I took a walk in Somerset this afternoon and it was a complete tonic.
I walked in a valley in north east Somerset, not so far from where I live and work but which I had never been before. I love to explore new places and it was this delicious feeling of discovery that helped to inspire the conception of Foot Trails.
The weather swayed and switched from moody skies with dark clouds that raced away quickly to reveal blue skies and rays of sun. We even experienced a few short sharp showers when the raindrops fell in quick succession, but the showers never lasted long.
I had had a busy and hectic week but the further I walked the more the week’s stresses fell away.
The first thing I noticed was the quiet. Not a total silence, for the countryside in England is never totally quiet, but a lack of cars, phones and people that I enjoyed. On certain sections of the walk the only sounds were that of continual bleating and bahs of the ewes and lambs in the fields. I love this sound to this day. It takes me back to times on the farm when the lambs were being born.
And in other moments the sound of the bird song filled the air, calming and pretty, a bit like having classical FM or something soothing on the radio.
It was very windy today and in many moments the wind rushed through trees, branches and hedgerows with a comforting loud sound.
As I walked I noticed small and beautiful, simple things. The spongy, soft moss on the ancient stone walls. The amazingly fresh vibrant greens of the emerging leaves on the tree branches. We were treated to colourful bright displays of wild bluebells, wood anemone and wild garlic. I could smell the bluebells and wild garlic just before I saw them.
It was a very meditative walk. A time when I wanted to feel close to nature and in touch with it.
Half way round we came to a village and all felt hungry. With another of the short sharp showers looking imminent we made our way through the village and up to the old church. The views over the surrounding countryside were inspiring, we could see for miles towards Bristol. We sat in the old porch on a stone bench to eat our cheese and salad sandwiches.
Churches hold such stories. People had been coming to this one for at least 1000 years. To marry, be christened or to be buried. We saw clues we tried to fathom in the carvings on the old wooden door and we read names of those living in centuries before us in the wild grave yard. As I took this picture the light burst through the window.
Tired (in a good way), muddy around the edges and calm, we returned home. Definitely all the better for our walk.