The UK's 10 best

The wild, dramatic scenery and varied landscape of the United Kingdom has made hiking (or walking) a hugely popular pastime. There’s something for all levels of fitness and enthusiasm.

Here are 10 of the UK's best hiking trails.

Scafell Pike – England

At 978m (3209ft), England's highest mountain features on many hiker's bucket list. The classic route starts from Wasdale Head; it's hard going but within the reach of most moderately fit walkers.

It's a return trip of around 6 to 7 hours. Proper gear is essential: raincoat, backpack, map, food, water and hiking boots. A favorable weather forecast is preferable to make the most of the views.

Helvellyn – England

Along with Scafell Pike, Helvellyn is the challenging hike everyone wants to do.

The classic ascent in The Lake District takes in the twin ridges of Striding and Swirral Edge, which are spectacular but very exposed and involve some scrambling and steep drops on either side.

If you're at all nervous of heights, Helvellyn is not the fell for you. The usual routes climb up through Glenridding or Patterdale. Always check the weather forecast and take necessary supplies.

Brown Willy – Cornwall

Stop sniggering. A perennial source of amusement for Cornish schoolkids, Cornwall’s highest hill actually gets its name from the Cornish bronn wennili, or “hill of swallows”.

From the car park at Poldue Downs, it's a there-and-back tramp of about 8.9km (5.5 miles): the ascent is steep but straightforward, winding through heathland, bog and boulders to the summit.

Along the way, you can also bag Cornwall's second-highest summit, Rough Tor (pronounced row, to rhyme with cow).

Southern Upland Way – Scotland

Southern Scotland's most famous walk is the challenging 341km (212-mile) Southern Upland, which runs coast to coast from Portpatrick to Cockburnspath.

If you want a sample, one of the best bits is the three- to four-day section from Dalry to Beattock.