If you only venture out into the Great Outdoors in the warmer months, you could be missing out…
We’ve finally made it to February! The misery of detoxing, diets and wearing multiple layers that is January may be over, but if you are still counting down the months until summer, and shivering at the thought of venturing outside, there’s a whole world of wild adventures you could be missing out on. What’s more, research shows that getting into the great outdoors is crucial for keeping up mood and well-being (see seasonal affective disorder article)
We’ve put together our list of some beautiful places to visit this winter, right here in the UK:
Lady Falls, R Fechan
A graceful column of water falls 10m into a deep, large plunge pool, set in a wooded amphitheatre. You can also climb behind the fall and dive back in – although that’s probably not recommended in winter!
Pontneddfechan is off the A465 from Swansea. From the Angel Inn (SA11 5NR, 01639 722013) follow the river on a good path up through the woods, just over a mile, to arrive at a junction pool with footbridges. Cross the first bridge and bear left to the falls, around 300m away.
From the second edition of the Wild Swimming book
Cofa Pike, the North Lakes
The Lake District is a vast area of stunning mountains and lakeside walks, that you are spoilt for choice. The picturesque eastern shore of Ullswater gives wonderful views across the silver expanse of the lake. It follows the rough mountain tracks which lead along the less-visited shore from Patterdale in the south to Pooley Bridge in the north. Just be careful if it’s icy!
From tJen and Sim Benson’s book Wild Running
Winchester Winter Warmer
Summer might be the best time for cycling, when the sun is warm and the days are long, but winter has a pleasurable intensity of its own: the bright, low sunshine through skeletal trees; bare, frost-flecked fields; meadows encrusted with sparkling crystal. Even if it’s barely above freezing, if the sun is bright and the sky clear and blue; a winter’s day can be the perfect time to be out for a bike ride.
Start and finish: Winchester, Hampshire. Distance: 39 miles/63km. Total ascent: 632m
Terrain: Quiet lanes and surfaced cycle paths, one section of main road. Moderate to challenging.
Stop off at the Flowerpots Inn, Brandy Mount, Cheriton SO24 0QQ (01962 771318) Serving beer from the small brewery next door. There are rooms for overnight stays.
From Jack Thurston’s book Lost Lanes
Bamburgh Castle Sands
A sensational beach with iconic castle ruins overlooking the dunes – this is the perfect spot to blow out the cobwebs on a wintry walk! It never feels too busy either.
Signed Bamburgh from A1 near Belford. Turn left for parking down The Wynding (NE69 7DD). After the houses on the right (300m) you’ll find two car parks for the beach. The Victoria, Castle and Lord Crewe Arms are all recommended too!
From our book Hidden Beaches – Secret Coast
Wild Ancient Ruins
Hurlers Stone Circle, Minions
Famous and impressive circle with far-reaching views, these ancient stones look stunning in the winter sun. They can be found close to the Cheesewring, Goldiggins lake, Pony Pool, Phoenix United mine ruins and Daniel Gumb’s cave. There are other good circles – with far fewer visitors – near Carbilly (Trippet) and Roughtor (Stannon) too. 300m from the Hurlers’ car park in Minions, off the B3254, N of Liskeard. 5 mins, 50.5166, -4.4583 8
From the Wild Guide to Devon, Cornwall and the South West