#NationalPicnicWeek: My Favourite Picnicing Spots!

Do you have a favourite picnic place? Maybe it’s somewhere you discovered recently, or is full of memories of childhood holidays. The brilliance of picnics is you can have one anywhere!
Here are a few personal favourites…

 

Back in time
Heathlands offer a portal back to a time when we relied on the resources of the land. Gorse would have been cut for fuel, regular burnings would keep the land clear and regenerate grazing, and turf cutting created new seedbeds for heather to colonise. Further back, the land was slowly cleared of tree cover, and higher points became focal points that commanded views across wider territory. Bronze and Iron Age barrows dot the landscape. Beneath your feet chunks of ironstone reveal how the geology here was long a source of ore, essential to the industrialisation of the country.

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This is Iping Common, West Sussex, looking towards the South Downs

(Sorry to nag but… In summer, heathlands can become tinder-dry and at high rise of wildfires. Please resist the temptation to light fires or BBQ’s, and be careful to take home any litter especially glass.)

 

Genteel splendour

Don your best hat, pack the bottle of bubbly, and indulge in acting the lord and lady of the manor for the afternoon! We all love a good nose around a stately home or a stroll in gentle parkland. Why not combine the Great British tradition of afternoon tea with the adventure of a picnic; scones, sandwiches and dainty cakes all make great picnic food. You could take a sketchpad and recreate the picturesque landscape, or relax with a romance novel and escape into the world of scandal and propriety.

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National Trust’s Petworth House & Park provides the backdrop for this stylish picnic

If you go down to the woods today

Of course, picnics aren’t just for teddy bears…but sometimes they can come along too! Take your favourite furry friend for an adventure in the woods and let your imagination run wild – climb into the branches, or build a secret den. You could try finding the oldest tree in the wood – it’ll be the one that is the biggest to hug!

Little Ted is exploring the woods of Hesworth Common near Fittleworth, West Sussex

 

Tales of the riverbank
Ratty and Mole knew the pleasure of a good picnic beside the river in the classic story Wind In The Willows. On a hot summers day, the shade of riverside trees is the ideal place to seek peace and quiet. You might see dragonflies, modern versions of prehistoric monsters that patrolled the ancient wetlands, or if you are lucky, the electric blue flash of a kingfisher as it flies upstream.

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This photo was taken at Amberley, West Sussex

(Sorry to nag but… please be very careful around rivers and lakes. Although the water may look tempting on a hot day, it is not possible to know what dangers lay under the surface, and the current is always stronger then you think. Water can be dangerous so keep children and pets under careful supervision.)

 

Beside the seaside

The classic nostalgic image of childhood summer holidays is damp towels, sand in the sandwiches and too much ice-cream. But seaside picnics can be so much more. Beach combing for shells in the sand, delving into rock-pools, or spotting dolphins from cliff tops… the exploration of the coast offers so much to the visitor whether local regular or holiday-maker. Combine the trip with sustainably caught local fish or seafood, tangy fresh flavours of a Mediterranean salad, or simply the much-loved Cornish pasty, and you have a picnic to remember.

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Beach huts, shingle, sand and waves, this is Goring beach, near Worthing, West Sussex

(Sorry to nag but… always check the tide times before you go, and never approach the cliff edge. Obey all safety signs on cliff top paths and flags on beaches, and swim only where you know it is safe to do so. The sea can be dangerous so please treat with respect.)

 

Lunch with a view

Pick a hill, work up an appetite climbing to the top, and then enjoy your well-earned picnic whilst soaking in the view. Take a map, and a pair of binoculars if you have them, and you’ll be amazed how many familiar places you can spot from an entirely new perspective.

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One of the best views in West Sussex, from The Trundle, near Goodwood, north of Chichester. 

 

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