September 22nd is World Car Free Day.

With over one billion motor vehicles on the roads around the globe, this internationally recognised day aims to take the heat off the planet for 24 hours by encouraging people to be less dependent on their cars. The hope is that they’ll leave their car at home and try alternatives like walking, cycling or public transport to get around instead.

Informal car free days took place throughout the 1990s, with the first official, global Car Free Day launched in 2000. Unlike many big cities, such as Bogotá and Jakarta, that close their central roads and fill them with organised events, the roads around Warwickshire stay open – but it doesn’t mean that you can’t participate by doing your bit for the planet.

And even if you do need to use your car on Thursday to get from A to B, there are plenty of places around Shakespeare’s England where you can enjoy a couple of traffic-free hours and a change of scenery.

Now that autumn has arrived, some of the best places to head to for a walk are the many parklands and gardens where you can admire the colourful foliage and seasonal shifts – followed by a welcome cup of tea and slice of cake! A few highlights include Batsford Arboretum, Compton Verney and Ragley Hall Park & Gardens, to name but a few.

There are also several compact, pedestrian-friendly town centres dotted around the region where it’s easy to take in the local attractions without a car. These include Alcester, Henley-in-Arden, Stratford-upon-Avon and Warwick, as well as numerous Cotswold villages.

So with all this and more on your doorstep – whether your motivation is to help the environment or improve your wellbeing – you really have no excuse not to get out and about at this wonderful time of year.

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