We’re starting a walking blog for ramblers and nature lovers to share their best walks, wildlife spots, strolling thoughts and impressions, in the hope it may inspire others to take up walking and venture into the wild to boost their wellbeing. Please remember to follow lockdown rules while exercising outdoors!
To kickstart our “walking blogs” series, Nicole wanted to share a walk she took around Richmond Park recently, which she really enjoyed. She prefers to think of her piece as a “conversation” about her walk rather than a blog! She describes for us very vividly all the beautiful views and wildlife she encounters and how walking helps us to forget about the reality of lockdown.
Distance: circa 8.2 miles
Start & end location: Wimbledon Rugby Club to Isabella Plantation, Richmond Park (via Henry’s Mound)
Weather conditions: Sunny with very clear skies, dry, fresh, light breeze
Conditions underfoot: Wimbledon leg was a little uneven. Sportsground and common land were muddy but not squelchy. Stayed on the marked paths in Richmond Park.
Other comments regarding atmosphere or other: Busy, but not crowded. A general feeling of cheer and goodwill, particularly during the Wimbledon to Richmond leg. Dogs were generally well-behaved.
My walking companion is someone I see regularly each week for badminton coaching (I am the student!) so walking together maintains a bit of good structure with routine meeting; so valuable during turbulent uncertainty.
I would not have gone for a walk to Richmond Park, or anywhere, on my own that day.
At the moment, walking with someone means 1: companionship, and 2: possibly a guide as I am finding it hard to concentrate these days.
We met at the Wimbledon Rugby Club. I could see a number of other folk with the same idea. So, like a chorus, there were lots of us in the car park, changing footwear, some of which I could see was gloriously filthy.
Our route was to go through Wimbledon Common, towards Robin Hood Way and the Robin Hood Gates for Richmond Park, for pedestrian access. It is very open and the public path runs by the golf course, which at this point was still in use.
Before I move onto the Richmond Park section of the walk, I will mention something here; the ratio of reciprocated “hellos” and “good mornings” was very positive on the Wimbledon side of the A3!
Emerging from the common, we crossed the very busy A3 towards Robin Hood Gate.
Robin Hood Gate was to be our entrance and exit for Richmond Park. Our target for today was King Henry’s Mound. Richmond Park is a big and beautiful place. I find it so lovely and open. As a well landscaped Royal Park would be, it’s such a change from the Surrey Hills, my normal stomping ground. I went to school nearby, in Ham, and “know” only a tiny part.
The mood in the air was good; light and positive. I remember thinking that, so far, I hadn’t seen masks. Because of this walk, I know I forgot to dwell upon Lockdown for a little while.
King Henry’s Mound
Being on King Henry’s Mound was my high point, with St Paul’s in the perfect sight line through the trees; and I can recall the noise of low voices, general movement and the swooshing of rucksacks against foliage at the Mound.
Using the viewfinder on the mound St Paul’s leapt quickly into view. Looking so small and perfect it was like a piece of magic, and it was such a clear image thanks to the perfect bright skies.
Turning 180 degrees, we could see another lovely view, away from St Paul’s, towards other parts of Greater London. Looking over this way also provided more of a sense of how high up we had walked so far.
Isabella Plantation and Homeward
It was significantly busier at the Isabella Plantation. More family groups as well as buggies were jostling for space. It is, perhaps, not the time for clumps of colour, but Isabella Plantation‘s clever landscaping means there are always things to see, smell and I could hear the running water under the numerous little bridges.
We were close to Robin Hood Gate, at the end of our circuit. On our way to the gate we walked past a large number of deer. I first saw one in the mid distance, and then, suddenly, tens of deer revealed themselves in plain sight; including one less than two metres distance from where I stood.
I remember having enjoyed a great walk and a super 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 email@example.com to discuss. Don’t forget to include a picture or two of what you see on your walk for all to enjoy!