkling lakes, climb up and over cloud-scraping peaks and embrace this small but mighty island for what it really is; a wild and illustrious land filled with mystery, legend and bucket-loads of personality. Today we take you on a journey through some of the UK’s most breathtaking national parks, traversing across barren moorland and along sweeping coastlines in search of a real connectivity to the natural world.

With such inspiring landscapes right on our front door and a planet in the depths of a climate emergency, we ask one very important question; is international travel really a necessity?

Dartmoor

Devon’s rugged heart, Dartmoor is a land of windswept heathland and weathered tors, a land where tales of the Devil’s hounds and faeries abound and cut-off villages nestle in the crook cavernous valleys. In the north, so seldom visited by anyone other than ambitious hikers, farmers and the military, huge hunks of rock emerge from enormous hills and reach for the clouds, while in the south, the leafy River Dart gently meanders between rolling hummocks and patchworked fields. Howling winds, snug sofas by roaring fires and dappled riverbanks alive with electric blue kingfishers, Dartmoor is a place of glorious, wonderful, stunning extremes.


Image via visitdartmoor.co.uk

Where to stay: Sojourn, Peacock Blue, Wrey Mist, The Riddle

The Pembrokeshire Coast

Limestone cliffs, pretty harbour villages and volcanic headlands all stitch together to make up the United Kingdom’s only fully coastal National Park. The Pembrokeshire coast, seemingly as far from the madding crowds as anyone can possibly get, is home to happy wildlife en masse, with dolphins, porpoises and seals happily living in the surf while rare bee orchids sway on clifftops in the sea breeze. Bracing hikes, exhilarating boat trips and lazy days with toes buried in the sand, Pembrokeshire is the opportunity to disconnect from the emails and social media and lose yourself in what really matters.

Where to stay: Seren Mor, The Cable Hut

The New Forest

Never-ending tangled woodlands and untamed heathlands stretch across the coast of central-southern England to create a National Park which epitomises the very essence of the British countryside. Trees, beaches and cycling routes are all in abundance here, but while these natural beauties and outdoor pursuits are a pull all by themselves, it’s the community spirit of the New Forest which really sets it apart. Drop in beach cleans, youth theatre groups beneath the pines and an overwhelming focus on sustainability and regeneration; the New Forest is taking the lead on the future of conservation in the United Kingdom.


Image via New Forest Destination Partnership

Where to stay: The Cinders, The Sanctuary

Loch Lomond and The Trossachs

Rugged mountains reach for the sky in the north and lolling lowland hills swell towards Glasgow in the south, Loch Lomond and The Trossachs are one of Scotland’s most-loved landscapes for very good reason. By day, lochs reflect scurrying clouds rushing across the skies while by night, snowy summits glow by light of the moon. Here, huge bodies of water contain adventures aplenty and mussels for foraging, while gentle canals carve through the Munros with silent ease. Whether hiking, climbing, sailing or canoeing, there is one thing for certain for any visitor to this rather swoonworthy Scottish landscape; awe and wonder will drag you back again and again.

Where to stay: Little Eden

Exmoor

The road far less-travelled in comparison to neighbouring Dartmoor, but so diverse in biodiversity and ancient ruins, Exmoor is a dream for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. On the coast, huge cliffs plunge from sky to sea, long stretches of golden sands softly sweep for miles on end and heathered moorland hides archaeological remains. Inland, huge swathes of treeless land is crisscrossed by hundreds of miles of trails and cool rivers encourage wild swimming and lazy picnics. There are wooded valleys and beaches which wouldn’t look out of place in the Med and skies so unpolluted by light that the stars fill every inch of darkness. Exmoor National Park is a true wonder to behold.


Image via exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk

Where to stay: The Pomegranate Tree

Properties featured in this article: Sojourn, Peacock Blue, Wrey Mist, The Riddle, Seren Mor, The Cable Hut, Little Cannon, The Cinders, The Sanctuary, Little Eden, The Pomegranate Tree

1st May 2019
by Lauren

Lauren

Lauren has spent years travelling on the back of her adventure-travel blog, learning a thing or two about luxury homestays along the way.

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