Stay active and explore locally during Lockdown
January can often seem like a bit of a bleak month, even in ‘normal’ years. The excitement of Christmas is over, days are short, we miss the sunshine and it’s cold! Add another lockdown into the mix and you’ve got the perfect recipe for some serious New Year blues. Spending time outside in nature is great for boosting your mental health, and even just a short stroll can really lift your mood. So with this third lockdown falling right in the middle of winter it’s more important than ever to take advantage of your chance to get outside for daily exercise.
Although you should stay at home as much as possible, you can leave your home for exercise once a day in your local area. This time around, this includes parks, countryside accessible to the public, forests, public gardens and the grounds of a heritage site. This means more of our natural spaces are available to explore. What a great opportunity to get to know your local area like never before! Spend some time alone in one of these beautiful outdoor spaces practising mindfulness or simply enjoying being surrounded by nature. Meet one friend for a walk, run or bike ride for a chance to connect with someone outside your household. Perhaps you discovered a new favourite local spot during the previous lockdowns? Take some time reconnecting with nature and noticing how it has changed from summer to winter. We’ve collected a few of the options below for you.
Follow the Guidelines
Please follow the Government guidelines for exercising outside the home when visiting any of these places. Only travel a short distance within your local area to exercise. Respect the spaces you visit and adhere to all measures put in place to protect you and other visitors. Maintain 2m social distancing when you are near anyone from outside your household.
You must stay at home if you have coronavirus symptoms or are self-isolating.
Explore your local area
Enjoy access to 32 acres of open fields which is perfect for taking the dog for a walk or just stretching your legs along the River Culm in a break from home working. If you’re based in Cullompton it’s easy to reach on foot so is a great way of getting into the countryside and staying really local. The fields are maintained by the Cullompton Community Association and local volunteers for you to enjoy. Check out the CCA Facebook page for the latest updates.
For Uffculme locals this is a lovely new option to get outside. In July 2020 Bridwell launched the Orangery Pop-Up Cafe and opened their parkland for locals to enjoy their daily exercise in beautiful surroundings. The Parkland remains open during this lockdown and the Pop-Up Cafe aims to stay open 7 days a week with a takeaway menu. Look out for the herd of deer and other wildlife during your visit. Keep an eye on their website and Bridwell Facebook page for any updates.
A chance to get off the beaten track in tranquil woodland full of wildlife, between Tiverton and Withleigh. The National Trust car park remains open for locals to enjoy a walk in the woods. Check the National Trust website for updates on access to the outdoor spaces.
The Forestry Commission owned Eggesford Forest near Crediton provides a network of trails winding through magnificent Douglas Firs and close to the River Taw. Perfect for woodland strolls in unspoilt beauty. Remember to keep an eye out for the wide variety of birds and mammals that can be spotted in the forest. See the Forestry Commission website for more information on visiting during the lockdown.
The Grand Western Canal Country Park remained open for visitors throughout 2020 and continues to provide a natural haven for daily exercise in 2021. The canal is easy to reach on foot from Tiverton, Halberton, Sampford Peverell and Burlescombe and the are several free car parks along the length of the canal. The towpath is all level so is ideal for walking and bike rides. There is plenty of wildlife to spot including
waterfowl and, if you’re lucky, kingfishers. Keep an eye on the Devon County Council website for any updates on access.
Tiverton locals can continue to enjoy the parkland at National Trust Knightshayes during this lockdown. Take in the wonderful views over Tiverton in acres of parkland and have a stroll through the woodland on the Impey Walk. The Stables cafe remains open for takeaway. Booking is recommended to avoid disappointment. Visit the National Trust website to book your tickets.
Enjoy permissive access to the south part of Shobrooke Park, near Crediton, during lockdown. The open parkland is perfect for walking the dog. Stroll by the lake and admire the picturesque stone bridge. Keep an eye on the Shobrooke Park website for the latest updates.
Share your local lockdown explorations
As well as these options there are a myriad of footpaths, cycle trails, woodland and country lanes for you to get out and explore in Mid Devon. We would love to see the places you discover locally, or your favourite outdoor escape. Take some snaps of your lockdown exercise and share them with us on our Facebook and Instagram!
All information correct at time of writing. Please check the individual sites websites and social media for any updates before visiting and follow any changes to Government guidance.