Nine things

 Nine ways to keep warm in January

FORGET “dry January” (we all need a glass of something sparkling, deep red or spirituous in these Covid-embattled times) or “Veganuary” (we should all eat less meat, but better quality, reared with genuine care for the livestock and the land) – what we all need in this bitter locked down first month of 2021 is ways to keep warm. So here are nine suggestions, from soup to bracing walks.

 

A brisk walk on the Dorset stretch of the South West coast path (or part of the Somerset length of the path). Walk to Dancing Ledge, hike along the path from Kimmeridge Bay, explore the ghost village of Tyneham and then on to Worbarrow Bay, or in Somerset take the path from Minehead along the Wilderness Coast, past Porlock Weir and the spectacular Valley of the Rocks on Exmoor.

 

Walking in the New Forest – less physically demanding than the coast path, with few steep hills, but it’s still a spectacular landscape, with the thousand year-old forests, the wide open heathlands, the wild New Forest ponies and the beauty of the towering beech trees and ancient oaks. Winter is a great time to visit the New Forest, and enjoy this amazing and wildlife-rich National Park, without the heavy traffic and crowded car parks of the summer.

 

Cycling on the Parrett Trail – you can walk or cycle on this riverside path, which follows the route of the Parrett from Chedington in Dorset, across the Somerset Levels to Bridgwater. It is a journey through history and an amazing way to see the birds and wildlife of the Levels.

Hiking on the Mendips, the Quantocks or Exmoor – whether you are into dramatic rock climbing, pot-holing or just exploring three spectacular landscapes, there is plenty of space to be socially distanced!

 

Join an online dance group – you can sign up to a wide range of online dance and exercise groups. Whether it’s hip-hop, ballroom, Latin or tap, there is a dance class for you.

 

Treat yourself to an excercise bike ( or even a Peloton, the gift that keeps on costing, if you have room for it, can afford it and are prepared to subscribe to it into the future.

 

 

Make soup – traditional leek and potato, squash and borlotti beans with tomatoes and coconut cream, French onion … any combination of vegetables with small pasta shapes … warming up the kitchen as they cook and warming you from the inside.

Light a real fire, from properly-kept wood, pour yourself a whisky and snuggle up under a blanket with a good book.

Throw another dog on the bed (with thanks to Punch magazine).

Pictured: Worbarrow Bay, part of Dorset’s Jurassic coastline; the Valley of the Rocks on Exmoor; one of the New Forest’s ancient oaks; cycling on the Parrett Trail; online dance classes; French Onion soup; and a real log fire.