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J'AIME January 2021

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LO CA L A R E A Walk

LO CA L A R E A Walk this way WHETHER IT’S AROUND THE BLOCK OR UP A HILL, WALKING HAS KEPT SO MANY OF US GOING THROUGHOUT LOCKDOWNS AND RESTRICTIONS. HERE ARE SOME OF OUR FAVOURITE WALKING DESTINATIONS TO GIVE YOU A LITTLE INSPIRATION Birches Valley, Cannock Chase Birches Valley is the perfect place for a magical walk in the woods. There are so many different trails to try, but we particularly love the childfriendly walk that includes a fairy garden and Gruffalo statue. There’s no admission fee, but you will need to pay for parking. There’s a brilliant free playground, and don’t forget to take along some money for a takeaway coffee or even an ice cream. Downs Banks, Oulton Heath, near Stone Take a leisurely stroll along Downs Banks brook and you may be lucky enough to see a kingfisher catching his lunch. On a clear day there are brilliant views from the highest point of the downs and you should be able to make out Mow Cop and the Wrekin. There’s plenty of parking at the site, but it can get busy when the weather is good. Kinver Edge, Kinver You’ll find miles of waymarked footpaths at Kinver Edge, including plenty that are suitable for all the family. We particularly like the woodland trail, which has natural play areas to explore along the way. It’s quite steep in places but the magnificent views make the effort worthwhile. Dogs on leads are very welcome too. Canalside stroll, a towpath near you A walk along a canal towpath is a walk that just keeps on giving. You’ll generally find the paths easily accessible and you’ll see plenty of interesting things along the way. If you’re lucky you’ll spot some interesting barges and perhaps be able to watch a canal lock in action. We particularly like the stretch of the Trent and Mersey that runs through Stone, and not just because a walk can be combined with a trip to the lovely town itself. 40 www.jaimemagazine.com

Sutton Park, Sutton Coldfield It’s right on our doorstep and it’s free, so make the most of beautiful Sutton Park. A designated national nature reserve, it’s one of the largest urban parks in Europe. Back in the time of Henry VIII it was a hunting forest but now you’re more likely to spot great crested grebes. Tittesworth Reservoir, near Leek You’ll need to drive to visit this man-made beauty spot, but it’s well worth the journey. You can take a 4.5 mile trail which loops right around the reservoir or a short 1.5 mile walk if needs be. After all that walking you can refuel with takeaway food and drink from the on-site cafe. Sandwell Valley, West Bromwich If you’re looking for a stroll that isn’t too taxing then this RSPB nature reserve could be a good choice for you. There are walking and cycle routes and you’re almost guaranteed to spot some spectacular wildlife. Depending on the time of year you may see kingfishers, skylarks and lapwings. Rudyard Lake, near Leek In decades gone by a visit to Rudyard Lake was the equivalent of a day at the seaside for many families, for very good reason. Expect spectacular scenery and the opportunity to go out on a boat or travel aboard a miniature steam train, restrictions allowing. There is plentiful on-site parking. Chatsworth Estate, Derbyshire It’s a bit of a drive, but the parkland at the Chatsworth Estate is among the most beautiful you will find anywhere in the country. You can talk a circular walking route around the Devonshire family’s stately pile completely free of charge without even stepping foot inside the house itself. www.jaimemagazine.com 41

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