I've probably mentioned it before, once or twice or ten times in passing, but I love to walk. When I lived in London I barely hopped onto the tube or the abounding buses that choke the narrow streets of the city (and yet are always strangely absent when you find yourself in need). Instead, I walked. I explored. I wandered and I delved and I left barely a stone unturned. The city was my adventure. And although my surroundings have changed, the sky clearer, the birdsong audible, the buses few and far between, my love of a good walk remains unabated. And so last week, with willing family in tow, we took a walk across the Sussex downs.
We began at Charleston Farmhouse, one of my favourite places. It was early, before the trawl of visitors had begun to make their way along the enduring driveway, and we got a glimpse of just how peaceful Charleston must have been when the artist's lived here, tucked away beneath the looming shadow of Firle Beacon, the dull whir of farm machinery nearby. Off we set, across fields laden with young pheasants, past hedgerows laden with fruitful bounties, the shadows of Compton Wood to our right.
We wandered to Firle, passing the grand terraces of Firle Place, our path cut through the park land. At Firle we rested and feasted upon cooked breakfasts at the fine Ram Inn, the October sun warming our skin. And then back we went, along the Old Coach Road, the path busier now, as others sought to take advantage of the good weather.
We continued our trip through Bloombury's Sussex with an afternoon at Monks House in Rodmell, once the country home of the writer Virginia Woolf. We sat by the pond, my young son counting snails and frogs, his interest in the life around him unabated. We picked apples from the trees (sssh) and marvelled at the red juiciness beneath their flesh.
Then to the lawn, and bowls, a favourite past time of the Woolf's.
And then home for tea and cake, and reminisces about the day just past. Tell me of your favourite walk, and where you go to explore and unwind.