As the weather begins to warm up and more people take to the outdoors for fresh air and walks, a list of the best hikes has been compiled to help improve fitness and inspire those wanting to explore nature.

A team of hiking experts at Military Direct have researched and put together a list of 15 hikes to help people get fit this spring and summer, with three of the North West's highest peaks in the top 10.

Coming in at sixth, seventh and eight on the list were the Old Man of Coniston, Helvellyn and Blencathra, in the stunning Lake District. 

While Pen y Fan, the picturesque Welsh peak nestled within the bucolic Brecon Beacons in North Wales was named number one. Used as part of the fitness and navigation phase of the selection process for UK Special Forces, the legendary hike is a well known proving ground for fitness fans.

Coming in a close second and third on the list is Scoland’s Ben Macdui located in Cairngorm National Park. The team at Military Direct found that both approaches offered their own set of challenges for those who want to build and test their fitness during the spring and summer months ahead.

The Results read as follows: rank, hike, height gain, length, time, start point, location

1 - Pen Y Fan (Fan Dance), 1,101m, 13.4 miles/21.7km, 5-6 hours (4 hours 10 minutes SAS time), Pont ar Daf car park, Brecon Beacons, North Wales

2 - Ben Macdui (via Loch Avon), 1220m, 12 miles/19.31km, 5.5-7 hours, Cairngorm Ski Centre Cairngorms National Park

3 - Ben Macdui (via Cairngorm Ski Centre), 1093m, 10.7 miles/17.37km, 5 hours, Cairngorm Ski Centre Cairngorms National Park

4 - Snowdon (PYG Track), 1,085m, 7 miles/11 km, 3 hours, Pen y Pass Car Park Gwynedd North Wales

5 - Snowdon (Llanberis Path) 1,085m, 9 miles/14.5km, 3-3.5 hours, Snowdon Mountain Railway Llanberis Station, Gwynedd North Wales

6 - Old Man of Coniston (Extended Loop), 910m, 8.0 miles/13.0km, 3 hours, Walna Scar Road Car Park Lake District, North West England

7 - Helvellyn, 950m, 4 miles/6.5km, 3 hours, Glenridding Village Cumbria, England, Lake District

8 - Blencathra, 869m, 8.2 miles/13.2km, 4 hours, Scales Farm Lake District, North West England

9 - The Glyders, Snowdonia, 700m, 7 miles, 5hrs, Ogwen Cottage. Gwynedd North Wales

10 - Grindsbrook Clough to Kinder Scout, 681m, 8 miles/12.8km, 4-5 hours, Edale Car Park Hope Valley Peak District, North West England

11 - Cuilcagh Mountain (Hikers Trail), 665m, 11 miles/18km, 6 hours, Cuilcagh Legnabrocky Trail (car park) Fermanagh, Northern Ireland & Cavan, Republic of Ireland

12 - Seven Sisters, East Sussex, 295m, 21.9km (13.6 miles), 6-7 hours Esplanade Car Park, Seaford Sussex, South East England

13 - High Neb - Stanage Edge (from Hathersage), 408m, 6.5 miles/10.5-km, 5 hours, Hathersage Vllage Peak District, North West England

14 - Stac Pollaidh, 612m, 3.5 miles/5.7km, 3 Hours, Stac Pollaidh Car Park Inverpolly, Scotland

15 - Yeavering Bell, 350m, 3.5 miles/5.6km, 3 hours, The Cheviots Northumberland

Managing director of Military Direct Ben Slater, said: "As the weather starts to pick up and restrictions ease, everyone is looking forward to getting out and about this spring and summer.

"For us, hiking is an amazing way to combine fitness and a love and appreciation for the great outdoors, and that’s why we decided to put this list together - to help people get out and find the very best hikes to help improve fitness.

"If anything, we hope this list will help the public to get out, get fit and give them the chance to see exactly what the beautiful UK countryside has to offer.”