When the UK gets a powder day, head to the hills. Here are readers’ 10 best places to hurtle downwards on a tray
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WINNNING TIP: Blow’s Downs, Dunstable, Beds
The windy chalk hills of Dunstable Downs are great all year round for walks and kite flying. However, its terrifically steep slopes come into their own in the snow. Blow’s Downs is my favourite spot – it’s never too busy and allows you to reach the most amazing speeds on the cheapest bit of plastic. It was the highlight of my winter to look back at the slopes and see which of us had made the longest tracks. wildlifebcn.org/reserves/blows-downs Cand82
It’s not often in the UK that you get to avoid the most tiresome part of sledging – pulling your sledge back up the hill. In Allenheads, if you’re good enough at balancing to stand on your sledge and grab the conveyer belt rope, you can get slowly dragged back up the slope. This small village boasts a ski slope, but allows those of us with only humble plastic sledges to bomb down the hill alongside the skiers. Drive carefully up here when it’s just snowed: the huge drifts make for some great jumps and mini cliffs to fly off.
ski-allenheads.co.uk, annual membership £35
Cold Fell, Cumbria
Aptly named Cold Fell is where generations of west Cumbrians have been sledging. Cumbria is blessed with any number of hills which often get snow, but this slope off the road between Ennerdale Bridge and Calder Bridge is a sledging hot spot. It’s a good long slope without hedges or dry stone walls in the way, steep enough to get a decent speed but not too steep to walk back up, sledge in tow.
Dunmail Raise, Lake District
Dunmail Raise, on the A591 between Keswick and Kendal, is a great place for sledging. Some of it maybe a bit challenging for small children but there is a great long run down varying degrees of slope, some of it quite scary. The Lake District is pretty reliable for snowfall and it lasts well on the higher slopes. There is parking nearby, and a pub, The Travellers Rest (on the main road into Grasmere), to warm up in after.
Alexandra Palace, north London
Alexandra Palace is the perfect sledging spot, with gentle slopes for the young ones and more challenging ones for teens and adults. An added bonus is the amazing view from the top, of famous landmarks such as St Paul’s cathedral, the Olympic stadium and much more. Afterwards, fill up with hot chocolate or chips at the Phoenix Pub in the palace complex at the top of the hill.
Beacon Hill, Loughborough, Leicestershire
The summit of Beacon Hill offers a spectacular view of the town, and sledging down the 250m hill is not for the faint-hearted. The best slope faces north-east: it’s very rocky, but huge fun: a diagonal slope with twists and turns to avoid hazards. The scariest part is a steep drop near the bottom, but steer past this and you’re home and dry.
Simon L G Hardy
Camp Hill, Liverpool
Camp Hill in Woolton Village is a great sledging hill, within the relatively flat confines of a city. Wide, shallow and very long, it’s suitable for all ages and experience levels. Tea trays are a popular and innovative stand-in for the traditional sledge. I’ve seen a skier in full kit traverse the slope, albeit not at an Olympic pace, and once watched a group of youngsters drag a small rowing boat to the top and sail it on a somewhat perilous journey down the snow rapids of Woolton.
Off the B5171 in south Liverpool
Christos Richard Hatjoullis
Capel Curig, Snowdonia
The road climbing out of Betws Y Coed emerges into a wild valley that leads to the towering white face of Snowdon. Climb the path beside the old church – no longer a place of worship but a B&B (stcurigschurch.com) – and as you sledge down, you have a vista of the Snowdon Horseshoe and the wind sweeping across frozen lakes. When the snow has seeped into your bones and your hands are too cold to pull the sledge, retreat to Pinnacle Pursuits cafe for a bacon sandwich and a hot chocolate.
As a child, you never tire of the buzz you get from sledging down a hill, the steeper the better. As an adult, I found the same joy dog sledding in the Cairngorms. Nothing quite prepared me for the speed and the rush this gave me. What I really enjoyed about it was that they took the time to teach you how to sled and look after the rig and the dogs, giving you real ownership of your sledding experience.
sled-dogs.co.uk, day trips £60 adult, £40 child (six and over)
Link to article: feeds.theguardian.com/c/34708/f/663875/s/34dac788/sc/10/l/0L0Stheguardian0N0Ctravel0C20A130Cdec0C160Cuk0Esledging0Espots0Ereaders0Etravel0Etips/story01.htm