Happy Christmas everyone!
We hope you are having a lovely day, with family and friends, and a few new toys from Father Christmas!
Of course, food is a big part of the Christmas celebrations, and if you are anything like us, you will probably be feeling pretty full from all the chocolates, pigs in blankets and roast potatoes.
So, before you fall asleep in front of the television, why not pull on your boots, wrap up warm and head to one of these scenic spots for a lovely winter walk…
Beacon Hill, Woodhouse Eaves
When it comes to views of Leicestershire, it is hard to beat the one you can enjoy at the summit of Beacon Hill.
The 135 hectare park is also made up of some of the oldest rocks (700 million years) found across the world. These include the unusual Old Man’s Head rock formation which can be seen from the path near the summit.
Around the park, there are also a variety of wooden sculptures, and a natural play area – including a log train – for children.
Just across the road from Beacon Hill is Broombriggs Farm, where there is a mile and a half farm trail.
Bradgate Park and Swithland Woods, Newtown Linford
It is no wonder Bradgate Park is so popular, with 830 acres of wild and beautiful countryside, populated by hundreds of resident deer.
There are dramatic rocky outcrops and gnarled old oak trees, many of which are well over 500 years old. There is also the historic ruins of Bradgate House – home of nine day queen Lady Jane Grey – and the landmark Old John’s Tower.
You can opt for a hike up the hills and enjoy the stunning views, or take it easy and stick to the driveway running through the lower part of the park, close to the shallow waters of the River Lin.
Just north of Bradgate Park, Swithland Woods is a 155 acre ancient woodland, which is a great place for running through the leaves and playing hide and seek behind the plethora of trees.
Market Bosworth Country Park, Market Bosworth
On the edge of the charming market town, this is a beautiful park with lots to enjoy. There is the Bow Pool, home to ducks and swans who can spot a slice of bread a mile off, and an arboretum with exotic tree species including vibrantly coloured Japanese Maples.
There are lots of open grassland, and a lovely children’s play area.
Foxton Locks, Foxton
This is a beautiful spot for a wander by the canal, and gives children the opportunity to see the amazing Grade II listed locks.
The flight of 10 locks is the longest set of staircase locks in Britain and it takes an average of 45 minutes for boats to travel the entire flight.
Watermead Country Park, near Syston
Situated between Syston and Wanlip, this large park was once a sand and gravel pit.
It now offers a great opportunity for walking and cycling as well as bird watching, fishing and nature study.
There are more than a dozen different lakes and ponds and a network of paths taking in a wealth of landscapes, viewpoints and wildlife habitats.
There are a Reedbed Nature Reserve which opened in 2004, and the Birstall Nature Reserve, situated towards the south of the park.
The Jurassic Play Trail around King Lear’s Lake offers fun for young visitors.
Brocks Hill Country Park, Oadby
Woodland, meadows, ponds and a community orchard all feature in this 67 acre site in Oadby.
There is a network of wheelchair and pram-friendly paths, plus two play areas inspired by the natural environment and a dedicated den building area.
Additional features include sculptures and orienteering courses around the park.
Burbage Common and Woods, Hinckley
Located on the edge of Hinckley, Burbage Common is Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council’s largest countryside site.
The 200 acre park is a mix of semi-natural woodland and unspoilt grassland. The main car park, off Leicester Road, offers free car parking.
Willesley Wood, Ashby
This 42 hectare wood features woodland, grassland and open water and was created on a former colliery in the heart of The National Forest.
This site is where the first tree of the new National Forest was planted in 1991.
Martinshaw Wood, Ratby
Dating back to the 13th century, this large ancient woodland covers just over 100 acres, close to Ratby and Groby.
The wood was cut in two by the M1 in 1969, and the two parts are now connected by a bridge crossing the motorway.
Together with Pear Tree and Burroughs woods, Martinshaw forms part of the largest continuous woodland area within the National Forest.
New Lount Nature Reserve, Newbold Coleorton
Within The National Forest, this 19.5-hectare mixed reserve includes species-rich grassland, ponds, plantation woodland and scrub.
The site, which was designated a Local Nature Reserve in 1995, sits on the site of the former New Lount colliery.
Burrough Hill Country Park, Burrough on the Hill
South of Melton Mowbray, this park features a well-preserved Iron Age hill fort, which crowns a steep-sided promontory of land reaching 210m, from where you can enjoy superb views.
The country park also has diverse wildlife habitats and varied areas to visit.