From the main car park there are a variety of routes that take in paths through woodland, moorland along with the banks of reservoirs and streams. The simplest is a circuit of Jumbles Reservoir (just under two miles). But this can be extended to a route which leads up to the B6391 and then passes Turton Tower (a listed building dating back to the 1400s – open to the public). The track continues round moorland moorland and drops down to Turton and Entwistle Reservoir, which you can walk round, or just cross the dam and walk up to the railway hamlet of Entwistle. From here it’s a short walk through woodland to Wayoh Reservoir. The path then leads to Edgworth from where it’s a stroll along the road through Turton Bottoms and then a woodland track back to Jumbles Reservoir.
Refreshments are available from a kiosk by the car park, from Turton Tower (during opening days) and from pubs at Entwsitle and Edgworth.
Perched on the Worcestershire/Shropshire border, less than an hour from central Birmingham, is the Wyre Forest. One of England's largest remaining ancient woodlands, it's beautiful in spring with bluebells, daffodils and celandines in the clearings and the smell of wild garlic wafting in the air. There are trails for all abilities leading you through the bright oak forest. If you're lucky you'll catch a glimpse of fallow deer or kingfishers along the brook. If you want something more adrenalin-packed than walking or mountain biking through the forest, there is always 'Go Ape'. And round it all off with a cuppa and slab of cake on the sofas by the fire in the Forest Cafe.
Callow Hill, Bewdley, Worcestershire, DY14 9XQ
Google map: bit.ly/12y2Wrk
Three miles west of Bewdley on the A456. Follow brown Forestry Commission signs from Kidderminster, to arrive at the Visitor Centre.
Parking charge: £3 for all day.
The nearest train station is Kidderminster. Bus routes 192/292 operate between Birmingham and Ludlow.
Farndale, in the heart of the North York Moors National Park, is famed for its wonderful daffodils, believed to have been first planted there by medieval monks from Rievaulx. The carpet of spring flowers attracts some 40,000 visitors annually, but this year they are late to bloom, and won’t be at their peak until the middle of April. The Daffodil Walk runs alongside the River Dove for around 2 1/2 kms, and refreshments can be found the Daffy Caffy, or at the Feversham Arms at Church Houses, which does a marvellous Sunday lunch.
England's oldest road, the Ridgeway track descends from the Chilterns to the Thames Valley, skirting Salisbury Plain and following downlands towards Avebury. It is easily walked in day sections, my favourite starting just past Wendover,where I can shoulder my pack and stride up into the beech woods at Coombe Hill, following the undulating hills and valleys to Princess Risborough, before striking out across fields and then following the downland marked by their distinctive chalk carvings, the Whiteleaf and Bledlow Crosses and the white triangle south of Watlington cut at the orders of the vicar to cover the ignomy of the lack of spire on his church.
This is my favourite day on the Ridgeway, as I feast on my packed lunch overlooking Chequers, and end the day walking down into the evening welcome of the lights of Watlington.
A very English spring walk in which a flock of lapwings can wheel above the downland and the sound of woodpeckers drumming can echo through the woodland. Pure joy that could be the same as that experienced by the young Rupert Brooke, striding out in search of laughter and inn fires 'as a free man may do.'
The Forbidden Corner is a unique labyrinth of tunnels, chambers, follies and surprises created in a four acre garden in the heart of Tupgill Park and the Yorkshire Dales. The temple of the underworld, the eye of the needle, a huge pyramid made of translucent glass, paths and passages that lead nowhere, extraordinary statues – at every turn there are decisions to make and tricks to avoid. This is a day out with a difference which will challenge and delight adults and children of all ages.
Richmond Park, the biggest Royal Park in London, is loved and visited by many. Keen walkers can attempt the eight mile round trip while families can follow the less challenging walking trails leading to Pen Ponds.
Isabella Plantation is my favourite place for a stroll particularly in the spring when its azaleas, camellias and rhododendrons are in full bloom. Viewing St Paul’s Cathedral through a telescope located at the top of King Henry’s Mound near Pembroke Lodge is also a must.
Demonstrating butter churning with an abundance of fresh, new, springtime cream, is a man in a tricorn hat. Nestled in the shambles at Bewdley Museum, lies 'The Copper Pot', a replica Georgian shop selling seasonal, historically-researched foods for people to buy. The smell of spices and chocolate gets into your nose as soon as you walk in. With tasters on offer, historic games to try and authentic decoration to feast your eyes on, time literally stops still in here.
