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Muddy’s best Boxing Day walks

Wrap up warm and go in search of your own winter wonderland across Cov & Warks over Christmas and New Year.

You know the festive drill – you’ve eaten your Christmas roast, nailed an entire box of Quality Street, drunk approximately 8,000 units of wine, sherry, Champagne and Baileys and have been slumped on the sofa for three days straight. In the immortal words of George Michael (RIP), let’s go outside – ideally for a long, bracing walk around one of Warwickshire’s prettiest locales. Grab your wellies and let’s go!

Burton Dassett Hills, near Southam

Image: Warwickshire Country Parks

You like unspoilt, rolling hills with magnificent views?  Here’s the place to come. This 100- acre Warwickshire council-owned Country park has a series of rugged hilltops with panoramic views and Fox Covert, a small woodland with a surfaced footpath. Historic points of interest include the beacon, quarry remains and nearby 12th Century All Saints Church. On site there’s a car park with card payment parking machines, however toilets are currently closed.

Nearest pub for takeaway drinks: The Yew Tree in Avon Dassett

Baddesley Clinton National Trust

Image: National Trust

As well as the Peter Rabbit winter adventure activity trail for families with children, there’s the 45-minute estate walk in the grounds of this secluded moated Tudor country home (1.8m), a 5m walk to Packwood House, the Heart of England Way countryside walk (2.8m) and easy walk along the Grand Union canal via Rowington Church, the Heart of England Way and Kingwood Junction (3 – 5m). To book your timed entry tel: 0344 249 1895. It’s £5 to visit the grounds for adults and £2.50 for children (non members).

Yarningale Common to Preston Bagot Church

An easy 3.7km walk, this route takes you on a countryside loop near to Henley-in-Arden taking in a canal lock, streams, and Preston Bagot church. here are a few stiles, so maybe not so good for pushchairs. To get there take the A4189 Henley road from Warwick. At the crossroads in Claverdon, turn right (signposted Shrewley) into Lye Green Road. At the first crossroads turn left into Common Lane (signposted Yarningale Common). Park at the common.

Nearby pub for takeaways: The Crabmill in Preston Bagot

Oakley Woods near Bishops Tachbrook

Image: Warwickshire Wildlife Trust

One of the area’s largest accessible ancient woodlands, this 116-acre plantation woodland dates to the 16th century is very peaceful with two marked walking trails. There’s lots of wildlife to spot – 200 species were counted here by Warwickshire Wildlife Trust from minibeasts like wolf spider and red-tailed bumblebee to birds like the great spotted woodpecker and blackcap. Within Oakley Wood there’s Oakley Wood Camp – a scheduled ancient monument site believed to have been s a Bronze Age or Iron Age fort.

Norton Lindsay to Gannaway Woods loop, nr Warwick

Image: Gannaway Woods courtesy of The New Inn, Norton Lindsay

Starting and ending in the pretty rural village of Norton Lindsey at Warwickshire’s first community-owned pub, The New Inn, this mid-length 8km route covers rural footpaths, fields, with panoramic views across the English Civil War battle of Edgehill site on the edge of the Cotswolds.

Last year The New Inn won a national Plunkett Rural Community Business Award winner for their role in helping sustain village life. It has remained open throughout the pandemic offering a takeaway/delivery service and grocery provisions to villagers in Norton Lindsay and Wolverton. The walk is one of six circular walks from the pub included on their website here. Wellies advised.

Draycote Water Reservoir Loop, Kites Hardwick, nr Dunchurch

I usually walk around here at least once or twice a week – it’s very peaceful after a frantic week at work, gazing out across the water, watching the sailing boats bobbing around. There’s alpacas too in some of the adjacent fields. It’s a 5 mile loop and take around 1.5 hours, pretty flat with a path all the way around and there’s a handy car park. And it’s a good one for people who like fishing and twitchers – there are bird-watching huts dotted along the route. The play area is open for kids but dogs can’t be walked around the reservoir. Car parking is £5 all day or £3 for 2 hours.

Nearby coffee shop: Square Coffee, Dunchurch and on-site The Waterside Restaurant.

Packwood House National Trust

There are four walks: a circular walk around Packwood, Packwood House to Baddesley Clinton along the Stratford-upon-Avon Canal, the family-friendly Packwood welly walk with den building and wildlife spotting along the way, plus a gentle stroll from Packwood to St Giles. Open 10am – 3pm. To book your timed entry tel: 0344 249 1895. It’s £5 to visit the grounds for adults and £2.50 for children (non members).

Piles Coppice Wood and Brandon Reach, near Binley Woods

Image: Ann Wilson

Piles Coppice is an untouched beautiful ancient woodland off the A46 on the edge of Coventry/Rugby. Part of the Forest of Arden, it’s mentioned in the Domesday Book and was praised by woodland expert Oliver Rackham. It has incredible biodiversity, small-leaved limes and rare wildlife including bats, Red Data Book moths, the lesser spotted woodpecker and a fungus previously only recorded in Hampshire. A hidden gem, it links to Brandon Reach. Both are managed by Warwickshire Wildlife Trust.

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