The 50 Best Picnic Spots - Rural

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Rhiannon Batten finds the perfect places to lay your blanket this summer

Selsley Common

"One of the many commons in the Stroud valleys, on a clear day Selsley has the most spectacular views - right out across the Severn plains with the Black Mountains in the distance," says Evie Pace. "Expect to see lots of kite- and model-airplane-flyers around and even an ice cream van if you're lucky," she adds. It's also rich in wildlife.

Getting there: Selsley Common consists of around 160 acres of open-access land outside the village of Selsley, around 2m from Stroud in Gloucestershire.



Abinger Hammer

The picturesque village green, in Surrey's Abinger Hammer, has a river running through it and is the perfect place for a lazy summer afternoon's picnic, according to Mark Scott. There's a cricket pitch, a tearoom and plenty of "space for kids to walk, kick a ball and throw a Frisbee". An unusual village clock commemorates the fact that Abinger Hammerwas once a centre of the iron industry, but its main claim to fame is that the novelist E M Forster lived there for over 40 years.

Getting there: Abinger Hammer is 8km west of Dorking on the A25.



Boxhill

This North Downs summit is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and "a supreme example of themagnificent countryside Britain has on offer," says Mark Price. Boxhill is so popular that you're unlikely to have it to yourself but, with 490 hectares to explore, you'll find a scenic spot to lay your rug.

Getting there: TheNational Trust provides free public access to Boxhill, which is just north of Dorking in Surrey (01306 885502; www.nationaltrust. org.uk)



Devil's Dyke

"I often take my family for a picnic to the top of the Dyke, outside Brighton," says Laurence. "It offers outstanding views over the South Downs, the westernweald and the English Channel."

Getting there: The bestway is by no 77 bus from Brighton Pier. An opentopped service runs at hourly intervals throughout the summer and takes 30 minutes.

For more general information on the Dyke, which has open access, contact the National Trust (01273 857712; www.nationaltrust.org.uk)



Crook O' Lune

"This is a popular site with good views of the River Lune and the Lune Valley, which were once painted by JMW Turner," advises Laurence. Named after a horseshoe bend in the river, it is set to the north of Lancaster's Millennium Way - which at this point traverses a former rail line and viaduct - and boasts benches, a locally renowned snack bar and car parking.

Getting there: Crook O' Lune picnic site is one the northern bank of the river, just outside Caton.

For more general information on the Lune Valley visit www.citycoastcountryside. co.uk



Upper Derwent Valley

This site was named Midlands regional winner in the Picnic Awards 2008, according to Laurence. "The prize is well deserved as the outstanding beauty of the area acts as a magnet for walkers, cyclists, fell-runners and those who just come to relax and enjoy the countryside," he says. "Ample, designated picnic areas are surrounded by magnificent countryside, where water and woodland are topped by high moors."

Getting there: Upper Derwent Valley is part of the Peak District National Park, around 15m west of Sheffield (01629 816200; www.peakdistrict.org)



Loch an Eilein

Loch an Eilein on the Rothiemurchus Estate is a scenic loch with a ruined castle set, picturesquely, on an island in its centre. Visitors can picnic anywhere along the three-mile path that rings the loch, though many choose the shoreline just down from the visitor centre. There are chargeable family events running each summer.

Getting there: TheRothiemurchus Estate is just outside Aviemore (01479 812345; www.rothiemurchus. net).

Currently open daily from 9.30am to 5.30pm, entrance is free.





The Royal Forest Route

"Download a guide to the route from the website, pack a hamper of goodies and set out in search of one of the many well-marked picnic spots on this 20- mile circuit of the Forest of Dean," suggests Laurence. "Beechenhurst Lodge Visitor Centre, for example, gives you the chance to walk off your lunch with a stroll around its wonderful Sculpture Trail, while at Mallards Pike there's a lake, picnic area and wonderful views."

Getting there: The Royal Forest Route starts at the Dean Heritage Centre, outside Upper Soudley in Gloucestershire (01594 812388; www.royalforest. info).

For more general information see: www.visitforestofdean.co.uk

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Guru Careers: Dining Room Head Chef

    £32K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Dining Room Head Chef to work for one of ...

    Guru Careers: Pastry Sous Chef / Experienced Pastry Chef

    £27K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Pastry Sous Chef / Experienced Pastry Che...

    Ashdown Group: Technical IT Manager - North London - Growing business

    £40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A growing business that has been ope...

    Recruitment Genius: Technical Supervisor

    £24800 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As one of London's leading Muse...

    Day In a Page

    General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
    General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

    On the margins

    From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
    Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

    'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

    Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
    Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

    Why patients must rely less on doctors

    Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
    Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

    Flesh in Venice

    Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
    11 best anti-ageing day creams

    11 best anti-ageing day creams

    Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
    Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

    Juventus vs Real Madrid

    Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
    Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

    Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

    Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power