Christmas is a time to eat, drink and be merry, but to ensure you are in shape for the New Year, why not take advantage of your local National Trust property and enjoy long leisurely walks this winter?
With acres of parkland, miles of countryside and vast areas of coast to enjoy, the properties cared for by the National Trust could serve as your very own green gym as more and more people are looking for new ways to exercise. Whether you’re looking for a gentle stroll or more energetic hike, there are countless fantastic places to explore.
In addition to the miles of footpaths waiting to be discovered, the Trust has put together some special events to encourage the whole family to get outdoors and active over the festive period.
- Allen Banks and Staward Gorge
December 17, Wild Child – Forest Schools, 10am – 3pm
In the wonderful woodlands of Allen Banks you can go wild learning the woodland skills you need to survive outdoors; cooking on a fire, building a shelter, making tools, even making a kazoo and much more. Meet in Allen Banks Car park. Wear wellies, waterproofs and bring food to cook on an open fire. Booking essential on 01434 607654. National Trust members: adult £10, child £5, non members: adult £14 child £8.
December 21, Winter Solstice Saunter, 7pm
Take a break from the Christmas chaos and bring a torch for an after dark exploration of Gibside’s woodlands and ruins on the longest night of the year. Warm up with mulled wine and mince pies. £6, booking essential. Call 01207 541820.
December 26, Boxing Day Breather, 1pm
Escape the sales and walk off the turkey with a gentle guided stroll around Gibside’s winter wonderland. Normal admission charges apply. Tel 01207 542 820 for details.
December 27 – 30, Winter Adventure Week, 11am to 3pm
An antidote to weeks of Santa – wrap up cosily and burn off the kids’ energy with a different natural outdoor adventure every day, before warming up indoors at the Mini Gibside Play Hall. Normal admission applies.
January 1, New Year’s Day Boundary Walk, 11am
For a refreshing start to 2012, take a four-mile guided stroll to the furthest reaches of Gibside. Discover the wildlife and stories that make this place so special. Normal admission charges apply.
- Nenthead, near Alston
December 18, Underground Adventure – Christmas Special, 10am-5pm
Get into the Christmas spirit with an underground adventure and experience a fantastic day exploring the mine tunnels of Nenthead.
The main networks are not open to the public and so this is a great opportunity to explore the tunnels and experience what life would have been like working in the mines. There will be lots to discover on your trip – you can even experience a candle lit dinner in the ballroom.
Meet at Nenthead Visitor Centre. Wear old clothes and a pair of old gloves and bring a packed lunch. Adventure North East will provide boiler suits, wellies, helmets and lamps.
Children aged eight upwards welcome. Booking essential on 01434 344314. Adult: £18, National Trust (NT) Member, Non Members, £25, Child: £10 NT members, non-members £15. Arranged by the Hadrian’s Wall and Housesteads Fort National Trust team.
- Lindisfarne Castle
December 17-18 and December 29 -31
Take a bracing Christmas holiday walk on this beautiful island. And while you’re there go and see the castle dressed for Christmas. Check for safe crossing times. Tel: 01289 389244 for details. Normal admission charges apply.
- Souter Lighthouse
December 31, Hogmanay Hike, 10am – 3pm
Join Head Warden Mick for a walk around Marsden Circular – just what you need after the excesses of Christmas. Meet in the Foghorn Field. £3 per person, which includes hot homemade soup and stottie on your return to the Lighthouse. Dogs on leads welcome. Booking not needed. For more information call 0191 529 0903.