If you’re looking for something to do on Boxing Day in North Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent, why not take a walk at one of these gorgeous beauty spots?
Whilst there’s limited options living under tier three restrictions, getting some fresh air is one of the things we are allowed to do – albeit only with your own household – or one other person, if you’re on your own.
Staffordshire has plenty of places to get some use of your walking boots or wellies, and new research by Clarks revealed the best ones after analysing over 5,000 TripAdvisor listings in the UK.
More and more people have taken up walking during the pandemic – among other things like baking banana bread.
But the great outdoors has proven to have benefits for our health and wellbeing, In 2019, scientists found that spending just 20 minutes a day in nature reduces stress.
So here are 11 best places to go for a walk on Boxing Day in Staffordshire:
Ladderedge Country Park
Ladderedge Country Park, in Leek, has been awarded the Green Flag for five years running – making it a brilliant spot for a morning walk.
The Green Flag is awarded to a park or green space that ‘boasts the highest environmental standards, is beautifully maintained and has excellent visitor facilities’.
The park is divided into two either side of the road – one meadows and woodland with views across the Peak District, and the other side is flatter with the River Churnet.
Knypersley Reservoir is a lovely place to enjoy a stroll in the fresh air and to enjoy the scenery and visitors can also access the adjacent Greenway Bank Nature Reserve.
In the park you will find quiet woodland, a lovely waterfall and the Serpentine Pool as well as lawns and shrubberies. A circular walk runs around the reservoirs for a distance of about two miles.
RSPB Coombes Valley Nature Reserve
Classed as one of the best places for wildlife in the UK, Coombes Valley near Leek is the perfect place for a Boxing Day walk.
Winter is a good time to watch for birds of prey such as buzzards and sparrowhawks., with a feeding station at the car park where you might find a great spotted woodpecker.
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RSPB Middleton Lakes
At Middleton Lakes, in Tamworth, there is a mix of wetlands, meadows and woodlands, with several kilometres of trails full of wildlife.
The winter cold brings more species to the feeders, including lesser spotted woodpeckers. Frozen lakes are said to force shy water rails into the open and even wintering bitterns can be seen on the reedbed fringes.
Rudyard Lake provides some of the most dramatic scenery to be found in the Staffordshire Moorlands. The lake covers around 168 acres and is more than 2.5 miles long.
The lake was built as a reservoir in 1797 and even to this day it still supplies the canal system for which it was designed and remains an active working reservoir.
Manifold Way is a limestone sale complete with a disappearing stream and the famous Thor’s Cave. This is a great hike for avid ramblers who are looking for spectacular Staffordshire views.
Named after the Viking God of Thunder, arrowheads, bone combs, bronze brooches, bracelets and Roman pottery have been found here.
Situated just outside Leek on the edge of the magnificent Peak District, a picnic here really is lunch with a view, with a fabulous walk to burn off the Christmas calories later.
There are two routes to choose from: the shorter 1.5 mile route or the longer five mile trail, which has stunning views of The Roaches.
Tittesworth is the perfect setting for bird watching, with two hides available, including one which is wheelchair friendly.
Etruria’s 11-acre park was built next to St. Matthews church on a triangle of land between Lord Street, Etruria Vale Road and the Trent and Mersey Canal.
It was built at the start of the 1900s and has gorgeous flower beds, basketball courts, bowling greens and the Etruria Park fountain.
The fountain was built in 1904 and presented by the Shirley brothers of Etruria bone and flint mill and a plaque erected in 1953 to commemorate Henry Wedgwood’s photographic achievements.
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Deep Hayes Country Park
Deep Hayes has both woodland and meadows, with pools and pathways to explore. A bird hide is well positioned with feeding stations and bird boxes to attract the local wildlife.
The site covers 143 acres and was formerly a valley of coal and clay extraction. The pools were built in 1848 to compensate the River Churnet and to supply water to Hanley, Burslem and Tunstall.
The park – which has free parking – is approximately two miles outside of Leek and is best approached from the A53 at Longsdon.
Longton Park, also known as Queen’s Park, is famous for its trees, horticulture and lakes, and is home the the clock tower and three pavilions.
Built in 1887, the park still has much of its original features, including a bandstand, and makes for a lovely stroll if you’re looking to get out of the house for an hour or two.
Westport Lake is an important overwintering site for many water birds and unusual species are known to stop-off at the lake during migration.
Perfect for bird watching and walking, a stroll around the perimeter of Westport Lake is a perfect way to while away an hour or two.
The lake and surrounding grounds are looked after by Stoke-on-Trent City Council. There is a good, level footpath of around one mile around the lake and a health walk around the conservation area.
The conservation area at the northern end of the site is home to many animals including kingfishers and dragonflies.
Find out more about the Best Kept Secrets of the UK Countryside on the Clarks website.
Please enjoy public spaces, such as those listed, responsibly and in line with government rules and advice.