Springtime at Home: An early morning hike through English farmland

This morning I am up early, pulling on my walking boots and heading out into the fields before the day has fully started.

The natural world seems so alive to me in springtime. The hedgerows stretch upwards towards the blue skies, straining to grow.

I instinctively want to steer clear of the nettles that are creeping outwards towards the path, but I know that if I take a moment to crouch down and look closely, there will be delicate white blooms to admire beneath the leaves.

I reach the edge of the little woodland, on such high ground that it can be seen for miles around. I love the grassy slopes, the layers of foliage, the birdsong. There is always a gentle breeze up here, even on a hot summer’s day. Breathing in the cool, clean air, I feel refreshed and alive.

As well as hedges, ditches frequently act as markers between the fields. These paths are virtually impassable in winter due to the heavy clay soil, so drainage is vital and these little sleeper bridges are common.

Climbing uphill again, there are views out to the neighbouring village and glimpses of a little pool of water – a pleasant walk in its own right. Deciduous trees are native here and the local landscape drastically transforms from season to season. April is a palette of greens.

I turn towards home. There is a haze of sunshine in the air and the day is beginning. I can hear a faint rumble of traffic from the south now and occasionally there is a glint of speeding metal on the horizon that gives away the location of the distant road.

The pathways here are ancient byways. No crops will grow in the hardened soil where people have walked for centuries. Either side, pushing through the freshly tilled soil, tiny green shoots are visible.

Almost back now. When I approach the next crossing, birds scatter into the air. Several house martins circle above – we are headed in the same direction. They have seven nests in the eaves of our house and returned to roost last week. I watch them dart back eastwards again, and it helps me pinpoint my home and waiting family.

My boots are left by the back door, disinfected and set aside to dry. A new habit that now feels normal. I arrive in the kitchen, greeted by many excited voices, feeling motivated and ready for the day.

β€”Keep safe and well everyone. With heartfelt thanks to all those who are working to keep us safe, especially those on the frontline in the NHS and hospitals around the world.β€”

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40 Comments Add yours

  1. Lovely post, brush of fresh air. Thank you for sharing.

    Like

  2. What a glorious walk! I feel refreshed.

    janet

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s wonderful, thank you very much Janet! x Hope you are keeping safe and well x

      Liked by 1 person

  3. jmankowsky says:

    Beautiful post! I am envious of those wonderful pathways. For this New Englander, your blog is a new favorite!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. How kind of you – thank you very much x I really enjoy your blog too, it’s filled with inspiration and New England is such a beautiful part of the world.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. “Where people have walked for centuries.” Gives me the shivers to think about it.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. It’s ever such an old village – a lot of the old buildings have gone, as they were very very old thatch and timber, but you can still see the history in the bridges and the footpaths πŸ™‚ (and if you like English history, Lady Jane Grey, Nine Days Queen, lived five minutes from here at Bradgate Park)

      Liked by 2 people

  5. What a great way to start your day. Peaceful alone time.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. It is – our house has seven people in it, so getting little pockets of quiet is great, just to ponder things and have a little calm time – then I am straight back into things again πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Ellen Hawley says:

    I haven’t seen the white flowers on the nettles down here in Cornwall, but we’re getting plenty of reports of ticks, including deer ticks. One more damn thing to be careful of.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Ick. I don’t envy you those. My husband got a tick latch onto his arm in Scotland (in a supermarket carpark of all places!) – luckily I carry tick tweezers as they are tricky blighters to get off. Hope you’re otherwise keeping well Ellen, Cornwall seems to be one of the safer places to be at the moment, ticks aside.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ellen Hawley says:

        Ticks aside, I think it is. Plenty of room here to get outside. In fact, the village has energy to spare to get into a war over whether or not an ancient footpath should be moved. Although we’ve had some cases here. Or presumed cases, since no one (why am I not surprised?) has been tested. Still, I have to keep reminding myself that the danger’s a real one.

        Stay well.

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  7. nanacathy2 says:

    A really enjoyable post, and a lovely walk. I really like the little bridges. I shall make a point now to look at nettle flowers.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Cathy x I still get a childish delight from going over tiny bridges πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Beautiful in prose and photography. The swaying movement in that first photograph is wonderful.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Derrick πŸ™‚ I’ve been so busy in the garden lately – I need to catch up on your lovely posts, I’m so behind. I shall probably binge read them all at once with a cuppa πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No pressure – but I would be pleased πŸ™‚

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  9. looks like heaven

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  10. I so love your photographs in this post. Cozy and wonderful sights. Thanks for sharing.

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  11. One of these days I hope to walk those ancient paths, too. Early morning alone time is a favorite. Thanks for sharing your walk.

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  12. Nancy says:

    A lovely stroll! Thank you!

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  13. fakeflamenco says:

    Beautiful. I like the white turtle’s head flower, we have pink in our yard. I like your site very much. I’ve nominated you for a Liebster Award! See the latest post for details. : ) R

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is so kind, thank you very much for thinking of our little site 🎈

      Like

  14. Lotus Laura says:

    How enchanting! This was so peaceful to read.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Laura, you write such lovely posts, so I’m touched you enjoyed my writing 🌿

      Like

  15. tootlepedal says:

    A beautiful shot of the nettle flowers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much πŸ™‚

      Like

  16. scotlandmac says:

    Lovely read.Saw our first House Martins last week, April really is a glory.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much πŸ™‚ We have seven nests in the eaves, although I am still trying to fathom how so many of them manage to fit in them!

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  17. Absolutely gorgeous walk and it is the most wonderful time of the day to be out. Loved your photographs, too. anne

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    1. Thank you very much Anne. I love both early morning and early evening. Although I treated myself to a dusk-to-sundown in the garden the other night, and that was wonderful too πŸ™‚

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  18. A refreshing walk, such wonderful countryside on your doorstep… Thank you for sharing that breath of fresh spring time air with us with all the delights you saw on you way.. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Sue, I’ve actually had all of the old OS Maps out, finding new paths to explore. It’s been great to get know the place I thought I knew even better 🌿

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I see many positives emerging from this negative Mrs TP.. and that is the key to keep finding them and connecting with Mother Nature is essential for our well being.. ❀

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Beautifully put, Sue 🌿

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