With many of us having our plans for an escape to some winter sun thwarted by Covid-19, Visit Herefordshire offers a selection of uplifting winter staycations, which can be planned now and enjoyed when lockdown eases.

Overnight ‘cocooning’ to enjoy dark skies at Drovers Rest

Those checking into Drovers Rest, a 16th century organic farm on the Herefordshire borders, will have the opportunity to book their new ‘cocooning’ experience this winter.

Guests will be invited to ‘hang out in the trees’ as darkness descends on the ancient woodland.

Choose to enjoy an outdoor feast and then swing from tree hammocks to enjoy the star constellations of this dark skies location on the edge of the Brecon Beacons national park as well as spotting nocturnal wildlife over a four-hour evening experience before returning to your accommodation.

Or stay a while longer and sleep out overnight in fully insulated hammocks, with a mattress and sleeping bag suitable for sub-zero temperatures to ensure a cosy night.

Cocooning costs £30 per person for a four-hour slot and £50 per person to sleep overnight with a fireside feast priced at £20 per person.

The experience is only available to those who are staying at Drovers Rest in either their cottages or luxury glamping tents.

To find out more go to droversrest.co.uk/farm-activities

Winter foraging with wild cook and food author Liz Knight

Herefordshire-based Liz Knight runs food foraging walking tours across the county in gorgeous spots like the Black Mountains.

This winter she is inviting groups of up to five on a two-hour food foraging course where guests will learn about the significance of the winter season to the food chain.

She encourages participants to look down at the earth and appreciate the forming buds and the plants putting down their roots, as they discover delicious edible treats in what at first glance may look like just a wintery landscape.

The course is priced from £150 per group. Liz’s new book, Forage, celebrating edible plants will be published this winter. foragefinefoods.com.

Wild Wye swims with Angela Jones

Take the plunge with expert Angela Jones who has been swimming the Wye for over 35 years and promotes the physical and mental health benefits of wild swimming throughout the colder months.

Suitable for all abilities, Angela will share her secret spots pointing out the local flora and fauna as you swim and offers a safe and controlled experience as she checks her fellow swimmers’ temperatures during the colder conditions.

Angela also offers kayaking and wild camping experiences throughout the winter.

A 60-minute one-on-one wild swim costs £35 per adult, and family swims cost from £50 – wetsuits can be hired for a small extra fee. run-wild.co.uk/wild-swim-specialist/

Nordic Walking in the border hills with Ali Allen

For those who love hiking but want to try something new, Nordic walking is a great way to get some exercise and enjoy the outdoors.

Ali Allen is a Nordic Walking instructor based at the Walking Hub in Kington and will be offering a new Nordic Walking short break package which includes four hours of instruction as well as a two-night stay in the cosy B&B based at the centre with a full English breakfast and the loan of poles, setting guests up so they feel confident to go out on their own at the end of the short course.

A two-night Nordic walking break costs from £230 for two people sharing a room with instruction. To book and find out more go to kingtonwalkinghub.com

13 great winter walks

Misty morning rides at Noakes Farm

Ride out at first light as the morning mist rises to watch the sun rise over the beautiful Herefordshire hills surrounding Noakes Farm Riding Centre.

Located just outside Bromyard, the school offers rides for all abilities guided by experienced instructors along woodland tracks, over the historic railway line and stone bridges and across streams and hillsides.

All this is followed by a cooked breakfast back in the farmhouse.

Prices for an hour long ride including breakfast starts from £80 for an individual guided trek, £65 per person for two people or £55 per person for a group of 3-4.

A choice of three self-catering cottages is available nearby: noakesfarmridingcentre.co.uk and mintridge.co.uk

Llama Treks in the Black Mountains with Amanda Huntley and Robert Dewar

Amanda and Robert at Golden Valley Llamas in the Black Mountains are offering Llama Treks throughout the winter including Christmas themed walks this year.

Their 15 llamas take on the role of reindeer for the festive themed walks, stepping out with guests who want to embrace the colder season and enjoy the stunning scenery of the mountains.

Each two and a half hour trek is exclusive to the group booking and priced at £45 per adult and £30 per child.

The therapeutic value of walking with llamas is reported wildly due to their docile and friendly nature. For cosy sleepovers there are two cottages on the farm. oldkingstreetfarm.co.uk

Kerne Bridge to Symonds Yat West winter paddle

For those new to river paddling, Wye Adventures is offering a three-quarter day winter self-guided experience from Kerne Bridge to Symonds Yat West which is ideal for adults and children.

Even during the winter months canoeists will enjoy spotting a variety of wildlife from otters and mink to swans, geese, deer and even wild boar.

A family winter paddle (two adults and two children sharing a canoe) costs from £65, and will be dependent on safe water levels of the river. wyeadventures.com

Backyard Bushcraft with Really Rural

Perfect for families, the fully qualified instructors from Really Rural are offering to come to people’s houses to run a two-hour bushcraft taster, whether you live here or you’re visiting and renting accommodation.

Outdoor fun is the name of the game and this special experience will get everyone out in the fresh air.

The two-hour backyard bushcraft taster costs from £80 for a family of four.

Or add some adventure to a short break by booking a taster session for individuals, families and small groups.

The taster includes learning how to light a fire without matches, build a shelter, identify plants and track animals and costs £20 per person (minimum group of four) and is held in private woodland. reallyrural.co.uk

Leather Workshops with Sarah Williams

Williams Handmade is well known for producing quality leather goods in their Herefordshire workshop, making unique bags and purses which last a lifetime.

The team, led by owner and designer Sarah Williams, is passionate about sharing their leatherwork skills and Sarah runs a selection of workshops in the studio, giving guests the experience of making their very own leather bag or accessory.

Private one-to-one full day courses in which you make your very own luxurious bag cost from £240 per person including a light lunch and refreshments.

The price doesn’t include the cost of leather and fittings used which will depend on the size of the finished item (usually between £30 and £50). For more information visit williamshandmade.com

And finally, a couple of winter break options

Cosy Escape at a New Restaurant with Rooms: The New Inn at St Owen’s Cross. Originally a 16th century coaching inn, the New Inn opened in October this year with a smart dining room and three luxurious bedrooms just outside Ross-on-Wye.

A great winter break escape for those looking for good food and a warm welcome.

A double room including breakfast for two people costs from £160. thenewinnherefordshire.co.uk

Log Fires & Wine at The Bridge House in Ross-on-Wye

The Bridge House Hotel in Ross-on-Wye is located on the banks of the river Wye with iconic views of Ross and direct access to river walks.

Some rooms even have an open fire.

The new Winter Warmer Escape is priced from £120 per room per night and includes a complimentary glass of wine on arrival in front of their log fire, bed and a home cooked breakfast. bridgehouserossonwye.co.uk/