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Spending a holiday in a farm cottage can often mean you’re closer to coast and countryside than you are to towns and cities, which means there’s plenty of opportunities for a stroll along hills, cliffs and mountains. Though the winter months bring with them the colder weather and shorter days, why not make the most of them by wrapping up warm and going on a ramble along some of Britain’s glorious walking routes? You never know, there may even be a dusting of snow on the ground to add to the beauty of the area.
Due to the cooler temperatures, many people choose to avoid a trip in winter, but that is perhaps the best reason to get away – it’s much quieter than the summer months, and depending where you go, there’s plenty of wildlife to spot that would otherwise be hidden in the warmer climate. Keep an eye out for reindeers in the Cairngorms, porpoise off the coast of Wales, and the peregrine falcon in Gloucestershire.
Here’s our top five favourite regions for a winter ramble…
The Lizard Coast Walk is a perfect cliff top ramble, taking in incredible scenery out to sea along the South West Coast Path and the most southerly point of the UK. Starting at Kynance Cove, a beach synonymous with holidaymakers in high season, you can take in its beauty in peace before following the path along dramatic hills, observing winter flora and wildlife, and the striking Lizard lighthouse. Why not stay in the nearby Mullion, at Sowanna Farm Cottage or Nanplough Country House, to have a cosy place to return to after a day of exploring?
As an International Dark Sky Reserve, the Brecon Beacons are as beautiful at night as they are in the day, with stargazing a popular activity after dark. But for the day time, there’s nothing better than exploring the beautiful National Park on foot, getting into nature and discovering the truly stunning surroundings. Crickhowell to Table Mountain in the east of the Brecons is a magnificent winter walk, with the romantic Ty Donkey or cosy Apple Orchard Barn just outside the village to return to and warm up following your hike.
Beautiful Beaulieu is picturesque all year around, with majestic buildings and idyllic cottages on the banks of the water and the whole of the New Forest on its doorstep. In the tranquillity of winter, staying in a delightful farmhouse and exploring the area makes for the perfect relaxing break. Danny’s Cottage makes for an ideal home for a short break away, leaving you to discover the infamous New Forest ponies and quaint villages on foot, with a charming property to return to at the end of the day.
Stay on the outskirts of the North York Moors National Park, an area famed for its diverse landscape featuring coast, moors and forests. The Hugill Barn Cottage is situated just on the northern outskirts of the park, with the classic Wainstones Walk not far away. Admire the breathtaking scenery, and for the birdwatchers, keep an eye out for waxwings and crossbills.
About 30 minute's drive from Loch Ard, Pow Lodge is perfectly placed as a base to explore the lochs, forests and hills all around. Trails of varying difficulty allow you to discover various sections of the region, with tracks like the Ben Lomond Viewpoint track following steep slopes, whilst other more family-orientated paths like the sculpture trail follow the idyllic shorelines of Loch Ard and Lochan d’Ghleannin.
The main thing to remember with a winter ramble is to be prepared.
1. Plenty of layers are key to keeping the cold out or taking off thinner pieces of clothing if need be, whilst a decent pair of boots will keep your feet dry and your grip of the ground solid.
2. Consider taking walking poles with you to tackle any tricky or steep paths, and take water and food along with an emergency kit, just in case.
3. Make sure you know your route, and your capabilities, so that you won’t get stranded, lost or exhausted.
4. Enjoy the environment you’re surrounded by – it’s beautiful and worth appreciating.
Discover our range of farm cottages available and get ready to ramble