Avoiding the hoards when the sun shines is not easy. Here are 10 easy day trips from London that you can take with your family while social distancing.
While the sun shines and the rain stays away heading to the beach is the obvious choice. But guaranteed you won’t be the only one thinking the same. So when we decided to research day trips we thought we’d choose places that shouldn’t be overrun by the public.
No matter where you go though, please respect the countryside and others around you, take care to follow social distancing rules and have consideration for the farmers and landowners who look after the countryside for us to enjoy. Also note that some car parks are now operating a booking service so check all websites for regular updates.
ABINGER ROUGHS AND NETLEY PARK
Hidden woods with ancient trees and flower-sprinkled grasslands, just off the North Downs and Pilgrims Ways provide plenty of options for a day away from the city.
Ancient trees, rolling chalk downlands and lush meadows in an area of outstanding natural beauty is what Ashridge is known for. Also expect to see deer roaming freely in the estate.
Little Marlow walks
The Water Walk is an almost flat route following the Thames Path National Trail to the flooded Spade Oak gravel pits. The gravel pits are now a haven for wildlife, particularly birds, with good access to the waterside on permissive routes. Keep clear of the water’s edge. No swimming.
Circular Walk near Christmas Common
2.5, 3 or 6-mile circular routes in the Christmas Common area, starting from the National Trust car park at Watlington Hill
Box Wood walks
Trails have been created that wind through the woodlands, past retained military features such as the Wellington statue and firing range walls. To the north of Duke’s Wood, the Basingstoke Canal provides walkable links to Lake and Canal Side and further reaches of Wellesley Woodlands.
CS LEWIS NATURE RESERVE
This tranquil woodland and large pond used to belong to celebrated Oxford author CS Lewis. It was said he enjoyed wandering here while writing his children’s book series about Narnia which includes The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. With the A40 nearby and surrounded by houses, it is a surprise that the reserve has kept its sense of stillness.
When you visit in spring you may be lucky to hear woodlarks singing across the heath. On brash and log piles, look out for adders basking in the sun. You can also see grass snake, common lizard and slow-worm, and the large pond supports a breeding population of palmate newts.
WARBURG NATURE RESERVE
A hidden wildlife gem nestling in the Chiltern Hills, rich in wildlife that will lift your spirits whatever the season.
High up in the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Warburg Nature Reserve is a remote and magnificent place, rich in exciting plants and animals all through the year. The flower-rich grasslands in the valley bottom give way to extensive woodlands rising up the valley sides. It is the richest BBOWT site in the three counties for orchids. From April right through to August orchids can be found in all of the habitats, including fly orchid and bird’s-nest orchid. Warburg Nature Reserve even has its own microclimate with exceptionally cold temperatures on winter nights.
AUBRY BUXTON NATURE RESERVE
Visit a beautifully wild nature reserve with its woodlands, ponds and species-rich grasslands, filled with amazing wildlife.
Once a wildlife and pleasure park to Norman House, this beautiful reserve was donated to Essex Wildlife Trust by the late Lord and Lady Buxton in 1976. It is now a thriving wildlife haven for the many rare and uncommon species found here, including the strange-looking Adder’s Tongue Fern and Lesser Lady’s Mantle.
A varied natural landscape, including woodland, grassland, river valley and farmland. The three farms within the park encourage skylarks to nest in some of the fields and maintain hedgerows to support a wide variety of birds, such as linnets and yellowhammers, as well as mammals and invertebrates. The river Mole is stocked with coarse fish and is home to swans, kingfishers, herons, various duck species, and little egrets.