The Thames Path is a more sedate 296km (184 miles) from the Thames Barrier to the source of this great river near Lechlade in the Cotswolds. It allows hikers to recreate Three Men in a Boat, without getting as wet.
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Rating It’s a 1 – but only because of a particularly nasty muddy patch just north of Oxford.
OFFA’S DYKE PATH
When it comes to building barriers that separate countries, Offa, king of Mercia in the late eighth century, could have taught Hadrian a thing or two about keeping out annoying neighbours. Offa’s Dyke may be made of earth but the trail still rambles for 285km (177 miles) along most of the England-Wales border, which is over twice as long as Hadrian’s efforts.
Rating A sweat-inducing 8, because the Welsh Borders are more challenging than many think.
Glyndwr’s Way takes a circuitous route from Knighton and travels for 217km (135 miles) around mid-Wales to finish at Welshpool, less than 48km (30 miles) further north along the England-Wales border. It’s called ‘going the pretty way’.
Rating A 7, although it has sections that are worthy of a 9, particularly if you happen to bump into enthusiasts re-enacting Glyndwr and his Welsh soldiers, and you happen to be English.
At 175km (109 miles) in length, the Cleveland Way skirts around the North York Moors, thus avoiding all those day-tripping cars on the A170 to Scarborough.
Rating A picturesque 6, with plenty of opportunities to stop for fish and chips along the coastal section.
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