To celebrate National Walking Month, we asked our store teams to reveal a few of their favourite trails, parks and attractions. So, if you happen to be visiting one of our shops, why not make a day of it and explore the surrounding area too?
Popping out for a walk every day has helped many of us over the last year. Whether you reside in the countryside or live somewhere more urban, there are many walks to explore on our doorsteps. Not only are many of these trails and footpaths free, but studies show just walking 20 minutes a day helps our wellbeing and can reduce the risk of a number of preventable health conditions.
Whitlingham Country Park lies south-east of Norwich, close to the village of Trouse. Under a three mile walk from our shop in Norwich, this local nature reserve has a beautiful lake at its centre with a circular footpath for exploring all the flora and fauna. With a picnic meadow, cycle route and parking on site, The Flint Barn serves a delicious all-day menu.
Catherine, our Store Manager, recommends the Norwich Bridges and Churches Trail. A 7.2km circular walk that takes you around the city of Norwich. A wonderful way to explore, it follows the banks of the River Wensum and takes you through the centre of Norwich, past many churches and Norwich Castle.
James, our Store Manager in Godalming, told us one of his favourite walks around this historical market town is along the River Wey. ‘It’s one of the most picturesque river walks in the country!’ A five mile trail, the river opens out close to the shop and takes you to Guildford.
For a shorter amble, our shop is situated next to the Phillips Memorial Park. Sitting in 11 acres and next to the River Wey, it’s dedicated to Jack Phillips. Born in Godalming, Phillips was the chief wireless operator on the Titanic.
A beautiful and colourful National Trust attraction – with seasonal delights to enjoy all year-round – Winkworth Arboretum is just a short drive away.
With 574 acres of historic parkland to explore, Hylands Estate is a Grade II listed public park. Recommended by Helen, our Assistant Manager in Chelmsford, this beautifully renovated Neo-Classical villa houses a café, second hand bookshop, resident artist studios, ancient woodlands and formal Victorian Gardens. It also includes an award-winning accessible children’s adventure playground.
Open to the public on select days, please check the Hylands website for restrictions and information.
Jane, our store manager in Harrogate, reveals she walks on average between 250-350 miles a month – so has a wealth of suggestions for walks nearby.
Half a mile from our shop is Valley Gardens. An award-winning 17-acre English Heritage Grade II listed garden which includes beautiful historic buildings – including the Sun Pavilion and colonnades – and a wide variety of shrub, flower and herbaceous beds open all-year round.
Just a 10 minute drive away, the market town of Knaresborough – with its recognisable railway duct built in 1851 – is a must-see. The River Nidd offers a lovely walk.
A 20 minute drive west takes you to Swinsty Reservoir in the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Whilst important works taking place mean the circular walk around the reservoir isn’t currently available, the ‘there and back again’ walk is still worth a visit.
Nestled in Stow-on-the-Wold, our flagship includes a wealth of picturesque walks on its doorstep – as you would expect in this Area of Outstanding Beauty. Sophie, our Assistant Manager, recommends a visit to Bibury – with its beautiful row of houses called Arlington Row – she says there’s a lovely walk that goes through the fields from Bibury to Coln St Aldwyns and back along the river.
Six miles from our shop, the beautiful villages of Naunton and Temple Guiting offer a number of footpaths between them. With pubs in both villages, they make for a lovely afternoon visit with a deserving spot for lunch.
Don’t forget – if you can’t make it to one of our shops, you can visit us virtually!