8 mood-boosting Spring walks
There's nothing like fresh air and a shot of Vitamin D to boost your mood. Call it medicine for your mind. Here's 10 Spring walks to stop you going stir crazy.
Home working driving you mad? Refereeing bored kids? Or you’re desperately seeking a sense of normality, no one ever regretted a walk and we’ve got loads of ’em in Berkshire. Boost your mood on a Muddy favourite stomp that just happens to pass a cool caff offering delicious grab-and-go treats.
1/ WOODLAND STOMP: Sulham Wood loop, Nr Pangbourne
Why we love it: An easy to moderate trail that’s perfect for hiking, walking, trail running and crawling around in the undergrowth for buds and bugs. The wildflowers of Sulham Woods – between Pangbourne and Englefield – are what make this 3.9km woodland loop an absolute gem. View walk here.
Good for: Curious kids, off-road fitness types.and reluctant ramblers. It’s just long enough to justify that chocolate brownie afterward.
Nearby café: The newish Cobbs Farm Shop & Kitchen has all the cakes, coffees and teas to tempt you – and you can grab a bottle of wine and something from the Farm Shop for supper. WINNING!
2/ CIRCULAR STROLL: Bray Lake, Maidenhead
Why we love it: A walk so easy, you can whip around without breaking a sweat. What this gentle 1.5mile stroll around the edge of Bray Lake lacks in length, it makes up for in views. One of the prettiest spots in Berkshire, the path hugs the edge of the tree-lined water, home to Bray Lake Watersports. During the wet months, wellies are a must as it can get a bit muddy. But the outlook never gets old View walk here.
Good for: Families, particularly those with young children, reluctant walkers and anyone pretending to work up an appetite before lunch.
Nearby pitstop: Bray Lake Watersports has a The Monkey Bar where you can hot and old drinks and food, then sit by the lake and take in the view. Wellbeing in a cup. Drink it in.
3/ FAMILY FRIENDLY: Long Walk, Windsor
Why we love it: The world’s largest occupied castle as a backdrop, stonking parkland and the impressive statue of mad King George III on horseback (actually made of brass, just saying). It’s an easy stroll that follows in the footsteps of Kings and Queens. This is a dead straight 2-3 hour leisurely stroll down the tree-lined drive and back again. What it lacks in map-reading (no complaints here) it makes up for in regal splendour. It’s a 5-mile round trip from Windsor Castle’s Cambridge Gate up to the Copper Horse and back again (you can dip out anytime) . No bikes, no cars (unless you’re the crown-wearing VIP) just you, Windsor Great Park and lots of deer. View walk here.
Good for: History nerds, royal stalkers, half-hearted leg stretchers and families with energy to burn.
Nearby pitstop: After all that exertion, you’ll need to refuel. Head to the Craft Coffee House on George V St and takeaway quality coffee, teas, and fresh bagels and pastries.
4/ PARK LIFE: Dinton Pastures, Hurst
Why we love it: A 400-acre site, that has something for everyone. Want to get competitive? Test your ability to use a compass and a map on the 30-point Orienteering Course or hit the many trails and run. If your pace is more of a saunter than speedy, there are easy trails that take in the lake, play park and green spaces that perfectly suited to littlies and are pushchair and wheel-chair friendly. View the walks here.
Good for: Everyone. Do a little or a lot with many beautiful spots to sit, ponder and soak up a little vitamin D.
Nearby Pitstop: Do not pass go without popping into The Dragonfly Café, which has a permanent smell of freshly baked cakes wafting from the kitchen. Takeaway the goodies and find a spot in the park for an impromptu picnic.
5/ GREEN SUPERHIGHWAY: Hermitage-Hampstead Norreys
Why we love it: No muddy paws or feet for starters. Work has just been completed on creating a green superhighway on the old Didcot railway line that connects the villages of Hermitage and Hampstead Norreys in West Berkshire. It’s 2.5 miles each way, pretty flat and perfect for runners, cyclists, dog walkers and families with pushchairs or kids on bikes. A super-easy, safe stroll. View the walk here.
Nearby pitstop: Hampstead Norreys Village Shop & Café is a must-visit. Hot and cold drinks to takeaway, homemade sausage rolls, sarnies, and cakes. A well-deserved treat.
6/ ENTHUSIASTIC RAMBLE: Stanford Dingley, Nr Newbury
Why we love it: Stanford Dingley and its surrounding meadows and woodland are what escaping to the countryside is all about. An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, you can celebrate the seasons and there’s half a chance you’ll bump into a dog-walking Cambridge or Middleton. This moderate 4-mile stomp is a two-hour belter with some steep sections, a couple of hills and some muddy, uneven ground, but there are a few shortcuts if you want to bail out early. A colourful walk to see the seasons change that’s particularly lovely in spring and autumn. View walk here.
Good for: Enthusiastic striders, hardy dog-walkers and shameless cheaters.
Nearby pitstop: Two absolute belters. If you fancy a pubby pitstop without the mingling, The Old Boot in Stanford Dingley’s menu is available to takeaway. For if you’re after a quick sarny, salads, cakes and a coffee, head up the hill to The Blackbird Café (above). A stunning little caff in well-heeled Chapel Row.
7/ Cookham and Cock Marsh
Why we love it: It’s a pick and mix of beautiful Berkshire countryside, Cock Marsh is a biological Site of Special Scientific Interest, so no shortage of wildlife. A moderate four-mile circular strut, the trail takes approximately two hours, and it’s not the faint-hearted. The route takes in churches, the river, past Bronze Age burial mounds, along a wooden boardwalk and you’ll get cracking views of Cliveden. It can be wet and boggy, and is steep in places, but it’s a corker. View the walk here.
Good for: Energetic stompers, dog walkers and nature-loving David Attenborough types.
8/ POETRY IN MOTION: Pope’s Meadow, Bracknell
Pope’s Meadow, named after Binfield’s most famous resident – the 18th-century poet and philosopher Alexander Pope, is a Green Flag Award-winning site and has a small wooded copse full of bluebells. You never know, it might even inspire you write poetry too. At Binfield Road in Bracknell are The Three Copses (Temple Copse, Tinker’s Copse and Jock’s Copse ) – hazel coppice woodlands full of bluebells with a handy circular walk through them. View the walk here.
Good for: Nature lovers, fresh air fanciers, energetic kids, history nerds, and poets.
Nearby pitstop: Worked up an appetite? Just 1.5miles away is the new Foxes Den Community Café in Binfield. Cakes, cookies, bagels, and sarnies. A celebration of beige food (in a good way) and we love it.
If I’ve missed one of your favourites off the list (I know, criminal), comment below.