BEING close to nature is one of the great attractions of countryside walks and the landscape of the North-East is bursting with opportunities.

This week, Country Life's resident walks expert, Mark Reid, takes us to Cassop Vale, a nature reserve of national importrance, deep in County Durham.

Featuring woodland, open water and lowland grassland, Cassop Vale is known for the diversity of its wildlife and plantlife and is a beautiful place to visit.

Nearby is the former mining community of Cassop, also noted for having a primary school which is believed to have been the first in the UK to generate some of its own electricity with its own wind turbine.

Mark Reid has produced 17 successful walking guidebooks, including the acclaimed ‘Inn Way’ and ‘Walking Weekends’ series covering all of the national parks of Northern England.

He is also a Mountain Leader and Outdoor Instructor and offers map reading courses, navigation skills weekends, guided walks and outdoor adventures in the Yorkshire Dales, Lake District and beyond.

As always when venturing out for a country walk, make sure you are wrapped up warm.

And to find out more about Mark Reid's walks, click here.