GetOutside Champion Debs Butler takes us on her stand up paddleboarding river trip in the Midlands.
Lickey Hills Country Park in Birmingham covers 524 acres of land, and has a green flag award - which means the park is exceptionally well cared for and managed by the local council. The park consists of a lovely variety of woodlands, heathland, and grassland.
The park is perfect if you like sports, as rounders equipment can be borrowed from the visitor centre. The park has many walking trails, varied to suit any ability, and is a good place to walk your dog. If you’re into horse riding or cycling, there are plenty of bridleways within the park.
Lickey Park is home to Beacon Hill, which rises 297 metres above sea level. From the top of the hill there are stunning views of the surrounding countryside. There is a toposcope at the top of the hill, which indicates directions to notable features that can be seen from Beacon Hill. Landmarks in 13 different counties can be seen, such as Bardon Hill in Leicestershire and Borough Hill in Northamptonshire.
As well as wildlife to see in the quieter parts of the park, there are also good picnic spots and a play area for the kids. Car parking is free, which is perfect if you need to drive from further away – remember you can check access points for vehicles using the Greenspace layer on OS maps.Open in OS maps
Set in 150 acres, Waseley Hills is both a country park and nature reserve. A popular place with dog walkers, grab your dog and take it here for a run around.
The park consists of rolling open hills, and small pockets of woodland, and if you climb the hills, panoramic views over Worcestershire will be revealed.
There’s plenty to keep you (or your children) occupied, including a children’s adventure play area, and an orienteering course. And for when you’ve had enough, there’s a café for you to relax in.Open in OS maps
Also a Green Flag award winner, Cannon Hill park was originally donated to the citizens of Birmingham, as a place for healthy recreation. The park was designed by the same designer as Battersea park in London, and opened in 1873. With a range of activities, this park can suit your family’s needs.
There are 2 play areas for children, and weather permitting there is a children’s mini fun fair at the weekends.
There is a boating lake, where you can hire pedalos, and you are also allowed to fish in the lake. Find out more here.
For those that lead an active lifestyle, there are tennis courts and a bowling green. There are also plenty of routes you can walk and run around to get you closer to your 10,000 steps!
For something a bit different, The Mac Arts centre is based in Cannon Hill Park, where there is theatre, dance and music. Have a look at their website.
If you want to take a more active role in caring for your community, then look out for activities and events lead by the park rangers.Open in OS maps
Located a few miles outside of the city centre, Sutton Park is a 2,400-acre Nature reserve and has been designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Home to 7 lakes, each with their own rich variety of plants and wildlife – there is plenty of nature to be seen at Sutton Park. There are also cattle and wild ponies grazing on the land.
If you’re into horse-riding or cycling, there are plenty of bridleways within the park for you to ride on. If walking, jogging or running is more your style – there are plenty of footpaths for you to explore the park in the park, including a 5km walking route you can complete.
If you like the water, then you can sail or canoe in one of the pools in the park by joining the Sutton Sailing club. The canoe club also offers kayaking and canoeing in one of the other pools.
The park offers a model aircraft flying field – although there are rules that flyers must follow, so be sure to check these out.
The park is home to two orienteering courses (maps are available from the visitor centre), although orienteering is not permitted between April and September due to wildlife – but this does mean you can try and spot different wildlife during this time.Open in OS maps
Set in the Handsworth area of Birmingham, lies 63 acres of landscaped grass slopes. A diverse range of wildlife lives here, so why not take the kids and see how many different animals you can spot?
Often described as a peaceful oasis that feels removed from city life, the park is popular with dog walkers, families, runners and anyone seeking some nature time.
With a large selection of flora, trees, shrubs and wildlife, there is plenty to see in Handsworth Park, for some well deserved time out.