A Christmas tradition for many people throughout the region is a crisp winter hike in the days after the festive season.
A little exercise, including walks, can help alleviate the extra Christmas pampering – chocolate, chips and endless turkey.
And there are amazing parks, landscapes and forests in and around the black country that it would be a shame to be locked inside all day long.
Read more: Here are the best places to have breakfast in the black country
And what’s better when you can take a warming hot chocolate or coffee to walk around with, or warm your insides afterwards.
We have put together a guide to some of the most amazing walks in and around the Black Country, or within a short drive, where you can also get a hot drink on the stroll.
Baggeridge Country Park
Located close to Sedgley, on the border of the Black Country and South Staffordshire – Baggeridge Country Park is an award winning beauty venue.
For 23 years, the area has been awarded the Green Flag Prize as one of the country’s best parks.
It is a beautiful area in the countryside right on the doorstep of the Black Country, with a great range of facilities – including a tea room.
It is ideal for walkers, dog walkers, families with young children, bird watchers and nature enthusiasts.
Baggeridge Country Park, Gospel End, Sedgley, DY3 4HB
Sandwell Valley Country Park
There are 660 acres of forest and farmland to explore in Sandwell Valley Country Park.
There is also a large playground, three golf courses, paved hiking trails, a Millennium Cycle Route and two off-road bike paths, which are specially designed for mountain bikes.
There are also a number of places across the site where you can pick up refreshments. Some are only open on a seasonal basis.
Keep an eye out for vultures, gray herons, kingfishers, larks and goldfinches around the RSPB nature reserve, which is also on site.
Sandwell Valley Country Park, Salter’s Lane, West Bromwich B71 4BG
This area of unique natural beauty offers something for every age and ability.
With a children’s play area, Go Ape, orienteering trails and even a dog activity trail, you will not be stuck for anything to do in the Cannock Chase Forest.
There are a variety of forest walks to suit all ages and abilities, and for those wishing to explore the forest on two wheels, there are also cycle paths for some of the best family and mountain biking opportunities in the Midlands.
And for those who need to turn off their first or get some food, there is a perfectly located cafe.
Cannock Chase Forest, Birches Valley, Rugeley, WS15 2UQ
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If you live in the Halesowen area, it’s worth taking up to the Clent Hills.
You can look straight out to the Welsh borders and take in the Cotswolds and Shropshire Hills on the way from the top of these hills.
There is ample parking (National Trust fees apply), a cafe and natural playground as well, and the walk to the top of the hills is quite accessible.
Clent Hills, Hagley Wood Lane, near Romsley DY9 9JR
Walsall Arboretum is a rural oasis in the heart of the city center.
It first opened all the way back in 1874 and it now stretches over 170 acres and includes Lake Hatherton, the land park and the extension.
The park includes gardens, green areas, play areas and sports facilities – and it has over 10,000 different species of trees and shrubs.
Facilities include a café, children’s playground, multi-purpose play area, skate park and visitor center.
There are also plenty of sports courts and equipment – including bowling alleys, football pitches and tennis courts.
Walsall Arboretum, Lichfield Street, Walsall, WS4 2BU
Kinver is a beautiful village just a five minute drive from Stourbridge which is famous for its high sandstone ridge and hill fort overlooking dramatic red sandstone cliff houses.
You can easily park and then climb to the top of Kinver Edge to enjoy the views that stretch all the way across the Midlands and beyond.
There are also incredible rock houses to explore here. This part of Kinver Edge is operated by the National Trust, so be sure to check out the opening details if you would like to visit.
The Rock Houses also has a tea room – serving hot and cold drinks, pastries, pastries and light breakfast snacks.
Rock Houses, Compton Road, Kinver, near Stourbridge, Staffordshire, DY7 6DL
Families can follow the Gruffalo Spotters Trail at Wyre Forest, spot the signs and see what creatures you can find.
With the new Gruffalo Spotter 2 app and trail, visitors can interact with their favorite characters while hunting for Gruffalo in the dark forest.
The path starts near the play area through the black archway. Complete fun activities along the way and learn about each animal from the book as you follow the new interactive track.
But with a variety of hiking, biking, running and horse riding trails available, there are plenty of ways to explore the forest.
And after a long walk or Gruffalo spotting – you can refuel at the cafe, which also offers takeaways.
Wyre Forest, Callow Hill, Kidderminster, DY14 9XQ
Smestow Valley Local Nature Reserve
For those who want to disappear for a peaceful and quiet walk, the Smestow Valley Local Nature Reserve near Wolverhampton is a great place.
You can also enjoy bike rides along the former railway line, see the narrow boats on the Staffs and Worcs canal or discover more than 55 bird species.
And there is an Edwardian train station café serving tea and cakes.
Just off the A41 near Tettenhall you will find a good car park near the station café. Turn left along the trail and you can walk or bike up to Aldersley Leisure Village. Turn right and you will follow the canal towards the National Trusts beautiful Wightwick Manor.
Along the four-kilometer-long corridor, which covers 48 hectares, you will find picnic areas, meadows, forests and the Smestow basin, which stretches along the reserve and is part of the catchment area of the rivers Stour and Severn.
Smestow Valley Local Nature Reserve, Meadow View Terrace, Wolverhampton, WV6 8NX
Read more: Free things to do with the family in and around the black country
Read more: 10 wonderful winter walks near Birmingham to blow the cobwebs away
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