Walking in the Woods


Sometimes, when the world seems to be in an incomprehensible mess, when politicians seem to ignore the reality and live in cloud cuckoo land where they can do whatever they like, there is a need to find a place that seems more sane.

It’s at times like this when a walk through a wood can be very therapeutic. On a November afternoon when the sun was shining, we did just that. After a day or so of rain, the leaves beneath our feet didn’t have that satisfying crunch, but they gleamed, lighting the path ahead like jewels. The rocks covered in moss cushioned the woodland floor and ferns spouted green in amongst the branches of dying trees.

Here, when we stopped just to gaze around us or sit sipping warming coffee from our flasks, here we could find a sense of peace. Only the scolding call of a jay interrupted our stillness and he soon disappeared out of sight. The late afternoon sun filtered through the tracery of the ancient beech tree. This was a moment to savour. This is ancient woodland that in centuries past saw families that farmed this area of woodland grazing. We could imagine the few beasts feeding among the trees, hear the children’s voices as they played by the burn.

The remains of the threshing barn and the corn kiln still stand to remind us of a simpler life; though not necessarily an easier one. There would be hardship and illness; there would be cold winters when they would be glad of the warmth from the beasts that shared the roof over their heads. Would they have had time to sit holding a warm drink, to meditate on the beauty of the silhouetted branches backlit by the setting sun?

Thankfully our lives are such that we can soak up the peace of the woodland, we don’t have to scrape a living from the land, but we can absorb the beauty and the peacefulness here in the wood, escape from the political landscape and C21st turmoil to recharge our batteries before returning along the path to home.