Going for a walk in the countryside is undoubtedly good for you. It's known to alleviate depression and stress, calming both body and mind, and it's a good source of exercise too.
Being a creature of habit, I'm known to walk around the same area on a regular basis. Some take the micky, saying it's (or I'm) boring, but I beg to differ. It all boils down to perception.
There's something very comforting about seeing the same scenery, touching the same trees, walking along the same paths, and stepping over the same stiles. It forces me to play a game of spot the difference. Every time I walk the same route I notice alterations. It's never the same. Every day is a blank canvas allowing nature to play with her colours and sounds.
What makes a good walk is not necessarily where you walk, but how you walk where you walk.
If your head is full of concerns and worries then even during a beautiful spring morning, with a pool of blue sky up above and a blanket of blue bells below, you're going to walk as if these amazing spectacles don't even exist.
If you're mood is lighter and your mind calmer, if you walk with a spring in your step with no concern for keeping time, then your senses are going to be more alert, allowing you to absorb more of what's on offer.
And there's a lot on offer.
Making an effort to open your senses makes you more receptive. Sounds become sharper. Colours scintillate like crystals, all because you opened the doors to your senses, which naturally then turns down the volume of your mental chit-chatter. This then leads to a sense of tranquillity and well-being, alleviating stress, anxiety and depression - it's great!
By investing your time in nature, nature will invest her time in you, resulting in experiences that will leave you smiling and speechless. You will be rewarded with bountiful gifts that you're thinking mind can't even begin to comprehend.
This morning, at 7:30am, I set off walking on my favourite circuit in Almondbury, Huddersfield. I reached the summit of one of the many fields and sat on a bench to breathe deep and be present. I got out my flask and poured myself some warm ginger tea and began to nibble on some mixed nuts and raisins I had brought. I dug out my book and began to read as the sun made the pages glow.
Then I heard something stumble behind me.
An unexpected visitor, but one I was surely grateful for.