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Great Walks Near UK Cities

If you find yourself on lockdown in one of the UK's cities, getting your usual fix of nature is likely proving a challenge - but nature can be found in the most surprising of places. We've rounded up our favourite places to escape to nature in and around some of the biggest cities in the country, so nobody has to go without the healing powers of connecting with nature in these difficult times.

London

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Parkland Walk, Finsbury Park

 

Following railway tracks which once connected Finsbury Park to Highgate, with offshoots to Alexandra Palace, the Parkland Walk is one is London’s better-known trails for a good reason. Plenty of intrigue awaits along the way in the form of quirky statues, divisive graffiti and abandoned station platforms.

 

Find it here.

 

Hampstead Heath Circular Walk

 

A favourite of Londoners and visitors alike, it’s hard to get tired of Hampstead Heath. Take in far-reaching views, woodlands and ponds in, if you time it right, what can be a surprisingly tranquil setting away from the noise of the capital.

 

Find it here.

 

Cox’s Walk in Sydenham Hill Wood

 

An escape barely out of the city centre, Cox’s Walk seems a world away from London as many know it. Sydenham Hill Wood is London’s oldest nature reserve, and is home to over 200 species of plants, trees and woodland fauna, making it the perfect location for a local stroll with the whole family.

 

Find it here.

Birmingham

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Shire Country Park 

 

Named to honour J.R.R. Tolkien and home to a number of interesting sites, follow all or part of the waymarked 5km route around Shire Country Park to experience wetlands, grasslands, woodland and heath all in one place.

 

Find it here.

 

Clent Hills 

 

The Clent Hills are believed to attract around a million visitors each year – but in lockdown, they’ll be a spacious paradise for local walkers. Numerous trails and dog walks around the hills offer plenty of options for your daily exercise, and views for miles on a pleasant spring day.

 

Find it here.

 

Woodgate Valley Country Park

 

Easily accessible from Birmingham city centre, and featuring 8 miles of path to explore, Woodgate Valley is the perfect spot for a spring walk among the wildflowers. There’s a 5km waymarked walk around the park, too, if you have time and are able to do so while keeping a safe distance.

 

Find it here.

Cardiff

Iron Bridge Circular Walk, Newport

 

A short but very historical walk created to celebrate the restoration of its namesake cast-iron bridge over the River Rhymney. Take in the sights of the “romantic ruin” of Ruperra Castle, locally famous “haunted” Plas Machen and pretty St Michael and All Angels church, all in the space of 2.8 miles.

 

Find it here.

 

Bute Park

 

The green heart of Cardiff, Bute Park is one of Cardiff’s premier Green Flag parks, a Grade 1 listed historic park and home to an arboretum full of champion trees. In short, it’s one of the best possible places to take your daily exercise!

 

Find it here.

Manchester

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Padley Gorge

 

Whether you’ve got a couple of hours or just your lunch break, you’ll find a picture-perfect corner of woodland to explore at Padley Gorge. Dogs will love being let off the lead (abiding by the dogs on the lead rule in the moorland of Burbage Moor of course) to find one of the many mossy areas and tree stumps that remind so many visitors of mythical fairy glens.

 

Find it here.

 

Dovestone Reservoir

 

Venture out of Manchester’s centre to the borders of Oldham and the Peak District, where you’ll find a network of footpaths and open access to areas of moorland – the ideal location for a walk without another person in sight!

 

Find it here.

Leeds

Primrose Valley Park

 

A tranquil setting east of the city centre, Primrose Valley is ideal for a weekend visit with the dog. Follow one of the park’s walking trails or discover a new favourite walk for yourself in the vast open space and secluded wooded areas.

 

Find it here.

Newcastle

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Jesmond Dene

 

Enjoy a walk to the famous waterfall, a run around one of many nature trails or a spot of birdwatching in this peaceful park at the heart of suburban Newcastle. 

 

Find it here.

 

Beamish Woods

 

Make this secluded woodland your weekend outing and follow the 3-mile circular route for a picturesque walk with the family.

 

Find it here.

Cambridge

Wandlebury Country Park

 

South of the city on the Gog Magog Hills, take a walk along Wandlebury’s 8 miles of waymarked trails through woodland and wildflower meadows – and keep an eye out for the grazing Highland Cattle.

 

Find it here.

 

Milton Country Park

 

Once a thriving hub for watersports, Milton Country Park remains open for those leaving the city to take their daily walk, run or cycle among the trees next to the water, which plays home to a whole host of wildlife all year round.

 

Find it here.

Edinburgh

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Corstorphine Hill 

 

The most westerly of Edinburgh’s seven hills and by far the most heavily wooded, Corstorphine Hill offers the perfect escape from the city to the fresh air – without actually leaving it. A Local Nature Reserve and one of the city’s largest public parks, it’s the perfect spot for a short walk or run.

 

Find it here.

 

Dalkeith Country Park

 

Working farms, slight ascents and descents and riverside forests – Dalkeith Country Park has it all and more. Choose from an array of walking trails through dense woodland, over stunning bridges and next to the water for an immersive nature walk just 20 minutes from the centre.

 

Find it here.

Glasgow

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Pollok Country Park

 

The biggest park in Glasgow, and past winner or Europe’s best park, is a woodland haven just outside of Glasgow’s centre. Perfect to make your escape from city life, whether you’re there for a short stroll or have a bit more time – and be sure to keep an eye out for Highland Cattle on your way through.

 

Find it here.

Belfast

Lagan Towpath

 

Follow the river and canal system through Lagan Valley Regional Park to find a variety of wetland, riverside meadows and mixed woodland from Belfast to Lisburn. Home to a variety of wildlife, the canal system dates back to the late 18th century.

 

Find it here.

 

Belvoir Park Forest

 

A working forest within a city, Belvoir Park Forest is a vibrant escape to the countryside without leaving Belfast’s ring road. Choose from six waymarked walks to explore this vast 75-hectare space.

 

Find it here.

 

Sir Thomas & Lady Dixon Park

Home to three award-winning walking trails of varying grades through over 128 acres of meadows, woodlands and gardens, this idyllic setting is ideal for a leisurely stroll alone or with the kids.

 

Find it here.

Dublin

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Carrickgollogan 

 

Aka Kathy Gallagher to locals, Carrickgollogan is a relatively hidden gem outside the city and offers some of the best views of south Dublin, if you choose to take on the moderate climb to the top. If that’s not your thing, the gentle stroll through the woodland to the historic lead mines chimney offers a less strenuous but no less worthwhile alternative.

 

Find it here.

 

Tibradden

 

A wood situated between Cruagh and Kilmashogue mountains, TIbradden gets its alternative name of Pine Forest from the ancient Scots pine it’s home to, some dating back to 1910. Venture to its highest point for spectacular views, history and a much-needed dose of fresh air.

 

Find it here.

 

Phoenix Park

 

The largest park in any European capital city, Phoenix Park is a haven for wildlife in the middle of Dublin. On your way around, spot memorials and monuments, flowerbeds and gardens, and of course, the park’s famous deer (only to be admired from a distance!).

 

Find it here.


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