Blow away the cobwebs and enjoy a refreshing walk in a frosty location near you.
The perfect cure for those winter blues, wrap up warm and soak up the fresh air, wonderful sights and fragrances on a winter walk at a National Trust place near you. With some of our most spectacular landscapes looking their best at this time of year, here are our top five places to enjoy the crisp winter weather in:
Anglesey Abbey, Cambridgeshire
Set your winter alight with a walk full of fiery colour and delicious scent. Anglesey Abbey’s Winter Garden is one of the joys of the season. At a time of year when gardens are generally past their best, this area comes into its own and provides a wonderful source of inspiration and tranquillity, delighting the senses and bringing to life the true beauty of winter. For almost a quarter of a mile, the path winds its way through a stunning array of colour and some 150 species of plants, chosen for their attractiveness in winter. The carefully arranged groups of fiery Cornus stems, coppiced Willow and Whitewashed Bramble, Mahonias, Sarcococca and Chimonanthus sit alongside wonderful coloured tree barks.
Blickling Estate, Norfolk
Even on the greyest of winter days, a historical walk around Blickling Park can beat the winter blues. With all-weather paths, plenty of seats and no steep hills, this certainly makes a great walk for all abilities. Whilst out in the park, catch glimpses back at the magnificent Jacobean Hall across the lake, which was built to impress. Look out too for the Tower, originally built for the 2nd Earl of Buckinghamshire and his guests to watch horse races, now a comfortable holiday cottage. Then there’s the mausoleum, a pyramid which would be more fitting for Egypt, but was built to commemorate the death of the 2nd Earl.
Flatford, Suffolk/Essex border
Explore the picturesque Stour Valley and Dedham Vale made famous by the paintings of 18th-century England’s foremost landscape artist. John Constable painted many idyllic views of the area in his famous six-foot canvases, scenes which remain easily recognisable today. The little riverside hamlet of Flatford is the setting for some of Constable’s most famous paintings, such as The Hay Wain. But also, look out for the Cattawade Marshes, where the freshwater of the Stour meets the tidal estuary, a great place to spot waterfowl and waders. Why not call into the tearooms, whilst you’re passing? The nearby villages of East Bergholt and Dedham are also worth a visit.
Wicken Fen, Cambridgeshire
An extra layer or two, stout walking boots or wellies and a pair of binoculars are all you need to discover the amazing wildlife spectacular at Wicken Fen. Intricate dew laden spiders’ webs stand out amongst the reed lined banks of Wicken Lode. Train your binoculars on the reedbeds in anticipation of seeing one of our most elusive and endangered wetland birds, the bittern, which are easier to spot in winter. As the sun finally dips to the River Cam in the West, the fen is bathed in a crimson glow; the distinctive sails of Wicken’s historic wind-pump silhouetted on the skyline – the perfect end to a magical winter’s day.
Dunstable Downs, Bedfordshire
Enjoy the beautiful Bedfordshire countryside on an exhilarating walk across the Dunstable Downs. Soar above a breathtaking landscape, sculpted over time, decorated by nature and enjoyed by generations. Along the way, discover diverse wildlife, Iron Age hill forts and burial mounds. Don’t forget to pop into the Chilterns Gateway Centre for some delicious food with a view; you might need the sit down after your walk!
For more information about where to visit this winter visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk