I’m always thinking about the essence of a place. What makes it what it is? How do I know so clearly that I’m walking through the English countryside, and not, say, Spain? Or Brazil?
I thought about this during the ramble we took around the largest reservoir in England, located in its smallest county.
The scenery of Rutland Water just seemed so quintessentially English, but why?
Maybe it’s the rolling grassy hills? Green for miles.
Maybe it’s the classic blossom trying its hardest to spring from hedges and gardens?
Could it be that feeling that you can’t quite wait to get to the top of the next hill?
And when you get there, seeing for miles and maybe catching a glimpse of a distant manor?
Maybe it’s the many gates you walk through (and remember to close behind you!), secured by straggly twine, optimistically macgyvered by generations past and present?
Maybe it’s the way the light plays on the little pools and streams?
Or maybe the green mossy trunks, looking softer than velvet?
Maybe it’s the way the sun catches the grass, then the water, then the distant hills?
Could it be the traditional willow fences snaking across the landscape, displaying skilled craftsmanship?
Maybe it’s the sound of beating wings, or sails chinking against masts?
The slop of wellies, and the flap of raincoats?
Perhaps it’s the regular cattle grids, with the threat of a nasty sprain making me grimace as I pick my way across? Also, I always look under the bars to make sure there are no hedgehogs trapped 🙂
Or the realisation that yes, those are storm clouds gathering in the distance?
Maybe it’s the sheep* dotting the landscape, or the sight of distant spires? Note: Storm cloud still very much in evidence
Could it be that moment when you realise there’s no way you’re getting home before that storm hits, so you’d better just shelter in the nearest pub?
In England, there’s always a pub.
All I know is, we walked about 6.5 miles and it was glorious. Well, apart from the last bit where we had to walk in freezing sideways hail and one side of my face totally froze. Who needs botox?! Just go for a walk in England in ‘Spring’!
Have you ever been for a walk in the English countryside? What makes it English to you?