One of my all-time preferred activities in winter involves getting all wrapped up and going for a bracing walk - pre a HUUUUGE roast dinner – returning to a nice ham or some lamb perhaps.

The weather forecast should ideally be crisp with bright sunshine. If it is blowing gales and raining ice from every direction you can pretty much scrap the rest of this blog… move along.

Still here?  Good here’s my favourite haunts for an invigorating jaunt….

  1. Clent Hills

One of the things I love about Birmingham is how quick it is to reach the sticks. The Clent Hills lie just 10 miles SW of Birmingham City Centre and in a mere 15 minutes by car you can be on your way atop the Clent Hill itself.  From its highest point (316m above sea level fact fans!) you can enjoy superlative views, where, if eyesight allows, you can see the Cotswolds, the Peak District and the Black Mountains in Wales!

Insider tip - You can get a killer bacon/ sausage/ egg / combo sandwich from the little café by the car park – proper doorstop thick bread – but today of all days try and restrain yourself for aforementioned roast!

  1. Lickey Hills

The Lickey Hills or just The Lickeys (for ease) are another of my favourite outdoor spots and ideal for your seasonal jaunt – Again, unrivalled views (even though I just said Clent was the best) anyhow – these are special too.  The Lickeys have two parallel ranges with a valley in between – I’ve rambled… well I’ve walked over both, but unfortunately for clarity I don’t have a preference.

According to legend, the Devil and his accomplice, named Harry-ca-nab, used to hunt wild boar in the Lickey Hills, mounted on white bulls. Hopefully he’s got a hangover the cad!

  1. Sutton Park

Europe’s largest urban park is massive - 2,000 acres to be more precise.  There is much to enjoy here with plenty of trails for the avid walker. Grab a big stick, get hold of a dog (I’m thinking a couple of whippets) and head off on a bracing, roast dinner inducing adventure.

There is a rich variety of landscapes to enjoy including heathland, woodlands, wetlands and seven lakes.  Imagine them all on a crisp winter's day – I can’t think of anything more lovely. Hmmmm. Hmmmmmmmm. No, it’s true I can’t.

An aside - I remember playing in the Sutton Park lido circa 1983 – I don’t know if it’s still there? Any way this is not a recommended activity for today, so it doesn’t matter.

  1. Canals

Why not take a stroll around Birmingham’s beautiful canals? By now you should know that Birmingham has more than 100 miles of canals – Now I’m not recommending the whole way – in this climate that would be ill advised and I think your roast dinner would be spoiled.

With any luck, the canals will have iced over for added winter atmos.

  1. Woodgate Valley Country Park

Another favourite haunt of mine - Woodgate Valley Country Park consists of 450 acres in rural Bartley Green.   A designated Local Nature Reserve, you might even spot a robin!

There are 3 waymarked routes to choose from consisting of 1, 2 or 3 miles.  And, if you really want to work up an appetite for your Ham / lamb/ something else -  there is also a five-mile walk called the Illey Way.

Now you should be suitably braced and ravenous for some hearty fare, followed by a good ol’ nap - I’d say ideally 2 miles minimum (but hey who am I) - make sure you are not doing the cooking however - that would be foolhardy!

Where are your favourite places for a winter walk?  Let us know in the comments below...

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