9 of The Best Long Distance Walks in England

by:

Sam McCraw

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England has many fantastic long distance walks to choose from. In this guide we’ve picked out 9 of the best that were sure you’re going to love. 

From the easy going and quiet trail through the Yorkshire Wolds Way to the rugged and wild tracks of the Coast to Coast Walk there’s a hike in this list for every type and level of hiker. 

We’ve given you all the details (and hopefully inspiration) you need to choose one of them and go on an escapade of a lifetime! Enjoy the guide!

#
Hike
Distance
Days
Difficulty
More Info
#1
South West Coast Path
630 miles / 1014km
30 – 56
3.8/5
#2
Pennine Way
268 miles / 430km
15 – 19
3.4/5
#3
Dales Way
81 miles / 128km
4 – 6
3/5
#4
Coast to Coast Walk
192 miles / 309km
12 – 15
3.6/5
#5
The Ridgeway
87 miles / 139km
5 – 7
3.1/5
#6
Cotswold Way
102 miles / 164km
6 – 10
2.6/5
#7
South Downs Way
100 miles / 160km
7 – 9
2.3/5
#8
Hadrian’s Wall Path
84 miles / 135km
5 – 7
3/5
#9
Yorkshire Wolds Way
80 miles / 129km
4 – 6
1.8/5

South West Coast Path

Start:
Minehead

End:
South Heaton

Distance:
630 miles / 1014km

Time:
30 – 56 Days

3.8/5

Difficulty:
Intermediate +

Image credit: Robert Pittman

The majestic South West Coastal Path route was originally laid down to help coastguards intercept smugglers, but has become one of Britain’s most popular walks.  

From it’s starting point at Minehead it weaves a path along the coast of North Devon, encircles the entire coast of Cornwall and passes along the South Devon coast. 

Along this unforgettable trail walkers pass through two World Heritage Sites, five areas of outstanding natural beauty and one national park. 

With no two days ever the same and so much to take in, this walk will leave a lasting impression. 

Stage Breakdown

Stage 1: Minehead to Westward Ho!
  • Start: Minehead
  • End: Westward Ho!
  • Distance: 87 miles / 140km
  • Days: 5 - 7
  • Stage 2: Westward Ho! to Padstow
  • Start: Westward Ho!
  • End: Padstow
  • Distance: 78 miles / 126km
  • Days: 5 - 7
  • Stage 3: Padstow to St Ives
  • Start: Padstow
  • End: St Ives
  • Distance: 66 miles / 106km
  • Days: 4 - 7
  • Stage 4: St Ives to The Lizard
  • Start: St Ives
  • End: The Lizard
  • Distance: 69 miles / 111km
  • Days: 4 - 7
  • Stage 5: The Lizard to Par
  • Start: The Lizard
  • End: Par
  • Distance: 72 miles / 116km
  • Days: 5 - 7
  • Stage 6: Par to Torcross
  • Start: Par
  • End: Torcross
  • Distance: 94 miles / 151km
  • Days: 5 - 8
  • Stage 7: Torcross to Seaton
  • Start: Torcross
  • End: Seaton
  • Distance: 72 miles / 116km
  • Days: 5 - 7
  • Stage 8: Seaton to South Heaton
  • Start: Seaton
  • End: South Heaton
  • Distance: 92 miles / 148km
  • Days: 5 - 8
  • Walk Details

    Start: Minehead
    End: South Heaton
    630 miles / 1014km
    Get permission to wild camp

    Highlights

    Unique & stunning geology
    Many quaint coastal towns
    World Heritage Sites
    Amazing coastal wildlife

    Gallery

    Pennine Way

    Start:
    Edale

    End:
    Kirk Yetholm

    Distance:
    268 miles / 430km

    Time:
    15 - 19 Days

    3.6/5

    Difficulty:
    Intermediate +

    Image credit: Robert J Heath

    The Pennine Way, a 268 mile route across the backbone of the Pennines.  Separating northeast and northwest England, it runs from the Peak District to Kirk Yetholm in Scotland. 

    Not a walk for beginners – this trail can be challenging at times but the natural beauty and awe inspiring sites more than make it worth the effort. 

    There are so many highlights as the route passes through several national parks, gritstone moors, remote stretches in North Pennines and the glorious bleakness of the Cheviot Hills. 

