If you’re a student in Lancaster, chances are you might be wondering what to do with all your free time. With shops, restaurants and bars still currently closed due to lockdown, a walk is one of the few outdoor activities still available. Going for a walk is a great way to get some fresh air, keep fit and maintain your mental health during lockdown.
If you’re not familiar with Lancaster yet, here are some places in and around the city where you can go for a stroll by yourself or with your housemates.
The canal links Preston to Kendal and is one of the country’s few coastal canals. It is naturally level which greatly lends itself to a gentle walk or a cycle along its paths. It is within easy distance of the city centre and provides many miles of walking opportunity. You can start from Penny Street in the heart of the city and follow the path down.
Lancaster canal can provide you with amazing views of the Silverdale Coast, Forest of Bowland and Wyre countryside, as well as all the charming canal boats that line the calm water. You can also reach the incredible Lune Aqueduct, an impressive structure that you can walk across. The best thing about a canal walk is that it’s virtually impossible to get lost, as you simply turn around and head back along the canal to get back to your starting point.
Fairfield Nature Reserve
The Fairfield Nature Reserve is a 16-acre nature reserve that features various habitats, including water features, ponds, hedgerows, grazing pastures and wetland. A rare and endangered breed of cattle can be found on the reed beds and grassland. The reserve is a sanctuary for wetland birds, and you can see hares, small birds, meadow flowers and enjoy the views of Lancaster castle.
The reserve is fully accessible by a public footpath near Sunnyside Lane to Cromwell Road and the Lancaster Canal.
For those who don’t mind a bit of a morbid walk, Lancaster is home to an 18-acre cemetery that can be found just outside Williamsons Park. Opened in 1855, it is surrounded by green space, and its high vantage point offers dramatic views of Morecambe Bay and the Lake District.
The cemetery is home to three chapel buildings, cemetery lodges and a Crimean war memorial, which was built in 1860 to commemorate the casualties of war. Significant graves include the memorial to Lord Ashton, a prominent figure in the 1800s and Edward Graham Paley, a local architect who designed many of the notable buildings in the Lancaster District.
There is some wildlife growing including a range of trees and wildflowers.
Home to the iconic Ashton Memorial that you have no doubt seen during your excursions into the city, Williamson Park features 54 acres of park and woodland to explore with incredible views of Morecambe Bay and the Lake District fells.
While the café and butterfly house will currently be closed, the park is still a fantastic place to take a gentle walk or a jog. The park is extensively wooded but has many pathways that wind among the trees, offering various sights and sounds including beautiful plant life and squirrels. The park can be found close to Cumbria University.
Greaves Park Woodland
Greaves Park can be found off Bowerham Road, which is beside the University of Cumbria and one of the stops of the Lancaster University buses. The park features an extensive lawn area for outdoor games and has winding paths through the grass and woodland with views of the castle and Morecambe Bay.
The grounds and gardens of the park once belonged to two Victorian houses from the 1840s, one of which is now a pub and restaurant. There are several areas of woodland and enclosed community gardens full of flowers and fruit trees. For a gentle, short walk, Greaves Park Woodland is a perfect choice.
Walks Around Lancaster University Campus
Whether cycling or walking, there is a fantastic cycling path from the Lancaster University campus to the city centre. It is a traffic-free route from Whinfell Drive in Hala to Bailrigg Lane where alternative paths lead to different parts of the campus.
A 150-year-old woodland surrounds the campus and is home to the 2.6-mile trim trail. You can complete the route in around 1.5 hours at a moderate pace, but there are plenty of places to leave the walk and head back onto campus if you don’t want to do the full route. The woodlands provide important habitats for plants and animal species, and you can see a variety of beautiful fauna and flora on your walk.
We hope this blog inspires you to get walking around the local area. This past year has been tough for everyone, but it’s important to keep active and get out as much as possible where it’s safe to do so. If you’re going to be in Lancaster next academic year and need student accommodation in Lancaster, please feel free to browse our listings on our website or contact us for more information.