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Walking Contemplation

Posted: Thursday 7th September 2017 by WildBlog

By Zoë Hughes Gough, Bathscape Placement Heritage Management MA Student, Bath Spa University

As a volunteer with Bathscape Walking Festival, I’m passionate about Bath. Not just the city with its amazing architecture, but the fantastic green fields that surround it, the leafy woodlands, the grassy meadows, the wild riverbanks and the more formal canals. It’s the ideal blend of city meets countryside – a major attraction when I was looking to put down new roots after a ten-year stint in London. Coming from Devon, the pull of the countryside was a strong one, but Bath perfectly bridged the gap between ‘the City’ and ‘the sticks’.

Moving to the country
So, when my husband and I took the plunge and moved here fifteen years ago with our newborn baby and bouncy black Labrador, there was only one way to get to know the place and that was on foot. I walked everywhere! With my precious cargo stowed in the all-terrain pushchair, a stash of snacks, a bottle of water and, of course, the poo bags, the three of us were off to explore.

Walking for sanity!
I soon found that within minutes of leaving the house, I could be in a green space – a park, the riverbank, a footpath, a field – and this had a huge impact on my mood. As any mother knows, the first few months after having a baby take a lot of adjusting to: the lack of sleep, the demands of feeding and the new routine. But getting outside every day (whatever the weather), getting some exercise and speaking to the other dog walkers and parents I met kept me sane.

Family time
Fast forward and, although our dog has sadly passed away, I still love getting out in the ‘Bathscape’ and I even manage to persuade my teenage children to come with me some of the time! One of our favourite walks is straight out of our front door and onto the footpath near the lower playing fields of Beechen Cliff School. It’s great for blackberrying in the late summer and we even found some damsons on our last walk.

Fifty shades of green
The views from the ‘horse field’, as my son calls it, are magnificent. The Bathscape is blessed with such a wonderful variety of trees, covering every shade of green imaginable, interrupted every now and then with deep burgundy tones, making it the most captivating panorama I know.

Peace and quiet
From here we head down the stepped path through the woods, emerging in Widcombe and get straight onto the canal path. Once round the first bend you’d never know that you’re barely 100 metres from a main road. The tranquil atmosphere of the slow-moving boats and the ducks gliding on the water are the perfect antidote to the hub-bub of the city centre. Within fifteen minutes you’re out of the suburbs and surrounded by rolling countryside with fields full of sheep and cattle grazing. It’s my perfect happy place!
I’m looking forward to adding some new walks to my repertoire during the Bathscape Walking Festival 16th-24th September. There’s something for everyone, young or old, from history lovers to nature freaks, whether you walk a lot or want to try it for the first time. Find your perfect walk today!

Bathscape Walking Festival
The inaugural Bathscape Walking Festival is taking place between 16 and 24 September. There will be lots of different types of walks during the week, mainly with a wildlife theme. The walks start at different locations around Bath and will explore the natural landscape surrounding the city. Avon Wildlife Trust will be leading two walks as part of the festival so do join us. You can sign up via the Bathscapes website  – and to the many other walks running as part of the festival.
Saturday 16 September We will be running a drop-in session at Sydney Gardens as part of the launch event (12:30 – 3:30pm). Join us for bug hunting, scavenger hunt, self-led nature crafts and learning about pollinators as part of the walking festival.
Monday 18 September Want to know more about your local wildlife - trees, wildflowers and birds? Join us for a short walk and wildlife exploration of Carr’s Wood. With stops along the route, discover and learn about this broadleaved woodland with its limestone pasture and brook. Starting at 11am at Pennyquick Park (On the corner of Redland Park and Newton Road) BA2 1RR.

If you need more information, contact Lucy Bartlett at Bathscapes on 01225 477265 or lucy.bartlett@ bathscape.co.uk

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