How to Find Your Hidden Local Green Spaces

Posted on Nov 11 2020 - 9:00am by Claire Herbaux

We all love nature – whether consciously or unconsciously, we are all drawn to the outdoors: Sun, wind, snow, sea or mountains or forests. We all feel better, revived, and more relaxed after some time spent breathing in some fresh air – be it through a mask, or alone somewhere you can take it off.

All this is harder with the new government restrictions, but not impossible. Truth be told, we wanted to take you on a little trip through the country’s best National Parks, but that is tricky now, so instead, here are some ideas to make the most of our limited mobility safely.

While we are more limited, it is still important to get some fresh air and exercise, and you can find a number or places without travelling too far unnecessarily and whilst avoiding crowds.

National Trust

While the houses and buildings of the National Trust had to close due to the restrictions, gardens and walks are still available and are a great way to get out a little. You can search their site to see if you have a walk near you.

The grounds, walks and parks are usually vast and you can easily keep your distance. Though for safety reasons we recommend bringing a mask and alcohol gel in case you in case you come across someone or touch a railing on stairs or similar.

This is also a good time to get to know the smaller, lesser known National Trust sites you may have not visited before.

You can find a list of open places in England and Northern Ireland by heading to the site and typing in your location, click the “open today” filter and you will see everything available to you. If the grounds are open but buildings aren’t, there will be a “partially open” note.

Opening announcements

England

Following the government announcement of a four-week lockdown in England, we’re pleased we can keep the outdoor spaces we care for open, including coast and countryside sites and car parks, as well as gardens and parklands. You can still enjoy takeaway food and drink from our cafés and food outlets, and outdoor play areas will stay open in line with government guidance.

From Thursday 5 November we’ll close our houses, shops and holiday accommodation in England.

Northern Ireland

Following the latest official guidance in Northern Ireland we’ve had to close our houses and cafés are only offering a takeaway service. The Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre has also had to close. Grounds, shops and holiday cottages however remain open.

To avoid disappointment, we recommend you book tickets in advance for our places in England and Northern Ireland, especially at busier times such as weekends, school holidays and bank holidays. Every Friday we release new tickets for the following week.

Wales

We’re reopening our places in Wales from Monday 9 November in line with Welsh government guidelines following the firebreak lockdown.

Under the new Welsh government legislation, places are only open to Wales residents and to groups of four or less (excluding children under 11) unless they are from the same household.

Please check the property webpage of the place you wish to visit before you travel.

Find a walk

There are a number of sites guiding you to the best walks in your local area. So even if you are not close to one of the famous ones such as the Coastal Path (this could become a challenge for the year, walking as much of the Coastal Path as you can within the restrictions), there are still plenty of walks waiting to be discovered.

Ramblers for examples has an interactive map of walks you can filter based on difficulty and distance, as well as facilities (useful if you are travelling as a family) and activities. Speaking of spending time exploring nature, wouldn’t now be a good time to bring back geocaching? We could all use the joy of finding a little hidden surprise right about now! If you haven’t tried it, now may be the time. Just make sure you use gloves or wash or disinfect your hands after touching the found items.

Geocaching consists of finding and hiding little surprises or gifts for others to find based on GPS coordinates

Walking Britain also has an interactive map to guide you to your nearest or most interesting walk. You can type in your town or city, or even your postcode if you want to stay as local as possible. A blue marker indicates a walk, a green marker the number of walks in one area; zoom in to see more details.

Note, their Covid update (at the time of writing) is from the 30th June and doesn’t cover current restrictions. For exact details on what you can and can’t do, scroll down to the bottom of this article or go straight to the government website.

Similarly, Visorando has a lot of walks in its database. It can search for results as you move the map and show you the number of walks in each area. Zoom in closer to your local area to see more details about where each walk is located. Once you click a walk you will find out the length, how much climbing is involved, the time needed and difficulty, as well as a short description of the walk and what you can expect to see on the way.

Virtual challenges

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Who is still running, walking, swimming or biking towards their 2020 fitness goal? Here are a few people we want to congratulate for their achievements and so many others to encourage for pushing everyday to prove 2020 can be conquered 🎉 We still have some spots left for the Conquer 2020 Virtual Challenge that closes the registration in 8 days. Here’s how it works: After signing up, you set your personal distance goal for the year, then you track your progress and finally celebrate your achievement with a special medal. But how does it work if you sign up today? Well, there are 2 ways: If you’ve already tracked your distance this year (miles/km), just take that number, add up your goal for the next two months and set your Conquer 2020 distance goal. If you didn’t track your progress, don’t worry. Just set up a distance goal for the next two months and get active. So who’s going to be the next one to celebrate? Check the link in bio for the 2020 Virtual Challenge 🎉

A post shared by The Conqueror Challenges (@the_conqueror_challenges) on

If you need motivation for your walks, runs or cycles, check out some virtual challenges you can complete. Just like we don’t actually swim across the channel when we do the Channel Challenge, the virtual challenges add up your exercise until you have “completed” a route – and you get a medal at the end! So now may be the time to circle the Grand Canyon or cycle and walk 460 miles through the New Zealand mountains, cycle the Great Ocean Road… you name it. You can stay more local and walk the length of the UK or Hadrian’s Wall as well. If you need inspiration or Motivation, check out The Conqueror Challenges for your next adventure.

Find green spaces and local

If you want to be a little more old-fashioned or adventurous and not use the internet, you can discover trails but also simply places or interest yourself.

On your next shopping trip for essentials (or at a petrol station) check out the maps. A map? Yes, a map. Find yourself a good Ordinance Survey map of your area; as detailed as possible as you won’t be driving far. If there are different brands, compare to see which one you are the most comfortable with for colours and signage.

Then, start exploring! Look at the key and see what you are interested in. Forest? Cycling and walking? Water and lakes? Picnic areas? (Note those may be busy if others have the same idea – bring everything to clean your space before eating.)

Government restrictions

From 5 November 2020, England will enter a period of national restrictions. The new measures include:

  • requiring people to stay at home, except for specific purposes.
  • preventing gathering with people you do not live with, except for specific purposes.
  • closing certain businesses and venues.

The new measures will apply nationally until Wednesday 2 December. For this period, the new restrictions are in place, and any previous regulations and guidance do not apply.

Individual exercise is permitted – alone, with 1 other person, or within your household or bubble.

You are allowed to leave your home to exercise outdoors. You should stay as local as possible, but can travel out of your local area if necessary (for example, to access an open space). If you need to travel, you should walk or cycle where possible, and follow guidance on safe travel.

You can exercise outdoors in a public place alone, with the people you live with (or your support bubble or childcare bubble) or with 1 person from another household. Children under 5, and up to two carers for a person with a disability who needs continuous care are not counted towards the gatherings limit of two people meeting outside. This means, for example, that a parent with a baby can still go for a walk with a friend.

There is no limit on the amount of individual exercise you can do, but you should act responsibly and limit transmission risk wherever possible.

For more details check the government website.

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