Summer has officially arrived! Nothing puts me in a better mood than seeing a clear blue sky and feeling the warm sun on my skin – bring on those freckles and sun kissed cheeks! As soon as I heard we would have our first summer weekend I instantly knew I wanted to make the most of the sunshine. Working in the hospitality industry means my shifts / days off are a little mixed and sometimes I have split days off. Typically that was the case this weekend. Saturday needed to be cherished as it was my only day off and I wanted nothing more than to spend time in the sun with Kieron. He soon gave me the task of providing us with an “interesting” day out and I quickly set my sights on Google…
Kieron and I found our way to each other’s hearts last summer by spending endless hours surrounded by beautiful countryside, lakes and animals. We have always enjoyed spending quality time together and this is something we are aiming to do again this summer to ensure we make more wonderful memories. With this in mind and with the start of a new summer, I wanted to kick the season off in style and visit somewhere neither of us had ever been before. Due to an outing on Saturday evening, I didn’t have a full day to spend with him, therefore I needed somewhere not too far from home that wasn’t too big. I quickly found Hartsholme Country Park, just 3 miles from Lincoln.
Saturday was a perfect day, and for once I’m not exaggerating! My day started with a trip to the hairdressers which always leaves me feeling great. As I chatted away to the various ladies looking after my hair, I realised just how content and relaxed I feel in my own skin. I headed over to Kieron’s to pick him up along with our picnic and we headed over to Hartsholme Country Park for the afternoon. We had no idea what we would find, however we certainly weren’t disappointed! It always feels great to drive towards Lincoln as I spent three years driving backwards and forwards on the weekends whilst studying for my degree there. A part of me always feels like I’m going home when I travel in that direction. Having said that, the second I begin driving on roads I’m unfamiliar with, a small part of me begins to panic and sometimes this takes over! I never let this stop me from travelling wherever I want to go, but it can sometimes cloud a good day. Of course on Saturday, I didn’t need to worry as Kieron is a fantastic passenger and human satnav. We arrived with no problems and filled the last space in the car park – it was meant to be.
We had a mandatory comfort break before heading towards the nearest map to establish the size of the park and the best route to try and see everything. Hartsholme is a nature reserve and therefore hasn’t been commercialised. We often visit established houses or castles, however it was lovely to walk around the countryside and take in the natural scenery. We saw a variety of birds and I’d only been there a matter of minutes before I wished I had brought some food for them! We were also lucky enough to hear a woodpecker although we didn’t spot him. Swans are without a doubt my favourite bird as they partner for life so I was very pleased to see some.
We set off on our mini adventure around the park. It soon became clear that it wasn’t quite as big as we had first thought; we found ourselves a quarter of the way around in no time! We quickly decided we didn’t need to stick to our route and found ourselves wandering along little paths and exploring the hidden treasures of a beautiful park. We even stopped to have a romantic cuddle and take in the views.
Kieron and I have a gift – we can talk for hours and never get bored or run out of things to say. This is quite useful on days like Saturday when we spend hours in each other’s company hand-in-hand. It’s always relaxing and eye-opening to spend a day strolling around a stunningly beautiful environment. It reminds me of what’s important and the necessity of taking time out from a busy life to re-charge ready for another week. This part of the walk was very private and quiet which we loved as we enjoyed a hearty chat the whole way round. Anyone we bumped into en-route was extremely pleasant and said hello, although we noticed this was always done in the typically British fashion of waiting until you have virtually walked past the person before speaking to them! I was delighted at one point on our walk when it turned out I was the better navigator around the many paths. Maybe I could be a human satnav too…
Kieron ensured we wouldn’t go hungry and prepared a lovely picnic. We made our way around three quarters of the park before having a break to enjoy our favourite tuna sandwiches, cake, and more. We always aim to have a relatively healthy meal, but in reality we really do love cake! Sitting in the sunshine by the water for lunch seemed like a good idea until we realised we had sat on some tar… I really hope our trousers come clean.
We enjoyed the walk around the last quarter of the park after a few photos by the bridge, however as we were closest to the amenities at this end it was much busier. Kieron and I always value a bit of quiet time so decided to head off home while the sun was still shining.
About Hartsholme Country Park:
Hartsholme Country Park is made up of several lakes and various paths, along with a sports field and meadow. Swanholme Lakes Local Nature Reserve also connects to Hartsholme and has it’s own entrance… something I hadn’t realised until I got there! The parks are just 3 miles from Lincoln itself and are just a couple of minutes from the A46. The site aims to preserve local plants and wildlife whilst providing a fun day out for all. The walk is flat and suitable for all with a cafe, toilets, and visitor centre found at the main entrance.
Top Tips for Hartsholme Country Park:
1. Take a picnic if you’re spending the day there! The cafe is at one side of an oval-shaped walk around the lakes, therefore it’s better to have the freedom to eat whenever you want to rather than having to walk all the way back to one end.
2. Arrive early for the best car parking. As previously mentioned, we filled the last spot in the car park when we arrived at around 11:15am. There is a second car park across the road for overspill though if you arrive to find no spaces are left.
3. Everyday shoes are perfectly suitable to wear around the pathways at this time of year. There was the odd muddy spot but we made our way around with no problems. I would recommend a pair of shoes that are suitable to get muddy or wellies for little ones in the winter though!
4. Dogs are welcome at the park and there are various routes to enjoy with them.
5. Free entry for the parks and car parking means more money for cake!
Would I visit again?
Yes! Kieron and I had a lovely afternoon and it was the perfect place to spend a couple of hours and enjoy a romantic stroll.
If you’ve visited either of the above parks it would be great to hear about your day there! Alternatively, I’m always looking for new places to visit so perhaps you know of some other hidden treasures in the area?
Until next time,