Take your elderly loved ones or friends for some gentle exercise in one of the many beauty spots around Basingstoke
Exercise is important at any age, and particularly as you get older. You might start to get aches and pains, have less energy and feel vulnerable to falls, but keeping up your exercise levels by walking will help to counteract all that. Regular exercise will help to keep you mobile and independent, and has numerous other knock-on benefits such as boosting your metabolism, improving your immune function, reducing your blood pressure and helping with your mental health too!
By taking your elderly loved one or friend for a walk in one of Basingstoke’s many lovely parks or gardens, you can offer them the opportunity to gain important exercise in an interesting and stimulating environment – whilst at the same time providing all important social interaction and companionship, of course. Here are some places to try.
Despite its proximity to the M3 and ring road, Black Dam Ponds (Basingstoke RG21 3QX) is surprisingly peaceful. It has been declared as a nature reserve and provides a haven for wildlife, particularly tufted ducks, coots, kingfishers and other waterfowl. The site offers picnic facilities and links via an underpass to Crabtree Plantation.
Park at the car park off Black Dam Way. The walk is generally level with some gentle slopes, and has seats at various points along the way. Relax, unwind, and enjoy the scenic beauty and wildlife.
One of Basingstoke’s premier destinations for recreation and relaxation, you will find plenty to see and do at Eastrop Park. The Park boasts a boating lake, tree trail, trim trail, children’s play area & paddling pool, with a smaller pond for radio controlled model boats. The Model Boat Club meet here on Sunday mornings and Wednesday mornings & afternoons, and the boats provide relaxing entertainment for anyone to watch.
If watching model boats isn’t your thing, instead watch wildlife from the dipping platform on the balancing pond, which is fed by the River Loddon running through the park to create a wildlife area inhabited by a diverse range of birds including kingfishers. You will appreciate why Eastrop Park was awarded the Green Flag award for the 22nd year running in 2021/22.
The area has a fascinating history, dating from the manor house and chapel built here prior to the Domesday Survey to the current recreational setting opened in 1972.
To make the best of the wide diversity of trees, you might like to download this informative tree trail leaflet.
Eastrop Park is off Eastrop Way, Basingstoke RG21 4QE
Just the other side of the town centre is Glebe Gardens, which back in the 1700s formed part of the grounds of the Georgian rectory for St Michael’s Church, Chute House. The rich history of the gardens included the hosting of the annual pageant, which became the main summer event in the early 1900s. Other later pageants in nearby parts of Basingstoke included the air show in 1933 and the Pageant of Basingstoke History, staged as part of the Festival of Britain in 1951.
The River Loddon used to power and supply various industries in the area including a silk mill and a brewery, but is now just a stream winding lazily through the gardens. When the town centre was constructed it was diverted underground, to re-emerge on the other side of the town in Eastrop Park.
The gardens provide a peaceful place to escape from the town centre for a relaxing walk, amongst the many mature trees and winding river. In spring the Garden is enhanced by the snowdrops, crocuses and daffodils which grow in abundance around the trees.
Glebe Gardens can be found off Church Street, Basingstoke RG21 7QT.
War Memorial Park is a historic park just south of Basingstoke town centre. It was originally laid out in the late 1700s as private parkland, and subsequently bought by the town in 1921 to be re-landscaped as a memorial to those who died in the First World War. It was refurbished in 2001 using Lottery heritage funds, and gained the Green Flag Award in 2021.
The Park is a mixture of mature trees and gardens, with accessible wheelchair-friendly footpaths. It also has a bandstand, a children’s play area, a large BMX/skate park, sports pitches and tennis courts.
A walking guide can be downloaded here.
The Vyne, situated on Vyne Road on the way from Sherborne St John to Bramley, is a National Trust Property open to the public. It is a Grade 1 listed Tudor mansion, steeped in history, looking out across a lake and set in 13 acres of beautiful gardens together with ancient woodland, a medieval fishpond, wetlands and rolling parkland. The wetlands accommodate an abundance of birdlife, whilst the parkland is grazed by cattle. The River Loddon flows through the gardens.
Although non-members of the National Trust would have to pay to visit the house, you can walk for free in Morgaston Woods, which adjoins this property, using a small car park off Morgaston Road. The Woods has a network of reasonable, but not always level, paths.
The beautifully maintained Vyne gardens are, however, more accessible for anyone with mobility concerns. We walked along good footpaths lined with magnificent trees and over the bridge. After a look inside the walled garden, we went to admire the summerhouse and stone gallery gardens, then enjoyed the lawn between the mansion and the riverside. Further walking is available along the river, and you can look out across the wetlands from a bird hide.
After all that walking, come back to the Brewhouse for tea & cake, which can be taken indoors or out in the courtyard. Before leaving, you might like to visit the National Trust gift shop, which is stocked with kitchenware, ladies’ accessories, home & gardening accessories, books & gift cards.
The Vyne can be found on Vyne Road, Sherborne St John, Basingstoke RG24 9HL.
There are some lovely places to visit around Basingstoke, and you can provide your elderly friend or loved one with a great afternoon out, with companionship and stimulation, whilst helping them to get important exercise to maintain their mobility and general health.
We could continue your good work by taking your elderly friend out regularly for some gentle exercise, or just for tea and cake. Would they like support at home to help them continue living independently in the comfort and convenience of the place they know and love?
For more information about how our Basingstoke team could help please give us a ring on 01256 840 660 or email us on [email protected]