    This route will have you challenging yourself, and making some unforgettable memories. 

    Day Breakdown

    Day 1: Edale to Crowden
  • Start: Edale
  • End: Crowden
  • Distance: 16 miles / 26km
  • Day 2: Crowden to Standedge
  • Start: Crowden
  • End: Standedge
  • Distance: 11 miles / 18km
  • Day 3: Standedge to Calder Valley
  • Start: Standedge
  • End: Calder Valley
  • Distance: 11 miles / 18km
  • Day 4: Calder Valley to Ickornshaw
  • Start: Calder Valley
  • End: Ickornshaw
  • Distance: 16miles / 26km
  • Day 5: Ickornshaw to Malham
  • Start: Ickornshaw
  • End: Malham
  • Distance: 17 miles / 27km
  • Day 6: Malham to Horton in Ribblesdale
  • Start: Malham
  • End: Horton in Ribblesdale
  • Distance: 14.5 miles / 23km
  • Day 7: Horton in Ribblesdale to Hawes
  • Start: Horton in Ribblesdale
  • End: Hawes
  • Distance: 14 miles / 23km
  • Day 8: Hawes to Tan Hill
  • Start: Hawes
  • End: Tan Hill
  • Distance: 16.5 miles / 27km
  • Day 9: Tan Hill to Middleton in Teesdale
  • Start: Tan Hill
  • End: Middleton in Teesdale
  • Distance: 17 miles / 27km
  • Day 10: Middleton in Teesdale to Dufton
  • Start: Middleton in Teesdale
  • End: Dufton
  • Distance: 21 miles / 34km
  • Day 11: Dufton to Alston
  • Start: Dufton
  • End: Alston
  • Distance: 20 miles / 32km
  • Day 12: Alston to Greenhead
  • Start: Alston
  • End: Greenhead
  • Distance: 16.5 miles / 26km
  • Day 13: Greenhead to Bellingham
  • Start: Greenhead
  • End: Bellingham
  • Distance: 22 miles / 35km
  • Day 14: Bellingham to Byrness
  • Start: Bellingham
  • End: Byrness
  • Distance: 15 miles / 24km
  • Day 15: Byrness to Windy Gyle
  • Start: Byrness
  • End: Windy Gyle
  • Distance: 14 miles / 22km
  • Day 16: Windy Gyle to Kirk Yetholm
  • Start: Windy Gyle
  • End: Kirk Yetholm
  • Distance: 13 miles / 21km
  • Walk Details

    Start: Edale
    End: Kirk Yetholm
    268 miles / 430km
    Get permission to wild camp

    Highlights

    The Cheviot Hills
    Hadrian's Wall
    High Cup Nick
    Stunning wildlife

    Gallery

    Dales Way

    Start:
    Ilkley

    End:
    B-O-Windermere

    Distance:
    81 miles / 128km

    Time:
    4 - 6 Days

    3/5

    Difficulty:
    Beginners +

    Image credit: chantrybee

    When a route has pubs all along it that offer bed and breakfast, you know it’s a popular trail and this is exactly the case with Dales Way. 

    Crossing some of the best known walking territory in Britain such as Wharfe Valley in Yorkshire and the Lake District, the path takes walkers through scenic landscapes: along mountain ridges, past stunning lakes, sheltered valleys, patchworks of moorland and beautiful forestry. 

    There are some steep sections, but the abundance of accommodation means that days can be split up easily into manageable chunks, making it a great introductory long distance walk  for hikers. 

    Day Breakdown

    Day 1: Ilkley to Grassington
  • Start: Ilkley
  • End: Grassington
  • Distance: 16.3 miles / 26.3km
  • Ascent: 519m
  • Day 2: Grassington to Yockenthwaite
  • Start: Grassington
  • End: Yockenthwaite
  • Distance: 13.5 miles / 21.8km
  • Ascent: 474m
  • Day 3: Yockenthwaite to Dent
  • Start: Yockenthwaite
  • End: Dent
  • Distance: 17.2 miles / 27.7km
  • Ascent: 355m
  • Day 4: Dent to Kendal
  • Start: Dent
  • End: Kendal
  • Distance: 17.8 miles / 28.7km
  • Ascent: 513m
  • Day 5: Kendal to B-O Windermere
  • Start: Kendal
  • End: Bowness on Windermere
  • Distance: 11.3 miles / 18.2km
  • Ascent: 383m
  • Walk Details

