A lot of students will, undoubtedly, spend most of their university life on campus, barely ever venturing into the less student populated parts of Nottingham and the surrounding area.
But it doesn’t have to be like that!
When applying to university, I was aware that students often don’t get out to explore the area they have moved to, that they live in a student bubble, but I wanted to be different. I wanted to explore the city and the county that I was going to be living in, finding out about the heritage, the countryside, the towns and villages and getting involved in the opportunities available.
Now, it is all very well having plans but transport and money are, I have discovered, major issues when trying to go out and explore the area.
So, if you’re like me and want to get out and about, here are some fun, and manageable, ideas for experiencing the natural world in and around Nottingham.
Attenborough Nature Reserve
This lovely nature reserve at the edge of Beeston has beautiful lakes and lots of wildlife. There are a variety of birds, flowers and trees which you can experience by walking one of three routes around the reserve. It is a great way to spend a morning or, if you have the time, a whole day. The visitors centre has its own café. And even better, there is a small retail outlet at the top of the road so you can have a small shop after a relaxing walk.
This is a relatively small but peaceful part of Nottingham city centre. There is a pond with ducks, an aviary and some gorgeous gardens. It’s a great place to escape from the busyness of life. Each season brings something different to the Arboretum so return visits are a must. Situated by Nottingham Trent, it is very easy to find.
Lying at the bottom of University Park Campus, it is often forgotten about but it is a nice place for a walk and offers a stunning view of the Trent Building. The tree-lined paths, the lake and, of course, the stepping-stones, make it a great place for taking a reading break. And if you feel adventurous you can go to the Lakeside café or the gallery where there are often some interesting exhibitions.
Forest Recreation Ground
This is also a lovely place for a walk. Maybe it is best known for the Goose Fair in October and having lots of weed smokers around but in the day time it is much nicer. There is an interesting statue commemorating the Boer War, a small café and a lot of open space. The greenery offers an escape from streets lined with terrace housing; when the sun shines it has the potential to be a perfect picnic spot.
Wollaton Hall, Gardens and Deer Park
The picturesque hall is an iconic feature in the landscape of Wollaton and is definitely worth visiting. The gardens are pretty too with a variety of flowers and shrubs which can brighten up your day. For a more wild walk, the deer park is lovely. Being able to see the lake, the deer and experience the tranquility of nature gives a sense of peace and restores hope in the world. The closeness of Wollaton Park to the University of Nottingham is a big advantage and means students should not be able to get away without a visit at some point during their degree.
Colwick Country Park
I haven’t actually visited Colwick yet but I have seen it on the map, to the south-east of Nottingham city centre, and it looks as if it would be an enjoyable and relaxing place to visit. A mixture of water and grass land, I assume Colwick offers a great escape from urban life.
The Peak District
For those who want to get away from Nottingham completely, RamSoc offer a weekly walk in the Peak District with monthly weekends away to places further afield such as the Lake District or the Yorkshire Dales. This is an awesome way to experience nature and go to some different places, to see some different scenery and make new friends.
For more information: https://www.su.nottingham.ac.uk/sports/sport/ramsoc/
Now, I know this is a limited range but they are fairly easy to get with little expense necessary. And there is always Google to find out about more places to visit!