Mention walking holidays to most people and they envisage rucksack-laden, drizzle-ridden, days slogging uphill and down dale in high-vis cagoules.
Not so! There are plenty of more civilised and attractive ways to spend time on foot exploring the countryside. The UK is scattered with a host of lowland walks and cycle paths created from old railway lines, along which mainline expresses and tank engines once chugged along at a stately pace.
The disused tracks now ring to the muted trills of bicycle bells and birdsong – a haven of wildlife, colourful flora and stunning rural views, no longer viewable only through a train window.
Why not book a holiday cottage for a few nights outside the Peak Season to explore out-and-back walks or cycle rides along an easy trail lined with old railway architecture, cream-teas and beer stops for the weary.
For those to whom the idea of a trip to the Yorkshire Wolds appeals, consider the Hudson Way Trail. This is an eleven-mile stretch from Market Weighton to Beverley on a line that once linked York with Hull – in a roundabout kind of way.
Built by George Hudson the disgraced Victorian ‘Railway King’ in 1865, it lasted for 100-years before falling to the Beeching Axe in 1965. Thanks to the foresight of the old East Riding County Council, it emerged as a recreational path in the mid-1970s. The trail passes through cuttings and embankments amidst peaceful and unspoilt countryside.
The line forms a section of another long-distance walk – the Wilberforce Way.
Kiplingcotes Station: The old station and its platforms, a signal box, name boards and goods shed still stands, the station itself having been converted to a private house. The signal box is now an information centre run by the Yorkshire Wolds Heritage Trust.
The Kiplingcotes Chalk Pit: Administered by the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, it is a natural haunt for birdwatchers (as well as birds who come to be watched).
Beverley: Allow time here, for it’s a historic town worth exploring. It possesses a magnificent Minster and a splendid, fully restored Grade II-listed station with an upmarket restaurant.
Cherry Burton Station: Deviate for an hour or so here to visit the Bay Horse pub (purely for restorative purposes) in this attractive village.
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