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Wrapping up warm and heading out to enjoy fresh air, exercise and gorgeous rolling countryside is a brilliant way to boost health and happiness over the winter months

The mental and physical lift experienced by a bracing winter walk takes some beating during this difficult year.

So if you’re in search of a little inspiration McCarthy & Stone has pulled together a list of some of its favourite rural locations to explore.

Best for green and pleasant land

The ‘Garden of England’ county of Kent may be renowned for its white cliffs of Dover, but it also boasts acres of gorgeous countryside, including the High Weald, designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Close to the fashionable market town of Tunbridge Wells, this unique medieval landscape offers something for everyone, from ancient irregular field patterns, to verdant woodlands, stately homes and wildlife havens.

You’ll be spoilt for choice, but if you head for the Bedgebury National Pinetum & Forest you are guaranteed a wonderful day out while the National Trust’s 12th Century Scotney Castle boasts spectacular landscaped gardens.

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The best for charming villages

You don’t get much more ‘chocolate box’ than the picturesque Cotswolds.

If you love exploring quaint honey-coloured villages with both lakeside and riverside views, the ‘Venice of The Cotswolds’, Bourton-on-the-Water is the perfect spot for a gentle scenic stroll.

We recommend the circular route from Bourton-on-the-Water through the nature reserve and up to Little Rissington.

Or for a bigger challenge the Cotswold Way or Thames Path which offer numerous longer rambles through stunning scenery.

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Best for rugged peaks and moors

The Peak District National Park is a diamond in the rough, known for its stark moorland, limestone valleys, dramatic ridges and the iconic Pennine Way.

In the heart of the Peak District, the spa town of Buxton is an idyllic base offering easy access to a range of walks for all levels.

For breath-taking views and a medium category circular walk try the many footpaths to Chapel-en-le-Frith via Coombs (and the Beehive pub!) or for an easy, accessible yet attractive meander explore the Pavilion Gardens and Serpentine.

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Best for dazzling glacial lakes

The globally-renowned Lake District in Cumbria needs no introduction.

This is a haven for walkers, climbers, cyclists, nature lovers and sailing enthusiasts.

Rightly famous for its awe-inspiring glacial lakes, it’s also home to Scafell Pike the highest peak in England – if you’re fit enough and properly prepared you can walk to the top in around five hours.

However there are plenty of easier walks to be enjoyed too.

From the lovely town of Ambleside, you can ramble up Loughrigg Fell in around 90 minutes for an amazing view of Lake Windemere or stroll to scenic Stockgyhll waterfalls in under half an hour.

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Best for majestic mountains and waterfalls

The magnificent Brecon Beacons National Park in South Wales is home to some stunning mountains, including Pen Y fan, the highest peak in southern Britain, not to mention moors, castles, ancient standing stones such as imposing Maen Llia with its endless Celtic legends.

There are plenty of lovely well-marked trials to explore and wondrous waterfalls.

If the sometimes steep 5.5 mile Four Falls trail feels too energetic, try the gentler Elidir Trail which takes you along the river to the superb Sgwd Gwladus, the Lady Falls.

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Find your happy place with McCarthy & Stone

McCarthy & Stone properties offer beautiful surroundings, friendly neighbours and peace of mind.

Discover your happy place today and save an average of £16,471* on moving fees. Call 0800 201 4818 or visit McCarthy & Stone to find out more.

*£16,471 represents the mean average saving available across McCarthy & Stone’s selling portfolio nationwide.