One of our favourite walks of the first lockdown was the Stour Valley Way.
We still have much to explore along this designated footpath as it follows the entire 64 mile course of this magnificent river that runs from Stourhead Park in Somerset to Christchurch Harbour in Dorset.
With lockdown 3.0 in full swing and restrictions advising people to stay local, we have decided to explore different areas of the walk.
One of our favourite spots to start the walk is Kingfisher Barn, where they organise events and trails for the kids in normal times, but we always turn left towards Cherry Tree Nursery. This week we decided to turn right, towards Throop.
This time of year is one of the best to spot the wildlife on the river banks as the vegetation is sparse and after trying (and failing) to spot a Kingfisher throughout 2020, we finally found not one, but two.
We also spotted an Otter family eating on the river bank, but sadly the light was going and I didn’t manage to get a picture.
Walking the Stour Valley Way in winter is a muddy affair and it is worth keeping an eye on tide times as well as the weather, as the river is prone to bursting its banks – it does make it good for paddling though.
The walk to Throop takes you past fields full of cows and sheep before reaching the picturesque village.
At the other side of the village is Throop Mill, a traditional water mill which is fed by a mill stream tapped off the main River Stour.
This beautiful and peaceful setting also has a weir and the thatched Throop Mill cottage.
The walk from Kingfisher Barn to Throop Mill is a flat walk of 3.6 miles and took has around an hour and a half.
My top tips for walking in winter are to wrap up warm, don your wellies or waterproof walking boots and enjoy the fresh air as you spot the wildlife.
Where are you walking during lockdown?