Spring is here, the flowers are blooming and the weather is warming up, so nothing serves up more of a treat than getting outside for a walk without all the extra layers required in winter.

Whether you choose a woodland wander, a riverside ramble or a hilly hike, the feel of fresh air and the scent of spring will do wonders for the soul and as the daylight hours are getting longer you can even head on out after work.

Nottinghamshire has its fair share of lovely places to indulge in a springtime walk. Some of my favourite walking locations appear in the form of Britain’s Country Parks. As well as being particularly notable for their attractive countryside, they are easy to locate and navigate around. With 5 of them within its boundaries, Nottinghamshire does well in country park stakes and they cover a diverse range of habitats.

Holme Pierrepont Country Park is a watery wonderland and home to the National Watersports Centre. You can walk to nearby Skylarks Nature Reserve which is managed by the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust.

Similar wetlands are found to the south west of Nottingham at the Attenborough Nature Reserve, a birdlife haven where trails criss-cross amongst numerous ponds alongside the River Trent.

Four miles north of Nottingham, Bestwood Country Park offers a meandering network of paths through gentle rolling fields to an attractive lakeside setting and features an Old Winding Engine House, a remnant of its former use as a busy coal mine.

Another former colliery site has developed into Cotgrave Country Park to south east of Nottingham, a peaceful place with scenic lakes amidst beautiful woodlands.

My two favourite country parks however are much further north near the village of Edwinstowe. Rufford Abbey Country Park has a bit of everything: woodlands, meadows, lakes, gardens and of course the abbey ruins, managed by English Heritage.

And last but not least – Sherwood Forest Country Park. How can we not mention this infamous forest in relation to Nottinghamshire walks? The forest extends well beyond the country park and if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can set off from here on the Robin Hood Way. This long distance trail meanders 107 miles to Nottingham Castle.

The famous ‘Major Oak’ is found in the centre of the country park. The tree shapes look particularly amazing at this time of year before all the leaves start to appear. All the twisted leafless branches take on a life of their own so it’s well worth a visit. Keep an eye out for the hundreds of fungi species that grow in the forest. Some weird and wonderful shapes certainly exist amongst nature.

With so much delightful countryside in Nottinghamshire, you’ll be spoilt for choice. There are paths everywhere, so buy yourself your local OS Map and scout out your own routes. You won’t regret it!

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