If anyone should know about country walks, it’s Clarkes Shoes who have been researching the secret gems of our countryside and coastal paths. Ann Evans has the details.




We’ve all found life difficult this year because of Covid-19, although many people have found that they have been able to get out in the fresh air more, especially in the summer months. However, the recent drop in temperature and increasing rain is making our daily walks less appealing.

So you might want to consider the Norwegian concept of friluftsliy meaning ‘a commitment to celebrating time outdoors, no matter the weather forecast.’ And rightfully so as regularly spending time outdoors with nature has huge benefits for our health and wellbeing. In a 2019 study, scientists found that spending just 20 minutes a day in nature reduces stress.

But with fluctuating lockdown rules and the need to enjoy life safely and responsibly outside our homes, where can people in the UK get outdoors while social distancing this winter?




To find out, Clarks analysed over 5,000 TripAdvisor listings and can now reveal The Best Kept Secrets of the UK Countryside. From parks and forests to beaches and hiking trails, they have come up with the nation’s top ten best places to get outdoors while social distancing.

These destinations have been ranked by the lowest number of reviews, but with the highest concentration of 5-star ratings to identify the most secluded but wonderful spots in the country.




The full list is available on Clarke’s website, but highlighting the top three places for beaches, hiking trails, parks and forests here, you’ll see there are some wonderful places to experience. So whether you want invigorating sea breezes, peaceful quiet walks or wild and rugged landscapes – there will be something for all tastes in your region.




Top 3 Beaches:

  1. Newburgh Seals Beach in Aberdeenshire
  2. Polin Beach in Caithness and Sutherland
  3. Embo Beach in the Scottish Highlands

 Top 3 Hiking Trails:

  1. Berwickshire Coastal Path in the Scottish Borders
  2. North Down Coastal Path in County Down
  3. Ben Craigforth in Stirling 

Top 3 Parks:

  1. Silverburn Park in Fife
  2. Southampton Common in Hampshire
  3. Hereford Board and Bike Park in Herefordshire 

Top 3 Forests:

  1. Newborough Forest on Anglesey Island
  2. Clare Glen Woodland in County Armagh
  3. Greatwood in Somerset




Sebastian Edwards, Men’s Business Manager at Clarks said: “Devon and Cornwall are typically renowned for amazing stretches of coastline, which is certainly true – but for a quieter seaside stroll, our research showed that Scotland is home to seven of the top ten best kept secret beaches in the UK.

“With the analysis covering every county in the country, however, there should be parks, forests, beaches, and hiking trails closer to home for everyone to enjoy while social distancing.”

He added: “Our stores remain closed for the second lockdown, but we’re committed to helping our customers find their ultimate pair of boots online to enjoy the outdoors in this season.”


Find out more about the Best Kept Secrets of the UK Countryside on the Clarks website.

Research credited to: https://www.clarks.co.uk/insight/best-kept-secrets


Don’t forget to enjoy public spaces, such as those listed, responsibly and in line with government rules and advice.