FLORA AND FAUNA

The Daily Telegraph - Saturday - - COVER STORY -

NEW FOR­EST WALK­ING FES­TI­VAL, HAMP­SHIRE

En­cour­ag­ing younger ones to walk for the sheer plea­sure of it is eas­ier when there is some­thing to find. A guide makes it eas­ier still, which is where a fes­ti­val like this comes in handy: no nav­i­ga­tional ef­fort is re­quired, just en­thu­si­asm and sen­si­ble footwear. The New For­est is new in name only: what was once a royal hunt­ing ground is now a ram­blers’ par­adise, dot­ted lib­er­ally with wild ponies, Sec­ond World War re­mains and more se­crets be­sides. The walks are free but need to be booked in ad­vance: there are 70 to choose from, with vary­ing de­grees of stren­u­ous­ness.

BURGH­LEY HOUSE, STAM­FORD, LIN­COLNSHIRE

A great herd of deer bring the glo­ri­ous park­land to life at Burgh­ley, whose gar­dens were primped and pruned over a quar­ter of a cen­tury by Lancelot “Ca­pa­bil­ity” Brown. He once said his work at the great El­iz­a­bethan es­tate gave him “25 years of plea­sure.” Long may it thrive for con­tem­po­rary vis­i­tors. The park­land is free to visit (so too, is park­ing, al­though fam­ily en­try to the house costs from £46). A 20-minute walk will lead you to pic­turesque Stam­ford, which ri­vals even Bath for its grace­ful Ge­or­gian ar­chi­tec­ture and fine use of stone.

DOL­PHIN SPOT­TING, CARDI­GAN BAY, WALES

You can’t rely on na­ture to per­form on cue, but you would be un­lucky not to spot dol­phins in Cardi­gan Bay, right up un­til Novem­ber. New Quay is home to the Cardi­gan Bay Ma­rine Wildlife Cen­tre, where the vol­un­teer staff can show you how to spot lo­cal sea life, in­clud­ing At­lantic grey seals, dol­phins and other por­poises. The cen­tre is free to visit but does rely on do­na­tions; oth­er­wise you could book a boat trip into the bay from £22.50 per per­son.

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