Bewdley Shambles, Bewdley Museum, Load Street, Bewdley, DY12 2AE
Open April-Oct, Thursday-Sunday from 10am-4pm.
Kidderminster is the nearest train station, but the Severn Valley Railway stops in Bewdley.
Google map: bit.ly/16L7GGT
We love visiting Low Sizergh Barn a dairy farm just south of Kendal in the rolling hills of South Lakeland. Time it right and you can watch the cows being milked while you sip leaf tea at your table - there’s a glass panel in the tea shop and it overlooks the milking parlour. The food they serve is straightforward but delicious, with an emphasis on quality – the scones are fresh, the butter is good and there’s no spray cream here! The cakes and scones are made on the premises and you can buy more to take away from the shop downstairs. The ethical ethos permeates the whole visit - there is a social enterprise nearby called Growing Well (www.growingwell.co.uk/), where volunteers grow vegetables and support is offered to help them return to employment. You can buy their veg in the farm shop, which sells a wide range of other yummy local food, including cheese made from the farm’s dairy herd. Foodie heaven. You can also buy crafts and some lovely quirky gifts from the shop. Or there’s a two mile farm trail to work up an appetite and admire the free range hens whose eggs you have just bought. A lovely afternoon, or morning. And for southerners visiting the Lake District, it’s perfectly situated on the A591 between Kendal and the M6 for a stop off to stock up on Cumbrian delicacies for your way home.
The Shipwrights Arms overlooking a beauiful creek in Helford changed hands in 2012, and re-opened in time for the Easter weekend 2013 after a re-fit. It was very long overdue a refurbishment and new energy, because the location has to be one of the most beautiful in Britain, with views down the Helford River, but it had been going downhill for a number of years. I popped in for a quick pint after walking Frenchman's Creek, and enjoyed a very well kept locally brewed beer (Harbour Light) and checked out the menu. There is something to be said for a pub menu which is not complicated as you know the the chef will focus on doing a few things really well - this one looked interesting, and also had a few pub staples (fish and chips for £10, pasties for much less). Definitely worth dropping in for a look and a bite to eat - even the soup and bread should be good - the manager is well known locally for making her own artisan bread which is sold in the region.
Helston Village, Helston TR12 6JX, England
+44 (0)1326 231235
Google map: bit.ly/16mvhgS
Low Sizergh Barn, three and half miles south of Kendal, is definitely not "just another" open farm.
In addition to being an exciting place for all ages with lots to see and do, it is a place where great importance is attached to good husbandry – using the 138 hectares (341 acres) of land to its greatest potential while at the same time protecting and nurturing it for the future. This is a place where past and present seem to seamlessly merge. "Sizergh" is an old Norse word meaning "summer pasture." The farm has been part of the Sizergh estate since 1239, providing milk and other produce for the occupants of the nearby castle.
Some of the older remaining farm buildings, including the Westmorland stone barn which now houses the farm shop, date from the seventeenth century. Also over 400 years old are some of the hedgerows and the ancient semi-natural woodland to be found here. The land is now owned by the National Trust and since 1980 the farm has been leased to the Park family, in whose caring hands it has now thrived and prospered across two generations.
An island which can be found on Upper Lough Erne in Co' Fermanagh. Trips can be arranged through O'Doherty's meats in Enniskillen.
The butchers source all their own bacon from these pigs that live freely upon the island on Lough Erne. Its a great trip to see how happy and how well kept these pigs are.
O'Doherty's Fine Meats Belmore Street, Enniskillen, Fermanagh, BT74 6AA
+44(0)28 6632 2152
Google map: bit.ly/10XqCRc
This is the take-away arm of one of my favourite places, Cafe Retro. Serves food and drink in compostable packaging! I also bought reusable sandwich wraps which are brilliant for the kids' packed lunches. Full marks for sustainability (and their stuff tastes good too!)
Alliumphobic? Take a trip to the Garlic Farm on the Isle of Wight and face your fear.Taste scapes, giant baked elephant garlic, breads, dips and chutneys. Garlic sculptures, topiary and murals satisfy the art lover. Ride on the farm tractor to tour the growing fields. Plait it, buy it, eat it, smell it. Learn curious snippets and historic facts at the heritage centre.
