Posts tagged Walks
Wandering in the Woods

Hearing the crunch of crisp autumnal leaves under your wellies as you stomp through the countryside has got to be one of life's greatest simple pleasures. The russet and honeyed hues of nature can lift even the gloomiest of skies, but last weekend we were lucky enough to choose a day to revel in these seasonal joys when the sun sat still all day long, and warmed us through our many layers of clothing.

Nestled in the heart of Lincolnshire on the edge of the picturesque Wolds is a small wood where you can crunch leaves and wander beneath the vast canopy of trees to your heart's content. Usually a spot heralding the start of a biking route, Willingham Woods is actually a small slice of countryside where you can escape and explore all year round, though it holds a particular ethereal beauty during the autumn months. You can also take the opportunity (as we did) for an al-fresco hot chocolate still piping hot from the flask and somehow more enjoyable because it is consumed outside.

The rolling fields of the Wolds stretch out like a muddied patchwork quilt in the distance, but inside the wood everything is dense and earthy. Scarlet berries lace the branches that lead you down windy paths, and you are followed only by the rustle of pigeons as they spring from their perches high above the ground. Bella (the pup) was terribly excited as it was her first exploration of the woods, and seeing her paw at the leaves and test the waters of the stream was a joy and we felt like proud parents showing her off to the world.

It's not that having a dog forces us to do things and go places we wouldn't normally, it simply means we are more likely to create opportunities to explore both the surrounding countryside, and the seasons. What could be better than that?

Late Summer

Late summer is one of my favourite times of year. The crisp hint of autumnal air is appearing on the horizon alongside the long lingering sunsets that seem to stretch endlessly across the sky. In the countryside, harvesting is high on the agenda and we are lulled to sleep by the soft whirring of the drier in the farmyard next door before receiving an early morning wake-up call from the tractors at daybreak. The owls are out too; their melodic calls float across from the tree-lined track and permeate the sounds of industry to signify that twilight is upon us.

Best of all, berries start to blush on the hedges and bushes, their tantalising fruits waiting to be turned into jellies and jams - when we have a free moment of course; this time of year is often so busy, as we prepare for the months ahead both in the garden and at work. My eyes are forever hunting out ripe blackberries to make my favourite pie, and when I catch a glimpse it is as though nature's treasure trove has been revealed just for me and frantic picking takes place until there's just enough left for the birds to peck and nibble on.

Long evening walks clear my head after a tough day - and there have been a few of those this week - but the cathartic sense of being outdoors and following the footsteps of nature as the seasons drift and change is what keeps me going. The fresh breeze on the back of my neck, the crunch as I walk through the strands of leftover wheat stems, the feeling of stealing those last few moments of warmth as the sun slowly sets; these are what I'm noticing right now. I always wait impatiently for the start of the mellow, fruitful season of autumn, but when I stop and think about it, late summer is so beautiful that perhaps I'm getting ahead of myself.