JANUARY is a month in which we blow away the cobwebs. It is a time of year when we make pledges to improve our lives, with more fresh air and exercise being high on many people's lists.

And what better place to stretch your legs than Yorkshire Sculpture Park, where you can walk all day across fields, through woodland and beside lakes, coming across weird, wonderful, and thought-provoking works of art along the way.

We spent a bracing day at the attraction, near Wakefield. Wrapped up against the cold, we walked past the crawling hare, by Sophie Ryder, which brought back happy memories of past visits when my daughters would search for all the bits and pieces that have been used in its construction.

There’s a camera, an egg whisk, a typewriter, a pair of pliers, and a tiny toy policeman among the many items cast within the bronze animal.

We enjoyed a picnic on a chilly bench in front of a bizarre circle of huge bronze animal heads, each mounted on a pole. Circle of Animals, by the internationally renowned Chinese artist Ai Weiwei is inspired by the traditional Chinese zodiac that once adorned the clock fountain of the Imperial Summer Palace retreat in Beijing.

One of the most viewed sculpture projects in the history of contemporary art, it has been on a worldwide tour since May 2011. My favourite is the pointy-nosed rat, while my sister prefers the ferocious-looking cockerel.

As we crossed the bridge separating Lower and Upper Lake we were lucky enough to spot two kingfishers flying across the reed beds - a rare treat.

Then, beside the footpath, came a statue that struck a chord - a man engrossed in his mobile phone. Network, by Thomas J Price, depicts someone whose focus is on his phone and not those around him.

“That’s you!” I told my daughters, as they posed for a photo with their nephew, who at 13 hasn’t yet reached their level of mobile dependency.

There are many paths criss-crossing this outside gallery, which opened in 1977 in the parkland of Bretton Hall. The Grade II-listed mansion housed an arts college before it closed in 2007. It is currently being converted into a hotel and spa.

While the hall is off-limits, we popped into its beautiful Camellia House, full of shrubs in bloom.

We walked across fields, and into woodland, along to Oxley Bank. There’s a far-reaching view from the ridge across to Emley Moor telecommunications mast - the seventh-tallest structure in Europe at 385.5 m (1,265 ft).

On the way back, we descended the Seventy-One Steps, an artwork, by David Nash - huge charred oak steps along Oxley Bank, embedded in 30 tonnes of coal which can still be seen.

The footpath takes you past Andy Goldsworthy’s trees cleverly embedded into stone walls.

There’s a lovely view from the top of the bank across to Emley Moor telecommunications mast - the seventh-tallest structure in Europe at 385.5 m (1,265 ft).

Work on show includes that of Yorkshire sculptors Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth. The park's collection of works by Moore is one of the largest open-air displays of his bronzes in Europe.

Sheep grazing in the park can often be seen rubbing against the striking Henry Moore sculptures - a very apt sight, as Moore produced many wonderful drawings of sheep.

Climbing back towards the visitor centre, we stopped at the 18th century chapel to see Iron Tree, also by Ai Weiwei. Inspired by the wood sold by street vendors in southern China, this amazing work comprises of 97 tree elements cast in iron and interlocked using a Chinese method of joining.

Other striking works at the park include Roger Hiorn’s Seizure - an empty council flat coated with copper sulphate crystals. It is a captivating sight for visitors, who enter in small groups.

The visitor centre contains galleries, a shop and café, where we enjoyed refreshments overlooking the winter landscape.

*Yorkshire Sculpture Park, West Bretton, Wakefield WF4 4JX. For opening times and more information visit ysp.org.uk or telephone 01924 832631.