From a Tolkien trail in Lancashire to Gloucestershire’s war poet walks, our tipsters reveal trips through landscapes brimming with history
Start the Tolkien Trail at the hamlet of Hurst Green, home to three pubs and no shops, and head north towards the 500-year-old Stonyhurst College, which schooled Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Gerard Manley Hopkins and at which JRR Tolkien stayed numerous times throughout his life. The area around the college is said to have inspired the Shire, the land of the Hobbits. The five-mile circular route features the so-called Cromwell’s Bridge, which the New Model Army crossed to meet the Royalists at Preston in 1648. Magnificent views of Pendle Hill, famed for its witches, and Clitheroe Castle also star in this magical walk.