26 March 2024

5 sensational spring walks to make you feel alive

26 March 2024

When it comes to the countryside, the charms of our flora – the Roman goddess of spring in mythology – are magical this time of year.

And with blankets of bluebells, beautiful blooms and swathes of yellow trumpets to cheer the mind, body and soul, now’s the time to head to the hills, gardens and parks to reap the benefits of walking – and connecting with nature.

So slip on your walking shoes, dig out your shades in the hope of sunny spells, and let’s stride out to see where the greenery takes us…

1. Petworth House, West Sussex

Debuting its Spring Festival, be one of the first to head to Petworth House’s Pleasure Garden, which is draped in daffodils, with more than 10,000 blooms – each with its unique shape and tones of gold, yellow and cream – carpeting the grounds. From now until April 14, horticultural talks and gardening demonstrations are a highlight, for when you need to take a breather from spring family trails or woodland walks.

2. Sissinghurst Castle Garden, Kent

With its historic surroundings and famous garden, this is where poet and novelist Vita Sackville-West and diplomat Harold Nicolson planted a profusion of flowering blossoms – among them, canopies of magnolias and cherry blossoms, which stretch across two orchards. With dedicated paths to stroll through such as the Lime Walk, where shoots are pushing up and borders are bursting into life, it’s a hive of activity.

3. Quarry Bank, Cheshire

Beyond its magnificent landscape, 400 acres of wondrous woodland, picturesque gardens and cotton mill, this preserved factory is a benchmark of the Industrial Revolution. Today, its Walled Garden is packed with apple, pear and peach trees galore, and apricots are the first to bloom. Elsewhere, the winding River Bollin with its ornamental bridges, gorges and rare wildlife, can reward for miles.

4. Culzean Castle & Country Park, Ayshire & Arran, Scotland

Cue this cliff-top castle, the rugged beauty of ancient cliffs, and three miles of sandy coastline to blow the cobwebs away and for you to feel the wind in your hair. Beyond the beach and rock pools to explore, the formal gardens with secret follies offer striking displays of blossom with early rhododendrons starting to flower. And if there’s still a spring in your step, the Country Park offers 17 miles of pathways, stately woodland and glens to navigate.

5. Castle Ward, County Down, Northern Ireland

A firm favourite for bluebell trails, here the forest floor of dense blue petals contrasts beautifully against evergreen trees to announce the arrival of spring. And you’ll be spoilt for choice with the Sunken Garden or clocktower to scout, with six walking routes available. The Boundary Trail is cited as most challenging, and one to take on for views of the 18th-century mansion, where the first series of Game of Thrones was filmed.

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