Making the Most of Local Trails

I feel it is very important to explore where you live, and this year so far I have been making an effort to make use of the many local trails that I can find close to my own home. Lincolnshire may not be the most obvious choice for hiking, people tend to head to more well-known hiking areas including Yorkshire and Derbyshire, but for me that means a long drive at each end of the day so it isn’t practical every weekend. Lincolnshire has a lot to offer to the day hiker, with several long distance trails including the Viking Way passing through our county boundary, and a number of other options such as the Stephen Langton Trail.

The thing I love best about hiking from my own front door is that I don’t really have to plan a route. I can decide how far (approximately) I want to walk based on the amount of time I have at my disposal, which general direction I want to go in, and that’s about it. On a recent Saturday I had all day, so I filled my pack with the necessary kit and snacks, filled up my hydration bladder, pulled up my socks and tied up my laces, and off I went. I had “about 20 miles” in my head, and specifically wanted to walk along some new-to-me trails to keep things interesting.

I started by heading to Whisby Nature Park, via Millennium Green (read my blog about nature’s spaces in Lincoln), before walking through woodland and across farmland to Skellingthorpe, and then back down the river into Lincoln city centre before continuing along the river to my home. A really varied walk that included lots of paths, climbing over fallen trees, surprising a couple of partridges when I walked past their nest, seeing my first cygnets of the year (this was a little while ago now), watching people fix up their house boats, and took in an absolutely stunning Lincolnshire river scene that received thousands of impressions on twitter.

Millennium Green, Lincoln. A lovely little oasis of calm. 

Lakes in North Hykeham – Millennium Green and Whisby Nature Park. 

Red Arrows flying overhead. 

Whisby Nature Park

Path through woodland – the A46 main Lincoln bypass was just the other side of the fence; nature is close everywhere if you just look for it.

Woodland paths are always fun.

Should have brought a strimmer with me.

More woodland on the way to Skellingthorpe near Lincoln. 

As typical Lincolnshire as it gets – field of Rapeseed.

Poppies. Close to Skellingthorpe. 

Crossing the railway and canal. 

Canal path on the way in to Lincoln.

Canal path on the way into Lincoln. 

Now on the River Witham.

Nature at its finest less than two miles walk from Lincoln city centre. 

I often get asked what I wear for hiking. This photo shows my usual kit, or at least the kit I make sure I have with me for any day hike. You’ll be forgiven for thinking that this can’t have been taken on a 20 mile hike from Lincoln, and you’d be right – it was taken on Kinder Downfall on the Outdoor Bloggers weekend when I actually had some hiking buddies to take some photos of me, but it shows the exact same kit I wore on the day photographed above. The jacket I’m wearing was a gift from the Outdoor Hub. It’s the Haglofs LIM Proof Q Women’s Running Jacket, the smallest and lightest fully waterproof jacket I have owned. I’ll be writing a review of it soon but wanted to show it to you. Having a really thin and light over jacket is very handy – this one stuffs into the mesh pocket of my pack with ease and so is always there just in case the weather turns. For more information on what I take with me on a day hike, check out my tips for your day hike pack.

I definitely recommend hiking from your own front door. Get the OS Explorer Map for your own town, clear a whole day in your diary, and go for a walk. It doesn’t matter if you live in the middle of a city or in the middle of nowhere, exploring where you live is a great way to spend your time, and I guarantee you will see things and go places you have never seen before. A challenge for this summer, this weekend? Let me know how it goes.

(And don’t forget to show me your photos on twitter and/or instagram for my #wildsplodz competition – you could win one of two Wild Guide books.)


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