Taking in the wonders of spring

Taking in the wonders of spring

Posted 8th Mar 2018

Take in the wonders of spring with these National Trust spring walks

After a long winter, spring is the perfect time to go for a nice walk, taking in the wonders of the National Trust's beautiful places. Keep your ears pierced for birds chirping and wander through parklands that are alive with nature. Explore woodlands that are carpeted in bluebells, listen to a chorus of birdsong, breathe in fresh coastal air and watch baby lambs playing.

Visiting the National Trust sites will help you to care for special places, so pull on your boots and head outside to find the charity's best walking routes to get that spring-time feeling

Walks for spring views

Castle Ward, County Down, Northern Ireland

Spring has sprung at Castle Ward in County Down. And there is no better way to experience the highlights than by following a trail that takes you along the shoreline of Strangford Lough, around the 15th-century Audley’s Castle and up to steeper climbs with incredible views of the Castle Ward mansion and surrounding countryside. You’ll be able to spot gambolling lambs and calves frolicking across the estate, and take in dazzling displays of bluebells.

Image courtesy of ©National Trust Images/John Millar

Sizergh House and Estate, Cumbria

Sizergh Castle is a magical way to start this spectacular wildlife walk that weaves its way through a peaceful part of the South Lakes. This vantage point offers views across rolling green countryside, the coast at Morecambe Bay, the Lakeland Fells and the Pennines. Look out for buzzards and pheasants as this trail takes you deeper into the countryside. You may also be able to spot woodpeckers, nuthatches and treecreepers near woodland areas.

Orford Ness, Suffolk

Take your marching orders this spring and challenge yourself to multiple walking routes around Orford Ness – a beautiful coastal nature reserve with a fascinating military history. Follow waymarked trails through shingle, salt-marsh and brackish lagoons. Explore a WW1 airfield, now home to marshland birds, and look inside a number of military buildings involved in the development of weapons in the 1930s and 1950s.

Image courtesy of ©National Trust Images/Joe Cornish

Bishopston Valley, Gower

Get away from the hustle and bustle daily life this spring by taking on a challenging walk through the hidden Bishopston Valley. On this four-mile trail you will discover limestone caves, underground rivers and ancient woodland. You can also enjoy a moment of quiet reflection on a secluded beach.

Stonehenge, Wiltshire

Get a new perspective on Stonehenge this spring. Take a refreshing walk around some of the lesser known areas of this captivating landscape. Follow the trail deep into woods that hide Bronze Age burial mounds and check out a huge enclosure once thought to be a Roman chariot track but now understood to be around 500 years older than Stonehenge itself. This ancient landscape is also home to variety of wildlife. Watch out for roe deer, butterflies and hares.

Image courtesy of ©National Trust Images/John Miller

Walks for spring wildlife

Murlough Nature Reserve, County Down, Northern Ireland

Experience the sights, sounds and smells of spring at the Murlough Nature Reserve – a site of rolling dunes, lining the sparkling blue waters of Dundrum Bay and overlooked by the craggy slopes of the Mourne Mountains. Listen to an orchestra of thrushes, blackbirds, robins, tits and chaffinches seeking new territory. Also keep an eye out for circling skylarks and kestrels. Take a stroll through woodland areas transformed by bluebells and breathe in the scent of wild pansies and primroses dotted about the estate.

Image courtesy of ©National Trust Images / Joe Cornish

Wallington Estate, Northumberland

Take a refreshing walk along the banks of the river Wansbeck that meanders around the Wallington estate in Northumberland. Look out for otters and white-clawed crayfish. Cross over bridges and stepping stones, pass through a beautiful walled garden full of spring flowers and explore woods that are busy with wildlife. Wallington is home to roe deer, badgers, buzzards, red squirrels and kingfishers so keep your eyes peeled. 

Image courtesy of ©National Trust Images/Andrew Butler

Upper Tarrell Valley, Brecon Beacons

Head to the Upper Tarrell Valley in the Brecon Beacons this spring and follow a wildlife-rich trail along what used to be the main coach road from the Midlands to Cardiff in the 18th century. There are plenty of veteran trees along this route, hollow, gnarled and full of wildlife. Alder, birch, rowan and are just a few of the different types of tree you will see in the valley. The walk will take you alongside the river Tarell, which is home to otters, dippers, salmon and sea trout. You may even spot the odd red kite.

