As part of our walking blog series, Louise, one of our volunteer walk leaders, shares her favourite walk in Epsom Downs whose familiarity and yet constantly changing look and feel provided her with some immense comfort during lockdown.
“During the last year I have walked a lot, both on my own or with a friend as restrictions have allowed. Walking always lifts my mood and there is joy in seeing small things as much as sweeping panoramic views.
I live in Epsom and am lucky to be able to walk from my house to Epsom Downs up a small road named Chalk Lane. Over the last year, I have seen Chalk Lane in mist, sun, rain, snow and ice. As it has very little traffic on it, many more people have discovered it and at times it is like a pedestrian motorway, up to the Downs on the left, down on the right with cycles, pushchairs, scooters and horses in the middle. I like it best when it is quiet and I can almost transport myself back in time to a quieter Epsom.
From the end of January, the most beautiful carpet of snowdrops covered a large area under the trees. Luckily they are off the footpaths and they lasted many weeks. Opposite the snowdrops on the other side of the lane is a large house, The Durdans. It is a beautiful house and I always wish I could go in and have a look around. It has a pair of ornate gates which are kept closed. The story is that the owner locked the gates the day his son left for the First World War. He said they would remain locked until the day he returned. Unfortunately he never did.
Chalk Lane is lined with fields, the home to many horses and a large stables and riding school. I stop to see the riders jumping small jumps. While I think horses are beautiful I am nervous of them. I prefer to walk and feel the ground firmly under my feet.
The road rises towards the Downs. At first gently and then quite steeply, raising my heart beat. The trees arch over the road with white blossom. Nearing the top of the hill the sky is a large expanse of blue with scudding white clouds. The white bulk of the Grandstand looms ahead.
Walking just a little further I can see right across the Downs with horses, bicycles, kite flyers and walkers. The ground swoops down and then up steeply to the white fence lining the far side of the racecourse.
From here I could choose to walk much further but often I just take in the view, breathe the fresh air and appreciate the large skies before heading down a small stony footpath lined with fields back down into the alleyways through the Victorian areas of Epsom.
This regular walk has the comfort of the familiar while always changing with the weather and the seasons. Whatever the weather I feel pleased that I made the effort to get out and feel more able to deal with the rest of the day.”
If you’d like to write a walking blog or walking poem for us, even if you’ve never written before, we would love to hear from you! Please contact Anna Silver, our Volunteer Co-Ordinator and organiser of our health walks, at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss. Don’t forget to include a picture or two of what you see on your walk for all to enjoy!