Was your New Year’s resolution to take more exercise and generally get fitter? If so, you’ve got that in common with around two thirds of other people who made resolutions. It can be hard to build exercise into a working week, so make the most of the weekends to get out and about in the countryside. The British weather means that some of the time we can be forced into taking exercise indoors in swimming pools and gyms, but getting out in the fresh air has other benefits as well. It reduces stress, and makes a walk, run or bike a more interesting and stimulating experience. Here are a couple of suggested routes:
1. Brereton Country Park to the Swettenham Arms. An easy three-mile round walk on hard paths and lanes, suitable for pushchairs and mostly off road.
Either park in the (pay and display) car park at the country park and start off by feeding the dogs and strolling round the park, or park at the pub and do the loop in the opposite direction. From the Country Park, turn left onto the road and follow it to the crossroads. Cross straight over (take care – it’s a main road but visibility is good) and take the small lane opposite. Follow this until it turns into a permissive path, and keep straight on until you come out on a lane again. Follow the lane uphill until you reach the Swettenharm Arms, at the back of the church. Stop for lunch or coffee, and take the same route back.
2. The Quinta Lovell Arboretum and Swettenham Meadows. 3 – 4 mile loop. Mostly flat and easy, some stiles, crossing some fields which may be wet, so stout footwear is recommended. Largely off road. Park at the pub, and go through the gate at the back of the beer garden into the Arboretum. Walk down the avenue to the far end (lovely views here across the river Dane) and around the perimeter until you see the lavender meadow and the back of the pub. With the lavender on your right, walk down the rough field and go through the gate onto the lane. Turn right then immediately left down a bridlepath. Follow this down and uphill until you come out on Cross Lane, then turn right. Follow Cross Lane for approximately half a mile until you see a stile on the right with a signpost for Swettenham Meadows. Follow the footpath over the fields (there are sometimes cows in this field) until you come back out on Swettenham Lane. Turn right, and follow the road back to the pub for coffee or lunch.
You can trace both routes here.