Good evening and welcome to another weekly blog. I started this weekly blog series back in January 2020 to document some of the experiences that I might not otherwise talk about here on the blog, to bring Splodz Blogz back to being a diary of the life and times of me, Zoe. And here I am on episode 34, I wonder if I’ll make it all the way to Christmas without missing one?!
It has been a four-day working week for most here in England and Wales (sorry Scotland, but you had a different day earlier in August, so don’t be too jealous), and as you know, I do love a long weekend. We spent last weekend visiting family in Surrey, and used Monday as our at-home weekend – I did some chores, watched some Disney+ (the original Aladdin, a classic), and had a very relaxing day. The working part of the week was busy but fine, and then I spent this weekend walking with a friend yesterday, and today was a pretty ordinary Sunday.
If you want a bit more detail than that… grab a suitable snack (I’ve got a couple of slices of Lincolnshire Plum Loaf here to help me write), and read on!
Three Family Walks in Surrey
Last weekend we visited family in Surrey, to celebrate a family birthday, and spend time with our relatives. In our two days south of London we had a great time catching up, eating all the (unhealthy) food, and walking in the area.
If you are in the Surrey area the three walks we did might be of interest to you. Two were local green spaces that are well marked on OS Maps and easy to find, and the third was a pay-for walk attached to a farm and shop.
Kenley Airfield, RAF Kenley, was an airfield station of the Royal Flying Corps in the First World War and the RAF in the Second World War. The airfield is surrounded by a handful of small woodland areas, which are lovely to walk though, and the various points of historical interest on the site itself are marked with information boards so you know what you’re looking at. It is still a working airfield, there is a gliding club here now, but when they’re not flying the whole thing is open to the public and it’s a great place to walk, run, cycle and scoot. You can out more about the history of this airfield on the Kenley Revival website.
Happy Valley and Farthing Downs
The Happy Valley and Farthing Downs area is an absolute oasis in the concrete jungle that is south of London – large open fields, steep hills, and ancient woodland. Managed as an area of open countryside for visitors to enjoy, the valley is designated a ite for Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and is a Site of Metropolitan Importance for Nature (SMNI). At a different time of year you can see eight species of wild Orchid here, which would be well worth it I am sure. We walked from the Coulsdon side, across some of the meadows, down into the valley and up onto Farthing Downs, before looping back. For more information about this area, you can visit the Friends of Farthing Downs and Happy Valley website.
Priory Farm Discovery Walk
Our third walk of the weekend was the Discovery Walk at Priory Farm. This family attraction is an hour-long nature and woodland trail that has been curated by the Farm owners to include play and education along the way. When we visited the sunflowers were in full bloom (although some people had clearly decided to ignore the request to not trample them), the resident guinea fowl were busy chasing each other (did you know a group of guinea fowl is called a “confusion”?), and the woodland part of the trail was beginning to look a little autumnal. It was genuinely a lovely place to visit with our niece and nephew, appreciated by the whole family. The highlight of the walk was feeding the fish in the lake – I honestly can’t explain how quickly the water became solid with fish piling up wanting the food we’d purchased from the farm, and there was a noise to match. An experience, for sure. There is more information about the Discovery Walk on the Priory Farm website.
Four Day Working Week
What did you get up to on Bank Holiday Monday? As I mentioned at the start of this weekly blog, I treated Monday this week as the at-home portion of my weekend, as we were away over the real weekend.
I could have done a lot with the day; gone with my husband on a motorbike ride, headed off for a hill walk, or got the “see the sea” ticked off my summer 2020 bucket list. Alas, I did none of those. I stayed at home, and spent the day doing a combination of weekend-style chores, and putting my feet up.
I wouldn’t say I had a lazy day, not completely anyway, but it certainly was one of those days I would say I took “off”. I interspersed the bed changing, ironing, meal planning, bathroom cleaning and grass cutting with plenty of, well, nothing. I do like having periods of laziness in my days at home, they help me switch off and relax.
I don’t mean laziness in the sense of filling each moment with mindless distraction, randomly scrolling social media, reading a magazine, or flicking through the channels on the television. It is really important to learn that you don’t have to be “doing” all the time (advice for myself as well as you!). It is okay, completely okay, good for us even, if we stop and do nothing on occasion.
In a world of constant distraction, we rarely put our mental feet up. Choose to let your mind wander as you sit in the silence of your living room, choose to do something creative such as paint for no end goal other than you enjoy moving the paint around the paper, or head outside to your favourite bench for no other reason than to sit and have a cup of tea in the fresh air.
When was the last time you did nothing?
Exploring Ancient History at Avebury
Yesterday I met up with friend and fellow GetOutside Champion Kate down at Avebury for a walk and catchup.
We walked this 6.5-ish-mile loop taking in Avebury Stone Circle (pictures), along The Ridgeway to the site of The Sanctuary Stone Circle, over to West Kennett Long Barrow, and passing Silbury Hill on the way back.
The whole area is absolutely steeped in ancient history; the standing stones were put in place 6,000 years ago, and the long barrow was in use 5,500 years ago. The Avebury complex really is one of the principal ceremonial sites of Neolithic Britain that we can visit today, and it’s all open so you can walk right up to and touch the standing stones – you can also walk inside one of the barrow chambers (hence today’s weekly blog title, where they keep the bodies).
It is one of the best short walks I’ve done recently. The rolling hills, distant views, historical points of interest, and easy-to-walk trails were definitely helped along by the cool yet sunny early autumn weather, and the lovely company.
I’d highly recommend this loop if you’re visiting Avebury, the village itself is (understandably) quite busy with visitors, but it’s easy to get away from the crowds without much effort.
If you’re not already subscribed to the OS Maps app, it’s a great place to find and plan your own walks, runs, cycle rides and horse rides. Start here (affiliate link) for access to mapping for the whole of Great Britain. If you want to give it a try for a year, give me a shout and I’ll let you have a discount code…
I’d love to know how your week has been. Let me know how you spent the Bank Holiday, and what was your favourite thing about this week has been, in the comments below.
If you enjoyed reading this episode, if you think my weekly blog series is a fun thing to read regularly, and especially if you got to the end of this one(!), I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. Come on by next Sunday evening for the next in the series.