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Adventure leader Rosie Baxendine has quit her office job and become a full-time bikepacking guide (like backpacking, but on a bike). Many of her trips are women-only, such as the two-day explorations of Perthshire, Lothian or the Borders. Others have a theme, such as a north-east trip in search of puffins, a pedal-powered distillery tour or a west coast island adventure. All involve wild camping and are designed to introduce people to bikepacking, so no experience is needed, kit can be provided, and distances are a manageable 28 miles a day. Rosie also offers e-bikepacking tours, accessible trips on adaptive bikes and bespoke adventures.
£220 for a two-day trip, next departure 23 April, rosiebaxendine.com
Wild journey into Devon
Active England is adding to its walking, cycling and swimming trips this year, with new nature tours around Devon. The tours are packed with outdoor yoga, seashore foraging, wild swimming, forest bathing and paddleboarding. The wildlife tours also involve walking, swimming and foraging, plus boat trips, which are focused on encounters with the local otters, beavers, seals, peregrine falcons and Dartmoor ponies. Activities aside, there is plenty of time for riverside picnics and pints at historic pubs, plus lunch at Riverford Field Kitchen, winetasting at Sharpham Estate and evenings round the campfire. Guests stay in cosy three-star hotels.
Four days’ B&B from £849 or six days’ from £1,049, 1 April to 31 October, activeenglandtours.com
Sail around the UK coast
Skipper Paul and first mate Qiao are sailing Snark, their modern Thames barge, around the UK this summer – and you’re invited aboard. The 2,000-mile, three-month voyage is being split into 10 legs of five to nine days, so people can sign up for a section that suits them. The circumnavigation starts and ends in Plymouth, calling at the four nations’ capitals and historic ports along the way. No sailing experience is required, but guests will be shown the ropes and encouraged to pitch in – while still having plenty of time for wildlife-watching, photography and a little sea swimming and rowing. There’s also a working crew discount for those with sailing experience (one per trip).
From £1,231 for seven nights all-inclusive, 1 June to 13 September, snark.limited
Run across Wales
Experienced trail runners can challenge themselves with this 55-mile, three-day guided running tour from the Welsh border to the coast. It is led by the fell runner Tim Higginbottom and involves runs of up to five hours a day across the Cambrian mountains from Newtown to Aberystwyth. Day one is the longest at 22 miles; day two (18 miles) has the toughest terrain; and the final day is a relatively easy 15-miler along a former railway track. Luggage is transported between boutique hotels.
£695 for four nights’ B&B and one dinner, next trip 23 June, naturetravels.co.uk
Canoe the River Severn
Shrewsbury Canoe Hire has a new, seven-day self-guided expedition: paddling 125 miles of Britain’s longest river. The Severn is quieter than the neighbouring Wye and there is only one booking a day, ensuring a peaceful paddle. The trip starts at Pool Quay in Powys and ends in Gloucester, passing Shrewsbury, Bridgnorth, Worcester and Tewkesbury, plus the Ironbridge Gorge and the Wyre Forest. No experience is necessary; canoeists are given a safety briefing and the boats are tracked. The hire company recommends places to eat, drink and stay (small groups may get away with wild camping on riverside beaches).
From £795 for a two-person canoe, including equipment, drop-off and pickup; first departure 2 March, bigsevernadventure.co.uk
Sea kayaking and wild camping, Suffolk
Nomad Sea Kayaking has launched a women-only version of its laid-back kayaking and wild camping weekends. After setting up camp on a secluded beach, the day is spent paddling along the quiet coastline to the mouth of the River Ore, then swimming and (hopefully) sunbathing back on the beach. The evening is spent around the campfire – hot drinks are provided, BYO wine. After an optional beach clean on Sunday morning, there is a second kayaking session before taking the foot ferry across the estuary to the Ferry Boat Inn for dinner.
£189.99 for two days, next trip 14 May, nomadseakayaking
Hike around the Hebrides
This is not your average walking holiday: it is an island-hopping sailing trip, too. Walkers eat and sleep on Steady, a Dutch ketch, and sail to each day’s walking destination. The most remote is Canna, for hikes through meadows, forests and moors, and along cliffs and coasts to see puffins. Other ports of call include community-owned Eigg, rugged Rum, tiny Muck, car-free Kerrera and bustling Mull. No sailing experience is needed. Walks are guided and range from a five-mile stroll on Muck to a 12-mile coastal trek to beautiful Kilmory Bay on Rum. Wildlife sightings might include seabirds, birds of prey, five species of dolphin and three kinds of whale.
From £1,415 for 10 days, including most meals, next trip 21 May, venturesailholidays.com
Mountain biking in the Brecon Beacons
Element runs active weekends for women in the Brecon Beacons. A new challenge for 2022 is the two-day mountain bike journey, suitable for women who have some riding experience (there is also a beginners’ weekend). The ride follows trails in lesser-known parts of the Black Mountains, with bikeable climbs and sweeping descents but no technical sections such as jumps and drops. The evening is spent in the pub across the road from the B&B, within staggering distance for tired legs. Element’s other new trips include a walking weekend, fell running and yoga, and a mother-and-daughter short break in nature.
£250 for two days including B&B, packed lunch, two guides and luggage transportation, next trip 11 June, element-active.co.uk
Surf retreat, Cornwall
The Department of Wellbeing has long run Go Wild retreats at Tilton House in East Sussex, but this year it will be expanding into Devon and Cornwall. The new retreats include many of the existing activities – breathwork, yoga, sound bathing, swimming, paddleboarding, hiking – but some will have a new focus. For example, there is a five-day surfing and yoga retreatplanned in Cornwall from 8-12 September, with plant-based food and top-notch teachers. It is not yet open for bookings, but you can register an interest on the website.
From £595 for an all-inclusive four-day retreat, departmentofwellbeing.co.uk
Learn adventure photography, Devon
Participants can learn how to best capture their travel adventures on camera on this photography weekend on Dartmoor, one of England’s wildest national parks. The trip involves dawn-to-dusk outdoor photography sessions and a fair amount of hiking over remote parts of the moor, so a reasonable level of fitness is needed. Highlights include a sunset shoot atop a tor, snapping wild ponies at sunrise and a workshop on technique and composition at an abandoned powder mill. The price includes tuition from an award-winning travel photographer, shared accommodation in a hostel in Tavistock and all meals – including a Devon cream tea.
£590 for two nights, next trip 23 July, muchbetteradventures.com