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The last of the winter magic

Don’t wish the winter away… Why are we so negative about winter when there is so much to love?  As the season’s end approaches, here are some great ways to finish winter on a high.

By the end of January, we are all feeling a little sorry for ourselves. Christmas is a distant memory, summer a far-off land and our new year’s resolutions have disappeared beneath the snowdrifts of day to day living.

But it doesn’t have to be like this. Winter is a quarter of the year; all our winters are a quarter of our lives –  so embrace winter and find reasons to love it.

Not convinced? Here are six ideas to fill these last few weeks of winter with sparkle; we challenge you to try them all before spring makes it presence felt.

1.Take a winter walk

The cold winter air is far more suited to an invigorating walk than the heat of summer. Take a walk while the trees are still bare and the sun is low in the sky. Look for robins pecking at the last of the berries, enjoy the sparkle of the frost and, if you must, spot the first tentative signs of new life that herald the start of spring.

 


2. Snuggle up

Time to come indoors and make the most of those cosy moments when you shut out the cold. Throw a log on the fire, put your woolly socks on and curl up on the sofa with a hot chocolate. It is hardly surprising that the colder countries of Europe have a word for the feeling of contentment that comes from these warm and cosy moments. It is called hygge in Denmark and the concept has taken the UK by storm this winter. Make the most of your hygge before that pesky spring sunshine dilutes the feeling.

 

3. Cook up some comfort food

Cold winter days call for comforting casseroles, Sunday roasts and puddings that can only work with custard. Before too long it will be all salads and barbecues and drinks on the patio. There’s everything to love about this of course but before we throw open the doors, bubble up one more rich beef bourguignon, linger over a last leg of lamb with roasties and gravy and fortify yourself with a final crumble, smothered in custard.

 

4. Reignite your resolutions

We’re not suggesting that you have been anything less that resolute about your resolutions but…with research telling us that two thirds of people have given up giving up by the end of January, it is just possible that you have quietly dropped them.

Well, pick them up again. Falling off the wagon for a day, or a week even, doesn’t mean you can’t get back on. The path to success is paved with failure and there is nothing to stop you having that svelte-like figure (apart from point 3 above) or learning Spanish, or de-cluttering the house. Begin again now and set some targets to be reached by the first day of spring, which is 21st March.

 

5. Explore winter’s hidden attractions

While many of the UK’s best known attractions are centred on the summer holiday season not everything stops for the winter. Get your National Trust membership up to date and visit one of their top winter gardens. The garden at Mottisfont is close to our Blackwood Forest location and Clumber Park is a short drive from Sherwood Forest.

Or how about a walk along a deserted beach, free from the summer crush. Stay at Deerpark in Cornwall for the beautiful south Cornish coast, or Keldy or Cropton for the bracing beaches of North Yorkshire.

In Scotland, the Scottish Snowdrop Festival is on until 12th March. Stay at Ardgartan Argyll or Strathyre and head for one of the featured snowdrop walks or gardens.

Winter wildlife is the big attraction in Norfolk. Stay at Thorpe Forest and head to the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust at Welney to see thousands of Berwick swans, or similar numbers of pink-footed geese as they take to the air at RSPB Snettisham. And don’t miss the seal pups at Blakeney point, where their mums have come ashore to give birth. Wrap up warm and witness some of nature’s most remarkable events.

 

6. Enjoy a winter holiday

A winter holiday doesn’t have to mean catching a plane to warmer climes or spending a fortune on skiing gear. How about a few peaceful days on a Forest Holiday, enjoying all that the good old British winter can throw at you. You can find forest trails for those frosty walks.  You can snuggle up in a luxury cabin. You can take time to reset the dial on your resolutions. You can cook up a heart-warming meal for family or friends in your well-equipped kitchen and you can spend time exploring some of the UK’s best winter attractions.

Whether it’s a family half term holiday, a romantic Valentine’s break or a chance to spend some quality time with friends, book your final winter holiday in the forest now and hold onto all the good things of winter for a moment or two longer.

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