    Start: Ilkley
    End: Bowness on Windermere
    81 miles / 128km
    Get permission to wild camp

    Highlights

    Quaint & unspoiled villages
    Stunning landscapes
    Amazing food options
    Historic landmarks

    Gallery

    Coast to Coast Walk

    Start:
    St Bees Head

    End:
    Robin Hood's Bay

    Distance:
    192 miles / 309km

    Time:
    12 - 15 Days

    3.6/5

    Difficulty:
    Intermediate +

    Stretching across the entire north of England the Coast to Coast walk takes you through some stunning parts of the country. 

    Assuming St Beesis your starting point, the walk quickly leads you into the beautiful Lake District valleys of Barrowdale, Grasmere, and Patterdale.

    Leaving the Lake Distrct walkers then enter the gentler landscapes of the Yorkshire Dales with its hills, rivers, limestone cliffs, and traditional villages and farmlands. 

    The final stretch goes through the alluring North York Moors before reaching the cliffs of the North Sea coast and traversing down to the cobblestoned streets of Robin Hood’s Bay. 

    Day Breakdown

    Day 1: St Bees Head to Ennerdale Bridge
  • Start: St Bees Head
  • End: Ennerdale Bridge
  • Distance: 13 miles / 21km
  • Ascent: 785m
  • Day 2: Ennerdale Bridge to Rosthwaite
  • Start: Ennerdale Bridge
  • End: Rosthwaite
  • Distance: 14.5 miles / 23.3km
  • Ascent: 1409m
  • Day 3: Rosthwaite to Patterdale
  • Start: Rosthwaite
  • End: Patterdale
  • Distance: 15.4 miles / 24.8km
  • Ascent: 1651m
  • Day 4: Patterdale to Shap
  • Start: Patterdale
  • End: Shap
  • Distance: 15.5 miles / 24.9km
  • Ascent: 1224m
  • Day 5: Shap to Kirkby Stephen
  • Start: Shap
  • End: Kirkby Stephen
  • Distance: 19.3 miles / 31.1km
  • Ascent: 661m
  • Day 6: Kirkby Stephen to Keld
  • Start: Kirkby Stephen
  • End: Keld
  • Distance: 14 miles / 22.5km
  • Ascent: 831m
  • Day 7: Keld to Grinton Lodge
  • Start: Keld
  • End: Grinton Lodge
  • Distance: 12.2 miles / 19.6km
  • Ascent: 358m
  • Day 8: G-Lodge to Catterick Bridge
  • Start: Grinton Lodge
  • End: Catterick Bridge
  • Distance: 14 miles / 22.5km
  • Ascent: 526m
  • Day 9: Catterick Bridge to Ingleby Cross
  • Start: Catterick Bridge
  • End: Ingleby Cross
  • Distance: 16.7 miles / 26.8km
  • Ascent: 151m
  • Day 10: Ingleby Cross to Clay Bank Top
  • Start: Ingleby Cross
  • End: Clay Bank Top
  • Distance: 11.2 miles / 18km
  • Ascent: 927m
  • Day 11: Clay Bank Top to Glaisdale
  • Start: Clay Bank Top
  • End: Glaisdale
  • Distance: 18.5 miles / 29.8km
  • Ascent: 463m
  • Day 12: Glaisdale to Robin Hood’s Bay
  • Start: Glaisdale
  • End: Robin Hood’s Bay
  • Distance: 17.4 miles / 28km
  • Ascent: 652m
  • Walk Details

    Start: St Bees Head
    End: Robin Hood's Bay
    192 miles / 309km
    Get permission to wild camp

    Highlights

    Beautiful villages
    Lake District scenery
    Stunning Yorkshire Dales
    Coastal views & landscape

    Gallery

    Image credits: sagesolar, Robert J Heath

    The Ridgeway Walk

    Start:
    Ivinghoe Beacon

    End:
    Avebury

    Distance:
    87 miles / 140km

    Time:
    5 - 7 Days

    2.7/5

    Difficulty:
    Beginners +

    Image credit: Andrew Bowden

    Called England’s oldest road, the Ridgeway trail was the preferred route used by soliers, traders, drovers, and carts for 6,000 years. 

