Our top spring nature walks

A walk can be a great way to escape the hustle and bustle of daily life. Warmer spring days mean you can shed a few layers, and it's also the time of year when you can experience the world waking up around you – from tiny green shoots pushing up through the soil, to birds nesting in hedgerows and trees bursting into leaf.

Visitors walking beside the river at Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden, North Yorkshire

What's open to visit? 

We're open and safe for you to visit. Many of your local gardens, parks, coast and countryside places are open in England and Northern Ireland. Places in Wales are also open for visitors who live in Wales in line with Welsh government guidelines. All houses in England and Northern Ireland are currently closed.
To avoid disappointment please book in advance, especially at weekends and school holidays. Please always check the property webpage of the place you wish to visit before you travel.

 Visitors by the lake at Woodchester Park, Gloucestershire

Studies have shown that walking regularly can improve mood, reduce anxiety and help you sleep better. Even taking 20 minutes in nature can lift your mood, from noticing how the blossom moves in the wind to listening out for birdsong. When was the last time you spotted a chaffinch in a hedge, or made the most of the coastline near you and went for a wellbeing walk? Heading out for a stroll is the perfect way to enjoy spring, and we’ve even got some top tips for exploring the great outdoors so you can really make the most of your adventures.

Find spring trails near you

View to the Mourne Mountains from Murlough National Nature Reserve, County Down, Northern Ireland

Spring walks in Northern Ireland

There are plenty of family-friendly routes to explore in Northern Ireland this spring. You could follow your nose to find scented rhododendrons at Mount Stewart or look out for seals bobbing about in the lough at Castle Ward.

Wildlife and wildflowers to look out for

Wildlife spotting tips

Know what you're looking for
Before you head out, it’s worth doing a bit of research to find out which animals and wildflowers are in the area. Many of the places we care for will have information about local wildlife on their webpages. This will mean you can head to the right habitat if there’s something you particularly want to see, like the great crested newt in the sand dunes of Formby, Liverpool or deer in the rolling hills of Dyrham Park near Bath.

Keep your distance
It can be a really exciting experience to see a new creature in the wild, but it’s important to give them plenty of space and stay calm to avoid disturbing them. You're more likely to see wildlife if you stay hidden, so go for muted colours of clothing and avoid wearing perfume or scented sun cream. A pair of binoculars will help you to see details from a safe distance.

Capture the memories
Spotting a kingfisher, roe deer or a rare pearl-bordered fritillary butterfly can make you feel even closer to nature. You never know when you might make a special discovery, so why not take a camera or notebook and pencil to record your findings? You could even pack a pocket guide to help you identify the flowers and animals that you come across.

Look & listen
Many creatures large and small are excellent at camouflage. Droppings, flattened grass tracks or muddy paw prints can let you know if there’s anyone in the area, and if you listen hard you might be able to find a chaffinch by following its song, or hear other creatures moving in the undergrowth.

Get comfy
Wildlife works on its own time, and you might have to wait for hours to see shy or rare animals like kingfishers. Take a rug to sit on, layers for warmth and a raincoat to keep you dry. Water and snacks are a good idea as well but remember to avoid strong-smelling foods, and always take any litter home with you.

Think like wildlife
Animals will often head for shade on a sunny day, and when the weather is dry they’ll need to find water to drink. Wet weather brings bugs and worms to the surface, making a feast for the birds. Many of the places we care for will run regular guided walks with rangers, which are the perfect opportunity to pick up some more tips.

How you can help support nature

Love spotting spring nature out on your favourite walk? There’s plenty you can do at home to support wildlife. Discover how you can help by making a promise for nature to make your garden more wildlife friendly.

Want to help wildlife all year round? Make a promise for nature

Working together to put a spring in your step

As our official outdoor retail partner, Cotswold Outdoor is helping us care for coast and countryside. This means we can continue our work to protect the plants and wildlife that fill the walking trails we care for with vibrant colour during the spring.

Sian Cahill from Cotswold Outdoor in Bristol tells us why she loves walking at this time of year. 

'The longer days are the best part for me. Being able to go out for a walk at any time of day and knowing I have all the time I need to explore and fully appreciate nature is definitely a highlight of spring.'

Get everything you need to make the most of walking this season. National Trust supporters receive 15 per cent discount at Cotswold Outdoor, in store and online.*

*Full T&Cs apply. This is not to be used in conjunction with any other offer or discount. Selected lines are exempt. This offer is redeemable on production of your National Trust membership card in-store, or both members and our other supporters can email partners@cotswoldoutdoor.com to receive a discount code to use online or in-store. Offer expires 31/12/19.