Croome, Worcestershire

Spring has arrived at the Croome. The primroses and cowslips are in bloom and wildlife is emerging from the parkland. Small garden birds are building nests and it’s possible to glimpse woodpeckers, pheasants and treecreepers from the bird hide. Take a relaxing circular walk around the outer parkland to see more of Croome’s flora and fauna and spot larger birds like buzzards, kestrels, cormorants and herons. Breathe in the fresh air and look out over the Worcestershire countryside to the Malvern Hills.

Image courtesy of ©National Trust Images/James Dobson

Brownsea Island, Dorset

Enjoy a magical walk in the heart of this beautiful island, which is teeming with wildlife. Pass through woodland, which is home to yellow-striped goldcrests, peregrines, as well as grebes and coots that potter in the reedbeds. The lakes on Brownsea Island also attract a huge variety of insects. Keep your eyes peeled for dragonflies, small red damselflies, green tiger beetles and green hairstreak butterflies.

Image courtesy of ©National Trust Images/John Miller

Best for spring flowers

Ightham Mote, Kent

Shake off the winter blues and lift your spirits as Ightham Mote bursts into bloom. Discover the orchard as it comes to life with a carpet of daffodils, followed by the apple blossom. This circular walk around Ightham’s periphery incorporates the very best of the spring colour surrounding the moated manor. Swathes of bluebells and campion can be found in ancient Scathes Wood, running alongside the driveway. You might also spot some of the local birdlife, including pheasants and woodpeckers.

Blickling Estate, Norfolk

Breathe in the scent of spring flowers on a walk around the Blickling Estate with its red-brick mansion, ancient yew hedges, magnificent gardens and historic parkland. Daffodils and tulips have brought colour to the gardens and carpets of bluebells have sprung up in woodland areas. On this 4.5-mile walk you will also see an 18th-century ice house, once used to preserve food for the mansion, and a tower that wouldn’t look out of place in a fairy tale.

Image courtesy of ©National Trust Images/John Millar 

Lanhydrock, Cornwall

Set out on this beautiful walk from the magnificent grounds of Lanhydrock House – an impressive example of Victorian style and design. Follow the trail alongside the Great Wood where you can see dazzling displays of bluebells at this time of year. Discover a magical avenue of beach and sycamore trees and look out for fungi, lichen, bats and kingfishers.

Image courtesy of ©National Trust Images/John Millar

Spring walks for families

Hinton Ampner’s, Hampshire

Go for a 45-minute stroll across Hinton Ampner’s ancient parkland and learn about some remarkable trees. Experience the majesty of an oak tree that dates back to the Tudor times and is thought to be between 500 and 600 years old or look out for squirrels and birds on the branches of an early 18th-century sweet chestnut tree. Discover how the Victorians reinforced tree trunks with concrete, climb inside hollow trees and stand alongside a huge gnarled oak that overlooked the Battle of Cheriton – a key victory for the parliamentarians during the Civil War.

Image courtesy of ©National Trust Images/Andrew Butler  

Abermawr, Pembrokeshire

Shrug off the darkness of winter by taking a refreshing walk along Abermawr’s rugged coastline. This one-mile circular walk will take you through woods carpeted in bluebells, meadows, shingle beach and marsh. Discover how the sea is gradually pushing the shingle beach into the marsh and woodland behind. Also while you’re here, check out the blue lagoon – a former slate quarry that was abandoned and flooded.

Charlecote Park, Warwickshire

Take a stroll through this beautiful ‘Capability’ Brown-inspired landscape, along routes with gentle terrain that's suitable for both little and long legs. The parkland is great for spotting spring wildlife, including the herd of fallow deer and rare breed Jacob sheep. Why not bring your binoculars and see what other wildlife you can find?

Image courtesy of ©National Trust Images/John Millar

Wimpole Estate, Cambridgeshire

Stretch your legs on a number of trails that wind through the Wimpole Estate in Cambridge. Go on a guided walk and learn about the history of the estate - a testament to Elsie Bambridge’s creative flair - or follow your own way through the park into the woods and along quiet tracks bordering farmland. Watch out for woodpeckers, marsh tits, hawfinches and bats in wooded areas, as well as skylarks, yellowhammers and linnets in more open spaces.

Polesden Lacey, Surrey

Head to Polesden Lacey’s 1400-acre estate in the Surrey and follow a walking trail that takes you into the heart of Ranmore Common with incredible views over the Denbies Hillside. On this four-mile walk you’ll see working and historic farms, sheep and their lambs, ancient woodlands and rolling hills. This energetic walk can be enjoyed at all times of year and is suitable for children and dogs.

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