Our volunteer, Zoe Hughes Gough, tells us why she loves walking in Bathscape…
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 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.
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. Bathscape has 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!