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
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
TV
Life and Style
Apple showed no sign of losing its talent for product launches with the new, slightly larger iPhone 6 making headlines
techSecurity breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Oliver
filmTV chef Jamie Oliver turned down role in The Hobbit
News
The official police photograph of Dustin Diamond taken after he was arrested in Wisconsin
peopleDownfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
tvReview: Top Gear team flee Patagonia as Christmas special reaches its climax in the style of Butch and Sundance
News
people
Sport
Ashley Barnes of Burnley scores their second goal
footballMan City vs Burnley match report
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca alongside Harrison Ford's Han Solo in 'Star Wars'
film
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Man of action: Christian Bale stars in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Arts and Entertainment
Tracy Emin's 1998 piece 'My Bed' on display at Christie's
artOne expert claims she did not
News
Ernesto Che Guevara and Fidel Castro, right, met at Havana Golf Club in 1962 to mock the game
newsFidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
News
Hackers revealed Oscar-winning actress Lawrence was paid less than her male co-stars in American Hustle
people
Arts and Entertainment
Clueless? Locked-door mysteries are the ultimate manifestation of the cerebral detective story
booksAs a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Sport
Robin van Persie is blocked by Hugo Lloris
footballTottenham vs Manchester United match report
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
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

    Recruitment Genius: Accounts Administrator

    £16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Personal Trainer / PT - OTE £30,000 Uncapped

    £25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness cha...

    Investigo: Finance Analyst

    £240 - £275 per day: Investigo: Support the global business through in-depth a...

    Ashdown Group: Data Manager - £Market Rate

    Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Data Manager - MySQL, Shell Scripts, Java, VB Scrip...

    Day In a Page

    A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

    A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

    Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
    Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

    Scarred by the bell

    The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
    Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

    Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

    Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
    Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

    Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

    Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
    The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

    The Locked Room Mysteries

    As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
    Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

    How I made myself Keane

    Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
    Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

    Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

    Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
    A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

    Wear in review

    A look back at fashion in 2014
    Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

    Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

    Might just one of them happen?
    War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

    The West needs more than a White Knight

    Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
    Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

    'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

    Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
    Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

    Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

    Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
    The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

    The stories that defined 2014

    From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
    Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

    Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

    Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?