    It was originally built across the chalk downs of southern England to allow safe and dry progress above the untamed woods and boggy countryside below. 

    The trail can be taken from either direction and takes walkers through five counties: Wiltshire, Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Hertfordshire, and Buckinghamshire. 

    Along the way are World Heritage Sites, ancient monuments, woodland, leafy paths, views from the ridge, and the occasional quaint village.  

    Day Breakdown

    Day 1: Ivinghoe Beacon to Hastoe Cross
  • Start: Ivinghoe Beacon
  • End: Hastoe Cross
  • Distance: 6.3 miles / 10.1km
  • Ascent: 213m
  • Day 2: Hastoe Cross to Chinnor
  • Start: Hastoe Cross
  • End: Chinnor
  • Distance: 16.6 miles / 26.7km
  • Ascent: 549m
  • Day 3: Chinnor to Wallingford
  • Start: Chinnor
  • End: Wallingford
  • Distance: 15.1 miles / 24.2km
  • Ascent: 334m
  • Day 4: Wallingford to East Ilsley
  • Start: Wallingford
  • End: East Ilsley
  • Distance: 13 miles / 20.9km
  • Ascent: 260m
  • Day 5: East Ilsley to Ashbury
  • Start: East Ilsley
  • End: Ashbury
  • Distance: 17.1 miles / 27.5km
  • Ascent: 467m
  • Day 6: Ashbury to Ogbourne St George
  • Start: Ashbury
  • End: Ogbourne St George
  • Distance: 11 miles / 17.7km
  • Ascent: 246m
  • Day 7: Ogbourne St George to Avebury
  • Start: Ogbourne St George
  • End: Avebury
  • Distance: 12.3 miles / 19.8km
  • Ascent: 255m
  • Walk Details

    Start: Ivinghoe Beacon
    End: Avebury
    87 miles / 140km
    Get permission to wild camp

    Highlights

    Views from the ridge
    White chalk horses
    Beautiful English countryside
    Incredible natural landscapes

    Gallery

    Cotswold Way

    Start:
    Chipping Campden

    End:
    Bath

    Distance:
    102 miles / 164km

    Time:
    6 - 10 Days

    2.6/5

    Difficulty:
    Beginners +

    This much loved long distance trail has become one of England’s quintessential hikes, giving those who venture it views of idyllic villages, and jaw-dropping landscapes such as the limestone grasslands of the Cleeve Hill Ring and the Leckhampton Loop. 

    Starting in Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire what follows is ridgelines and escarpments overlooking stunning countryside, deep valleys, rich meadows, and numerous traditional Cotswold villages before coming to an end in Somerset’s World Heritage city of Bath. 

    If you’re looking to experience English countryside as well as a wealth of history along the way then this is the walk for you. 

    Day Breakdown

    Day 1: Chip' Campden to Winchcombe
  • Start: Chipping Campden
  • End: Hastoe Cross
  • Distance: 18 miles / 29km
  • Ascent: 708m
  • Day 2: Winchcombe to Birdlip
  • Start: Winchcombe
  • End: Birdlip
  • Distance: 22 miles / 35km
  • Ascent: 1181m
  • Day 3: Birdlip to Dursley
  • Start: Birdlip
  • End: Dursley
  • Distance: 24 miles / 39km
  • Ascent: 1209m
  • Day 4: Dursley to Hawkesbury Upton
  • Start: Dursley
  • End: Hawkesbury Upton
  • Distance: 15 miles / 24km
  • Ascent: 793m
  • Day 5: Hawkes' Upton to Cold Ashton
  • Start: Hawkesbury Upton
  • End: Cold Ashton
  • Distance: 13.5 miles / 22km
  • Ascent: 431m
  • Day 6: Cold Ashton to Bath
  • Start: Cold Ashton
  • End: Bath
  • Distance: 10 miles / 16km
  • Ascent: 333m
  • Walk Details

    Start: Chipping Campden
    End: Bath
    102 miles / 164km
    Get permission to wild camp

    Highlights

    Picturesque villages on route
    Roman heritage sites in Bath
    Belas Knap burial chamber
    Sudeley Castle

    Gallery

    South Downs Way

    Start:
    Winchester

    End:
    Eastbourne

    Distance:
    100 miles / 160km

    Time:
    7 - 9 Days

    2.3/5

    Difficulty:
    Beginners +

    Image credit: Southdownswayu3a.com

    Possibly the least intense long distance walk on this list, the South Downs Way is not only a gentle introduction to multi-day hiking but a route in some beautiful English countryside. 

