There’s no denying the announcement of Tier 3 is unwelcome news, especially to students, but that doesn’t mean we’ve got to stay inside all day every day for the next month.

Whilst the cold November weather means it won’t be as easy to spend time outside as it was in the first lockdown, as long as you wrap up warm these outdoor spaces are still a great place to meet your friends, or just clear your head for a while. Not only are there physical benefits of getting out of your student housing for a while, but the mental health benefits are also enormous. Below are just a few places to get you started.

Mincinglake Valley Park

(Image by Robert Slack: http://ukrobertslack.blogspot.com/2009/05/16-may-2009-walk-exeter-green-circle.html)

Only about a 20-minute walk from campus is a hidden gem: Mincinglake Valley Park. This park is the perfect size for a run or embarking on a long walk. It’s got everything you’d want in a park: woodland, a stream and meadows. It’s popular with dog-walkers too, so if you’re lucky you might get to see a few adorable pups running round. Avoid going just after it’s rained – the paths can get pretty muddy!

Quayside

Chances are you’ve come across the quayside already, but here’s just a quick reminder that even though cafés and restaurants may be shut, you can still have a lovely stroll along the River Exe, or even a run if you’re trying to get to that 5k mark.

Top tip: bring along a flask of tea or coffee – it’s much cheaper those pre-lockdown flat whites from a café, and will stop you catching hypothermia as the weather becomes more wintry.

Cathedral Green

(Image by Katie Featherstone https://www.featherytravels.com/exeterdevon/)

Again, probably a spot you’ve been to before, but is there are a better place to have a socially-distanced catch-up with someone right now? With its beautiful view of the cathedral and large grassy areas, the Cathedral Green is ideal for sitting on a picnic rug, either on your own or with someone you haven’t seen in a while.

Belmont Park

Whilst it may not be the biggest in the world, this little park is worth a visit if you’re looking for somewhere nice and quiet that’s not too far from the high street. Whether you want to curl up on a bench with a book or chat with your friends, this park is the perfect place. I’d recommend going along on a crisp autumn day, when there’s frost on the ground and leaves falling from the trees.

Duryard and Belvidere Valley Park

This one’s the closest to campus, so if you’re living in halls and want somewhere relatively close by to stroll to this is the perfect place. If you don’t mind walking a bit, the views are incredible, and it’s easy to forget you’re living in a city when you’re out here. If you want to feel the wind on your face and spot some wildlife, Duryard and Belvidere Valley Park is definitely the one to go to.

Obviously, this list isn’t complete – there are plenty more wonderful outdoor spaces in Exeter! And what better time is there to get out and explore them than now?