From the café watch the red squirrels scurrying past while sampling the menu of food cooked with …
If you’re feeling really adventurous, try some garlic ice-cream or a garlic Bloody Mary. And for the positively dedicated garlic lover, join in the festival frolics with 25,000 like minded enthusiasts in August.
Low Sizergh Barn tea room not only serves really great food, much of it from the farm or local area, but it comes with a great view.
Every afternoon around 3.30pm you can head for the tables by the windows overlooking the farm's parlour for a bird's eye view of milking time, or you can watch the action relayed live on large screens.
Should you miss milking time, you can enjoy Cow Cam throughout the day. It provides entertaining viewing of the herd's ladies indulging in a satisfying scratch on the oversized brush suspended from the cowshed rafters.
And it's just a small part of what's on offer just off the A591 near Kendal, there's also a well stocked farm shop, working farm, farm nature trail, and craft, clothing and gift galleries.
Over the past six years we have been to some fantastic farms at Easter in different parts of Yorkshire. Farmstay.co.uk is run for farmers and you can choose self catering cottages on working farms. Our children have seen lambs being born, bottle fed the orphans, helped train sheep dogs, had quad bike rides, even taken the elastic bands in for show and tell!
Each farm has been slightly different but the enthusiasm of the farmers and love of what they do has been fantastic and has proved an experience to remember. This year we are going to Teesdale - Toby Hill farm and have high hopes for yet another great adventure. Support local farmers and have a fantastic holiday to boot!
The view of Ashness Bridge with Derwent Water and Skiddaw Fell beyond has been seen on a gazillion postcards. Standing white, on the fellside behind you, is Ashness Farm. Between school runs the farmer, Anne Cornthwaite, runs hardy Belted Galloway cattle, local Herdwick sheep and rare-breed pigs, while welcoming guests to this friendliest of farm B&Bs. The location is a walker’s paradise. Anne makes mouth-watering Cumberland rum butter to a family recipe. Layer lavishly on fresh bread for a slice of heaven in heaven.
Walks (approximate times, one way):
Surprise View 30 minutes
Watendlath Tarn one hour
Lodore Falls and Bowder Stone (2000 tons!) 1.5 hours
High Seat (608m) and Thirlmere (its water reaches Manchester via a 96 mile aqueduct a day after leaving the lake/reservoir) three hours
Watendlath Tarn, Dock Tarn, Greenup Gill, Langstrathdale, Borrowdale (Royal Oak pub), Bowder Stone, Lodore Falls (six hours, circular)
Nestling amid the Quantocks, Blackmore Farm is a perfect base for exploring Somerset. From the four-poster bed in the 15th Century manor house to the romantically cosy Shepherd’s Hut (complete with en-suite), the range of fantastic accommodation suits all tastes (including wheelchair-accessible). Breakfast in the Great Hall, complete with log-fire, amid suits of armour, a stags head and a range of ancient weaponry. The spacious Cider Press offers a self-catering option – great for informal family gatherings. Visit the farm shop and tea-room (awarded “Cycle Somerset Best Coffee Stop 2012”) for delicious local produce, including ice-cream produced with cream fresh from their own dairy herd. The hosts, Ann and Ian Dyer, are warm, welcoming and immensely helpful.
A family run dairy farm set in rolling Somerset countryside with an incredible restaurant. Food is sourced from the farm and neighbouring land celebrating all that is fresh and local. A warm welcome, fair prices and food created with love.
We visited this lovely Bed and Breakfast a few weeks ago, which is a beautifully restored barn on a beef and sheep farm. After a day exploring the Peak district (with many options for walking, cycling etc), this is the perfect place to completely relax.
The owner, Jane Bassett was very welcoming, made a delicious breakfast and told us all about the farm including her part-time role as Midwife during lambing season! Highly recommend for a peaceful stay on a really interesting working farm.
A tea garden in remote Rosedale, North of Pickering.
I recommend it because it is such an unexpected find at the head of this gorgeous valley. Also, because the food is such high quality and all homemade including Yorkshire tea-bread and elderflower cordial. It's all served in a sun-trap garden with fabulous views down the valley and up to the moors.
Send your feedback or queries to firstname.lastname@example.org