When I was out on a walk the other day (more details on Sunday), I noticed this sign:
At first glance, I thought it was just another variant on the same sort of sign you see a lot of when you’re walking – and it is, but note who it’s from. Yes, the Homes and Communities Agency, which is an agency supposedly owned by the public, and out to serve the public, declaring that a large patch of open space is private land. Not restricted, private – normally used to state that the owner doesn’t want plebs tramping over it.
But what if we plebs are the owner?
I guess it’s time to start my new series of posts. From now on, every Sunday I’ll be posting details of a walk – usually around the Colchester area – with some photos and links included for you to find out more. This serves a double purpose – getting me out for some more exercise and hopefully also encouraging people to get out walking around here more. While we may not have the stunning mountain scenery of some parts of the country – what’s termed a hill round here is normally referred to as a speed bump in the rest of the country – there are interesting places to go, and one of the benefits of being without steep slopes is that it’s a lot easier to walk longer distances.
We’ll start with a very easy stroll down the river to Wivenhoe:
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Having been thwarted in my desire to walk last week thanks to the terrible weather, I didn’t miss the chance to get out today. It’s quite strange to be out walking again round here after a week in the North, especially when your body’s just adapting to a slope, getting ready for a climb and then it tops out at 50m above sea level.
While I was out, I was wondering if I should start detailing some of my walking routes here, perhaps as a first step on the route to becoming the Colcestrian Wainwright (further steps include developing legible writing and beyond-stick-figure artistic skills and then culminate in becoming an old reactionary). I think there are lots of interesting walks to be found round here. While routes round here aren’t technologically challenging (taking a wrong turn may lead you into a few more nettles rather than having to negotiate your way up or down a scree slope, for instance) there are various paths and ways that aren’t too well-known, and the idea of doing my bit to promote Colchester as a walking destination appeals to me.
So, I think I’ll start posting up a weekly walk, along with a few directions and pictures to guide anyone wanting to follow it. If nothing else, it motivates me to get out and get some exercise.
To whet your appetite, you might want to look at some of my pictures from previous walks out to Manningtree, Bures, Stoke-by-Nayland, Tiptree and Mersea, or a walk from Sudbury down to Great Horkesley.
Off to the Lake District for a week, so no fresh blogging until I get back next week. I have scheduled a few posts to appear during the week, just to keep my new posting schedule up, but if you want to know what I’m doing for the next few days you’ll have to follow me on Twitter, where hopefully I won’t be posting ‘raining again’ too much.
As I’m up to date with all my deliveries and we’re not doing canvassing during the holiday weekend, I decided to take advantage of the good weather and go for my first long walk of the year today. So, I got the train up to Sudbury and then followed St Edmund’s Way and the Stour Valley Path from there down to Bures, then across the Suffolk side of the valley to Wiston before heading down to Great Horkesley for a well-earned pie and a pint or two at The Yew Tree.
I’ve uploaded photos from it to my Flickr account so you can take a look – I’ll get them in the right order and add names and descriptions to them tomorrow when I’m less tired and able to go through them with a map in hand to make sure I get all the names right.
Because of my usual state of disorganisation/strong moral principles (delete according to how well you know me) I haven’t sent out any Christmas cards this year, but I have made a donation to Shelter instead.
And if you want to round off the year with a donation to charity, you can still make a very late sponsorship donation for my walk until the end of the year- I’m working out the amount donated offline, and it’s getting close to the target, so yours could be the one that pushes it over the finishing line.
I keep meaning to plug this site and forget it – Mark Moxon’s Land’s End to John O’Groats walk site. I’ve had a few people asking me for information on how to do the walk themselves and this is probably the best resource on the net for it. Plus, his route inspired much of mine (though going the other way, of course) and what better recommendation could you need than that?