The best thing about Norwich is its green spaces. You’re never far away from a lovely park or a bit of wild heathland. I’m especially appreciative as summer starts to roll around – a quick walk around a sun-filled park is a sure-fire way to lift my mood.
With this in mind, here is a rundown of some of my favourite verdant areas around Norwich.
1. Mousehold Heath
Yes, I know I have banged on about this place before, but I really can’t get enough of it. Every time I go there is something new to see, or the weather lends it a new atmosphere. One summer we watched as a rain-swollen pond became alive with hundreds of tadpoles. Over the next few weeks we watched, fascinated, as they slowly sprouted legs and became frogs. In winter, we once trekked through the snow and marvelled at the silence of the woods, broken only by the sound of snow sliding off a tree branch. I really think that the heath is one of my favourite places to go at the moment.
2. Eaton Park
I don’t go here very often, but I am always pleasantly surprised when I do. I seem to forget how big it is, and how quaint its features are. On the weekend, if you’re lucky, you will see the train enthusiasts running their model trains along the track that winds partially around the park, and you may even spot a few people hitching a ride. If you time your visit very well, you could also catch a music performance held in the bandstand. I went last summer and got sunburnt listening to a local jazz band. There is plenty of room to roam in this park, and there is always an icecream van parked up in summer. If you have model boats, there is even a large boating pond to test out your sailing skills.
3. Wensum Park
This park is SO NEAR my house, and yet I have rarely ventured into it. A mistake on my part because it is truly lovely. This is a well-kept park with beautiful flower beds in the summer months. There is also a pretty pavilion and a maze cut into the grass. It’s a fabulous place to have a picnic and laze around by the side of the river. Ah, to be there now with the sun on my face…
4. Earlham Park
If you wanted a more rugged park with a bit of woodland, then Earlham Park is the place for you. There aren’t really any paths running around it, so you have to choose sturdy boots when it is muddy, but it is great to run or walk around. The park is made up of the grounds belonging to Earlham Hall, so near the house is a ‘viewing platform’ for admiring the landscaped gardens. There is also an old dove house situated near the road that used to display the wealth of the family to passers-by.
If you visit this park, I especially recommend having a little wander through the woods. There are some clear paths through it, and you can cut through the trees to come out into the university playing fields. I used to run through here all the time and it was my favourite part.
5. Waterloo Park
This is another park that I need to visit more often. Waterloo Park is a great place to go for a stroll along its manicured paths, and it now also has a ‘splash pad’ for a bit of water action. Fun for adults and children alike! This park also has a fantastic bandstand, along with a stylish pavilion. There are also some tennis courts that you can rent out when you are gripped with Wimbledon fever.