Living in a city centre certainly has its benefits; the proximity to shopping, restaurants and a plethora of indoor activities. However, as a student, moving into the city was a major change for me. I found myself feeling somewhat cramped, claustrophobic and suffocated due to the constant noise, people, and cars surrounding me. To help battle the confined nature of the city, I made a conscious effort to explore the areas of Plymouth that were open, natural and green, which in turn helped me feel less stressed. So, to help those that want a bit of space away from the hustle and bustle that can often feel overwhelming, I have devised my list of top natural areas around Plymouth. Some require transport, but I have tried to advise on the easiest ways to access them.
To start, apologies to those who don’t have access to a car at University, but my absolute favourite place to visit when I need a breather is Dartmoor. It’s one of the main natural attractions Plymouth has to offer so I could not help but mention it! My top recommendations would be Cadover Bridge when it is hot (well warm for Plymouth), for a dip in the river Cad, or when it’s cooler, a walk following the river to Dewerstone and back (I’ll leave a link below!). Another great place to visit is Sheepstor if you enjoy a scramble. The vast, diverse landscape that Dartmoor has to offer never fails to give me the much-needed space from city life.
2. The Hoe
The hoe will *usually* become a staple of a Plymouth students’ life, (honestly, I’m shocked how many students I speak to that haven’t been to the hoe), due to its gorgeous view of Plymouth Sound. Not only does it boast open green spaces (where The Beatles visited in 1967!), but there are also spaces for disposable barbeques (and the appropriate bins too). The seafront is easily accessible from here and therefore deserves a spot on my list.
3. Mount Edgecumbe
This may be a little out there for some people as it takes a water ferry to get to, but Mount Edgecumbe is honestly a must to visit before leaving University. It’s accessible by taking the 34 Citybus to Admirals Hard, Stonehouse from Royal Parade. There is so much to see and do from Adventure Segway, visiting the orangery and the multiple trails around the country park. The Cremyll ferry is currently priced at £2 for an adult single.
Another National Trust site on the list is Saltram House and grounds. This is accessible via the same route as going to Plymbridge Woods, but the opposite side of the road past the flyover. The walk around the property is full of woodland and views of the estuary. Equally the grounds of the House are just as impressive.
5. Central Park
Just a 15-minute walk from the University is Central Park full of open green spaces and walking paths. There are also lots of outdoor activities to do such as pitch and putt, football & frisbee golf and a skate park.
6. National Marine Aquarium
I know, I know, this isn’t technically a ‘green space’, but for those that need somewhere closer to the city centre and is also more friendly to wheelchair access, the aquarium can be a great way to get that much needed shot of nature. It also allows for bad weather conditions, which Plymouth obviously has no short of. The student ticket costs £14.50, which is a year-long ticket so you can go as many times as you would like from the date of your first visit.
7. Bovisand Beach
As a new-coming student, I was promised endless days out to the sandy beaches with attending Plymouth, when the reality is very much there are beaches…they’re just shingle beaches. However, there are beaches nearby, they just take a bit of effort getting to (and trust me they’re completely worth it!). Again, if you have a car, then you’re sorted, but for those of us without that luxury, there is the option of taking the 54 bus from Royal Parade (A9) stop from as early as 10am. It only takes 25 minutes to get to Bovisand beach and a return is ~£3 for an Adult. Be cautious that this may be subject to change as the colder months come in. An alternative is Wembury beach on the 48 bus from stop A10, also at Royal Parade. This takes approximately 30 minutes and there is a 15 minutes’ walk to the beach from the bus stop and isn’t as sandy as Bovisand, but the coastal walk is gorgeous!