IT’S GOOD to go for a winter walk and to breathe fresh crisp air when it’s chilly outside, writes Royer Slater.

A stroll may be just the thing to perk you up if you’ve stayed indoors during the festive period, especially if you have excess calories to burn off after over-indulging.

Many will not have been able to celebrate Christmas as they wished, so a walk can be a real tonic to help dispel the blues.

Over nearly eight years of writing my weekly articles for the News & Mail, ideas for winter walks have been a constant theme at this time of year. One of the great things about our area is its many green spaces, so you don’t need to go far to find a route for a pleasant stroll.

We are blessed with beautiful countryside around us – open heaths, beautiful woodlands, parkland and the vistas of the nearby Surrey Hills.

As I write, the Tier 4 rules stress we should “stay at home”, but they add that we can exercise outdoors or visit public open places “such as parks, the countryside accessible to the public, public gardens or outdoor sports facilities”.

We can meet with others outdoors in a public place with our household, support bubble, or with one other person if we maintain social distancing. But it can be difficult to distance yourself from that person and from other walkers in our parks, where paths are narrow and there are many other walkers.

If you can, go for a walk on the wild side in one of the area’s many woodlands, heathlands and commons. Surrey Wildlife Trust manages 70 nature reserves where you can enjoy fresh air, burn off a few calories and enjoy nature – our county has some stunning countryside and a fantastic diversity of wildlife.

Chobham Common – a national nature reserve and part of a wildlife special protection area – has several wide bridleways and other tracks across magnificent heathland where social distancing should not be a problem.

Roundabout Car Park, on the northern section, is popular with dog walkers and the paths leading off it are inevitably busy. Quieter routes can be found if you park in Staple Hill or Jubilee Mount car parks, which are both in Staple Hill Road.

The trust’s website will give you ideas where to go to exercise your limbs with members of your “bubble” while seeing glorious scenery and fascinating wildlife.

It has added a selection of self-guided walks on trust reserves taken from the AllTrails website. See “Stay wild this winter” on the home page of You can find information on each of the trust’s nature reserves under the Explore tab on the website.