    The route opened in 1972 and connects Winchester in Hampshire with Eastbourne in Sussex. 

    Walkers on this route will view and pass through meadows, dense woodlands, pastures, windmills, and beautiful golden wheat fields.

    There’s plenty of history on the way too with Iron Age dikes, mounds and lynchets as you stroll by on old Roman trails along which legionnaires once marched on to Londinium. 

    Day Breakdown

    Day 1: Winchester to Exton
  • Start: Winchester
  • End: Exton
  • Distance: 12 miles / 19.5km
  • Day 2: Exton to Buriton
  • Start: Exton
  • End: Buriton
  • Distance: 12.5 miles / 20km
  • Day 3: Buriton to Cocking
  • Start: Buriton
  • End: Cocking
  • Distance: 11 miles / 18km
  • Day 4: Cocking to Amberley
  • Start: Cocking
  • End: Amberley
  • Distance: 12 miles / 19km
  • Day 5: Amberley to Upper Beeding
  • Start: Amberley
  • End: Upper Beeding
  • Distance: 13 miles / 19.5km
  • Day 6: Upper Beeding to H'dean Farm
  • Start: Upper Beeding
  • End: Housedean Farm
  • Distance: 15.5 miles / 25km
  • Day 7: Housedean Farm to Alfriston
  • Start: Housedean Farm
  • End: Alfriston
  • Distance: 13 miles / 22km
  • Day 8: Alfriston to Eastbourne
  • Start: Alfriston
  • End: Eastbourne
  • Distance: 10.5 miles / 17km
  • Walk Details

    Start: Winchester
    End: Eastbourne
    100 miles / 160km
    Get permission to wild camp

    Highlights

    Views of English Channel
    Views of Isle of Wight
    Beautiful rivers & woodland
    Varied landscapes

    Gallery

    Hadrian's Wall Path

    Start:
    Wallsend

    End:
    Bowness on Salway

    Distance:
    84 miles / 135km

    Time:
    5 - 7 Days

    3/5

    Difficulty:
    Beginners +

    Image credit: Magnus Hagdorn

    The Roman Emperor Hadrian built an extraordinary fortified wall right across the northern border of England almost 2,000 years ago, a defensive barrier against hostile Scottish tribes that was manned and mainained for almost 300 years. 

    Today, the wall is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and this coast-to-coast long distance trail follows its route from the North Sea to the Irish Sea. 

    The route is relatively easy to traverse throughout, so is more than doable for newbie hikers. Apart from the wall itself, there’s some other attractions along the route as well as attractive wild scenery. 

    Day Breakdown

    Day 1: Wallsend to Newcastle
  • Start: Wallsend
  • End: Newcastle
  • Distance: 5 miles / 8km
  • Ascent: 60m
  • Day 2: Newcastle to Heddon on the Wall
  • Start: Newcastle
  • End: Heddon on the Wall
  • Distance: 10 miles / 16.1km
  • Ascent: 258m
  • Day 3: Heddon on the Wall to Ch'ford
  • Start: Heddon on the Wall
  • End: Chollerford
  • Distance: 15.3 miles / 24.6km
  • Ascent: 306m
  • Day 4: Chollerford to Burnhead
  • Start: Chollerford
  • End: Burnhead
  • Distance: 15.1 miles / 24.2km
  • Ascent: 644m
  • Day 5: Burnhead to Walton
  • Start: Burnhead
  • End: Upper Walton
  • Distance: 13.8 miles / 22.2km
  • Ascent: 408m
  • Day 6: Walton to Carlisle
  • Start: Walton
  • End: Carlisle
  • Distance: 11.5 miles / 18.6km
  • Ascent: 82m
  • Day 7: Carlisle to Bowness on Solway
  • Start: Carlisle
  • End: Bowness on Solway
  • Distance: 14.5 miles / 23.4km
  • Ascent: 116m
  • Walk Details

