Wintertime is a wonderful time to walk. Short walks and longer walks.
Consider leaving the car behind on short trips
Walking gives us some much needed time to think, it gives us screen free time to reconnect with our kids, friends and family and of course, we love the benefit of getting to eat just one more mince pie.
Even just walking to the shops for the seasonal eggnog that you forget to get, or dropping those last minute cards into the post - New Year's greeting too! or even just walking into town one way and taking the bus home is a great way to meet friends for a drink and a holiday catch up.
Even just walking to the next bus stop or a week-long personal walking challenge to not use the car unless you absolutely have to. It's surprising how many quick trips could be made without a car, saving money and stress as well as giving us a few minutes to review the past year gone by before 2019 kicks off.
Our picks for some lovely longer winter walks in our region
The Festival of Winter Walking hosted by Redcar and Cleveland is on this year from 28th January to 3rd of February, 2019.
1. Roseberry Topping and Newton Wood Walk
Courtesy of the National Trust here is a lovely route taking about 1 hour (2-mile walk). It does include an uphill climb but worth the views. Why not bring along a flask of hot chocolate to celebrate getting to the top? And the views make it all worthwhile. There are spots to go sledging along about halfway up.
2. Walking and Stargazing in the North York Moors National Park
Winter in the North York Moors can see snowy, crisp winter days that also highlight our big northern sky. There are lots of traditional pubs and coffee shops for food and warm cozy drinks by the fire.
The Stargazing and Dark Skies Festival (15 February - 3 March) takes place at both the North York Moors National Park and Yorkshire Dales National Park. This is one of the best places in the country to see stars - so get out and have a look up at the sky.
3. 7 Days of Wild Christmas (we think this could go on into 2019 so.. no pressure!)
From our friends, at The Wildlife Trust, we loved this one!
7 Days of Wild Christmas is a week-long challenge to do one wild thing a day from the 25th to the 31st of December. (why not think ahead and take the challenge again to Go Wild in the New Year!)
There are lots of things you can do to get outside and connect with nature, and help nature, even in the depths of winter (and, for those who need it, it's the perfect excuse to escape your in-laws for a bit!)
Here is the link to our local Tees Valley Nature Reserves
4. The Teesdale Way in Winter
The Teesdale Way is a 147 km (92 mile) walking trail -- now that is a long walk. But much of it goes through our region and folks from all over the world come to walk it. The River Tees is beautiful in winter and much wildlife is more easily seen with less foliage so go out and explore a section of this beautiful river in wintertime. We like the Durham Cow website as a good place to see sections of this walk.
5. Bird watching and walking at RSPB Saltholme
Just this month birdwatchers have descended upon Saltholme RSPB as the Little Bittern (pictured) was spotted there for the first time since 1852. So get out there and have a look. Even if you don't spot this little treasure it's completely worth a journey outside for a walk at Saltholme.
6. Seal Sands wild walks
Industrial Teesside isn't a location you'd automatically associate with nature watching but a trip to Seal Sands is a real treat for wildlife lovers. However there are seals to be seen at Teesside's aptly named wildlife haven, Seal Sands.
Total length - 4.4 km (can be split into two walks - North Gare and Seal Sands). Those arriving by public transport are advised to pick either the North Gare or Seal Sands walk.
Approx time: 2.5 hours. Walk difficulty: Easy with some easy-moderate sections at North Gare. Mostly flat.
Highlights: This walk provides great views of waders, water birds, seals and birds of prey.
Here is a website with more details.
And after Christmas there is the...
Winter Walking Festival in Redcar & Cleveland 28 January to 3 February 2019
Redcar and Cleveland is home to some beautiful countryside and coastal areas. Check out their Winter Walking Festival 2019 programme for some more inspiration and reasons to walk more every day.
Whatever you do we all are wishing you all a wonderful and warm holiday season and we'll be back in 2019 to keep you inspired to walk, cycle and use public transport to keep fit, healthy and our Tees Valley green!
By Silke Oldridge at 22 Dec 2018, 10:55 AM