Skip to content
Free UK delivery if you spend £45 or more
Free UK delivery if you spend £45 or more


Wishing you a happy National Trails Day

 Saturday 3rd of June is National Trails Day. This started in the USA and is held on the first Saturday in June each year to celebrate the importance of trails and has now spread to other countries. In England and Wales it is very appropriate for us to celebrate National Trails Day as we have a unique family of National Trails. 

National Trails Which ones have you walked poster from The Trails Shop
Detail from National Trails Which ones have you walked poster
National Trails Which ones have you walked poster from The Trails Shop
Detail from National Trails Which ones have you walked poster

National Trails poster - which ones have you walked?

National Trails poster - which ones have you walked?,

£ 6.50

Exclusive to The Trails Shop, this lovely poster shows all of the National Trails in England and Wales, including open sections of the England Coast Path. Each...

  • A3
  • A2

What are National Trails?

 National Trails are long distance walking, and sometimes cycling and horse riding, routes in England and Wales. They are designated by government and supported by Natural England and Natural Resources Wales. Each trail is managed on the ground by local authorities, usually working through a Trail Partnership and employing a Trail Officer. Some trails fall within one local authority area, for example Peddars Way & Norfolk Coast Path, others are managed by a number of authorities and National Parks, for example the Pennine Way. 

Cotswold Way waymarker


The National Trails are:

There are lots of long distance routes that are not National Trails, so what makes them special?

The National Trails have been selected to showcase the very best landscapes of England and Wales. The first National Trail was the Pennine Way which was opened in 1965, followed by the Cleveland Way in 1969. The newest is the Coast to Coast which is undergoing the transition between being a long distance walk and a National Trail, and of course the newly renamed (to celebrate the Coronation) King Charles III England Coast Path which is being opened in sections, but when complete will be the longest continuous coastal walk in the world. 

Pennine Way signpost

The main difference you will find between National Trails and long distance walks is the way they are managed. National Trails are funded by Natural England and Natural Resources Wales in addition to the funding provided by the local authorities. This higher level of funding mean that they are managed to a higher standard than most routes, and you can see that when you walk them. They are very well waymarked, with the distinctive acorn sign (the symbol of National Trails) and usually with destination and distances. They are well maintained, with good quality surfaces, and many are now completely stile-free making them accessible to more people. 

 But there is more to it than that. All of the National Trail teams work hard to improve accessibility through removing stiles, improving gates, staff and volunteer training and information provision. The Trail staff are very experienced and knowledgeable, they know everything there is to know about their trails. They work with local partners to improve the habitats the trails pass through, and to help promote local businesses. The National Trail website has loads of useful information and is kept up date by Trail staff and Natural England. A lot of work happens behind the scenes to make the trails you enjoy so fabulous.

Does Wales have National Trails?

Wales has the same legislation as England in regard to National Trails. There are three National Trails in Wales, the Pembrokeshire Coast Path, Glyndwr’s Way and Offa’s Dyke Path – which follows the border so is in and out of England and Wales all the way along. 

Wales also has the Wales Coast Path, which isn’t a National Trail, but does provide a continuous route around the Welsh coast, and, when joined to the completed England Coast Path will provide a fully continuous route around the coast of England and Wales. If you fancy walking this, then you can always use Hadrian’s Wall Path to make it a full circuit!
Signpost on Offa's Dyke Path

Does Scotland have National Trails?

There aren’t National Trails in Scotland, as the legislation is different. Instead the best routes are called Scotland’s Great Trails. There are currently 29 Scotland’s Great Trails including the ever-popular West Highland Way, Great Glen Way and St Cuthbert’s Way and the lesser known Three Lochs Way and Dava Way. You can see them all on our Scotland’s Great Trail poster.
Thistle waymarker on West Highland Way

Why walk a National Trail?

If you haven’t ever attempted a long distance walk you might wonder what it is all about – why would anyone want to spend a week or more walking from place to place? It is hard to put into words just how amazing and often life-changing an experience it can be. There is something incredibly freeing about walking – your whole aim for the day is the walk, you have plenty of time to enjoy the scenery and think, or chat with your companions if you are walking with others. It can build very strong bonds between fellow walkers. The rhythm of walking calms your brain. We know that many people who complete a long distance walk immediately go on to book another one, it can be addictive! Early Christians recognised the value of walking long distances which is why pilgrimage routes exist. 

Group of walkers

What are Pilgrimage routes?

Pilgrimage routes have undergone something of a renaissance in the past 10 years. The most famous of all is probably the Camino de Santiago, but there are many other popular pilgrimage routes including the Via Francigena and St Olav’s Way. There are also lots of pilgrimage routes in the UK including The Pilgrim’s Way, St Cuthbert’s Way, The Northern Pilgrim’s Way and St Hilda’s Way. You can find out more in our Pilgrimage books

 Although none of the National Trails are pilgrim trails, many of them follow sections of pilgrim routes. The North Downs Way, for example, is part of the Via Francigena which goes from Canterbury Cathedral, through France and Switzerland to Rome and then to Apulia, Italy, where there were ports of embarkation for the Holy Land. 

Camino de Santiago waymarker

Photo credits