    Start: Wallsend
    End: Bowness on Salway
    84 miles / 135km
    Get permission to wild camp

    Highlights

    Seeing ancient history
    Roman Forts
    Preserved Roman masonry
    Solway salt marshes

    Gallery

    Image credits: Magnus Hagdorn, Claire Cox

    Yorkshire Wolds Way

    Start:
    Hessle

    End:
    Filey

    Distance:
    80 miles / 129km

    Time:
    4 - 6 Days

    1.8/5

    Difficulty:
    Beginners +

    Image credits: puffin11k

    The Yorkshire Wolds is a little-known, picturesque corner of England with wide expanses of rolling chalk landscapes dotted with small market towns and quiet villages. 

    The Yorkshire Wolds Way cuts right across the heart of these rural downs.

    Walkers will experience an area characterized by big skies, sweeping panoramas and secluded hidden valleys.

    The main attraction of this walk is the relaxed landscape with open farmland and neat patches of leafy woodland. 

    The highlight of the trail is Wharram Percy, a deserted medieval village.

    Day Breakdown

    Day 1: Hessle to South Cave
  • Start: Hessle
  • End: South Cave
  • Distance: 11.7 miles / 25.1km
  • Ascent: 379m
  • Day 2: South Cave to Nunburnholme
  • Start: South Cave
  • End: Nunburnholme
  • Distance: 15.6 miles / 28.5km
  • Ascent: 486m
  • Day 3: Nunburnholme to Thixendale
  • Start: Nunburnholme
  • End: Thixendale
  • Distance: 15 miles / 24.1km
  • Ascent: 703m
  • Day 4: Thixendale to West Heslerton
  • Start: Thixendale
  • End: West Heslerton
  • Distance: 14.2 miles / 22.9km
  • Ascent: 538m
  • Day 5: West Heslerton to Filey
  • Start: West Heslerton
  • End: Filey
  • Distance: 19.7 miles / 31.7km
  • Ascent: 153m
  • Walk Details

    Start: Hessle
    End: Filey
    80 miles / 129km
    Get permission to wild camp

    Highlights

    Dry chalk valleys
    Londesborough parkland
    Wharram Percy Village
    Stunning landscapes

    Gallery

    FAQs

    How do I know which walk is right for me?

    Choose a walk that fits your experience level. If you've never done a long distance walk before, stick with the easier ones. West Highland Way is always a great option to start.

    Do I need to be really fit to do all these hikes?

    It depends on the walk. The longer ones will be quite draining and require good endurance levels, as do the more intense walks such as the Skye trail.

    Do I need special clothing or gear to do these hikes?

    Definitely get the essentials for any of the walks - good footwear, backpack, clothing etc.. For the more intense walks you'll likely need more gear.
    #
    Hike
    Distance
    Days
    Difficulty
    More Info
    #1
    South West Coast Path
    630 miles / 1014km
    30 – 56
    3.8/5
    #2
    Pennine Way
    268 miles / 430km
    15 – 19
    3.4/5
    #3
    Dales Way
    81 miles / 128km
    4 – 6
    3/5
    #4
    Coast to Coast Walk
    192 miles / 309km
    12 – 15
    3.6/5
    #5
    The Ridgeway
    87 miles / 139km
    5 – 7
    3.1/5
    #6
    Cotswold Way
    102 miles / 164km
    6 – 10
    2.6/5
    #7
    South Downs Way
    100 miles / 160km
    7 – 9
    2.3/5
    #8
    Hadrian’s Wall Path
    84 miles / 135km
    5 – 7
    3/5
    #9
    Yorkshire Wolds Way
    80 miles / 129km
    4 – 6
    1.8/5

    Related Guides

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    • West Highland Way: The Guide
    $
    • Lost Valley, Glencoe
    $
    • 8 of the Best Long Distance Walks in Scotland

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    Sam McCraw

    Sam McCraw

    I was raised in Edinburgh, Scotland with plenty of green spaces around me, and for as long as I can remember I've always had a passion for the outdoors.

    Whether it's going for a long hike, playing football, rafting or simply discovering a cool new place you'll likely find me outside somewhere.

    Discover Outside is a space for me to create guides and hopefully help others enjoy the outdoors too!

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