Today I’ve been tramping around woodlands with Freckles – who was kind enough to bring my long standing friend along with her.
Freckles had directed her pet human to invite me (after our last walk in Warwick) to a longer woodland walk in the Wyre Forest – a lively hot spot for her fellow dogs and their tame bipeds.
She relaxed in the boot while her chauffeur drove and chatted.
The day couldn’t have been better – and although there was the occasional light shower, for the most part fluffy white clouds happily co-existed with light blue skies and frequent rays of sunshine.
As we parked up I could see that Sunday was a busy day. We’d arrived at the tail end (pun intended) of an RSPCA dog walking event. At the cafe by the car park some volunteers in little blue marquees were handing out small ‘doggy’ bags to the people that had completed the walk.
As the tired pet lovers tramped past us we stopped to look at the map of the forest and tried to decide upon which route to do.
My friend suggested the blue trail might be a bit to long for today (it followed a stretch of old railway line) so the choice was a couple of laps of a shorter one or the longer three mile red route.
The red route had some short hill climbs and seemed like a good choice for sensible exercise (plus it was not too muddy apparently) so we agreed on that one.
One Buzzard Trail coming up!
As we started on the walk I couldn’t help but notice that from a family perspective there seems to be a LOT for children to do, and besides the packed playground at the cafe there were hidden tepees in the woods and lots of clambering around in trees to be done.
As we passed the RSPCA tents children were whizzing along a steel zip wire cable in the canopy above us from a large tree house which led to the ground about 100m away.
There were some terrified expressions on the way down which seemed universally to give way to justifiable feelings of elation that they’d managed to conquer their fears and were back on solid ground.
Everywhere we looked there were rope bridges and suspended aerial crawl tunnels for children and adults to navigate through.
Years ago I did an outward bound course in Sealyham and loved it. I was at the time thin enough to rock climb, abseil, swing on ropes over rivers and clamber around in trees.
I’m adding it to the list of things to do again one day soon.
As we moved forward the number of people and children diminished and the paths widened as they meandered through the forest.
The sun came out for a while, and filled the bracken and trees with playful shadows and new life. Everything seemed lush, verdant and green. I mentioned to my friend that this was about as perfect as a place gets for me.
I adore woodland.
I’ve never cared really for beaches in the sun with towels by the pool or all inclusive hedonism. Trees and mountains are what floats my particular boat, and always have been.
As we walked and talked my guide mentioned that we might possibly see some deer crossing our path – but despite freckles looking very alert and staring into the bushes for a while (I love the way she stands with one foot in the air when listening!) the elusive creatures failed to materialise.
Before long (we had a short sit down here) we were off again. As the path began to circle back to our starting point the first of several small inclines appeared.
In the not so distant past I wouldn’t be so keen on this and it may have been a complete deal breaker. However today it was just another path that might require a little breather. My ‘to do’ list has hills pretty much at the top, as it’s good for my calf muscles and excellent for raising my pulse and burning calories.
Eventually I plan to walk up Snowdon and at some point (when I’m at a more reasonable weight) I want to start training for it.
It was good to see that although the inclines made me breathless, after a quick stop I was good to go again. Nothing much was slowing me (or Freckles) down today.
Before long – after a very satisfying walk and exercise we were back at the little cafe, where we sat down and enjoyed a cold diet soda whilst the dogs socialised and watched the children play nearby.
I’d never been to the Wyre forest before today – but I was sure that this was a mistake that would not be repeated. Instantly upon arriving I got the feeling that this was a place I wanted to come back to.
It’s got excellent facilities (fresh coffee and cakes are available for anyone that wants one – or a cooked breakfast/lunch) and the parkland is both well managed and beautiful. I said as much to my friend as we left – and I fully intend to return with him (and Freckles) in the near future.
I must also thank his most excellent wife, who had readied for our return some roasted stuffed peppers on a bed of salad leaves and a wonderful tuna, red onion, baby plum tomato and butter bean side salad.
Knowing that I was following Slimming World everything was measured and prepared so as not to sabotage any of my efforts and tasted thoroughly delicious. I worked out the whole meal to be 2 syns (the 40g of cheddar cheese was 30g ‘healthy extra’ and 10g synned) as the food was almost all free or speed.
After a lovely chat I drove home relaxed and happy. My exercise ring was full on Apple Watch, my tummy was full thanks to my friend’s lovely wife and my social activity gauge was full and sat in the ‘thoroughly satisfied’ section.
Overall Internet it was a great day out. I must remember to thank Freckles for asking her humans to show me around.
She got a lot of petting though today. I think she knows I appreciated the gesture.