Have you ever felt that you truly belong somewhere? Like at some point in the past you must have lived in a place that became such a part of you that years have not faded the link? Mr K has always felt a pull towards the sea. Now this one is easy to understand as he spent his childhood up on the North East coast of England. But as for me? My first few years were spent in the glorious seaside town of Hoylake on the Wirral peninsula. From there we moved several times - usually to modern houses on the outskirts of small towns. All very lovely and all with their fair share of greenery but nowhere that I could particularly say I felt rooted.
So why then, last week when Mr K and I ventured forth to somewhere completely new to both of us, did I immediately feel at home?
Consall Forge first came to my attention via the lovely Rosie at Corners of My Mind. Set in the Churnet Valley in Staffordshire it turned out to be only half an hour away and yet we'd never heard of it before. As we approached, the verdant narrowing lanes set the scene. Within moments of leaving the car and setting foot on the woodland path I declared that this was my favourite place ever.
We continued along the one hour route
Breathing in the freshness as the sun broke through the canopy
Layers of green
Punctuated with natural hues
Alongside new life
Somewhere to breathe it all in
Maybe it's to do with reading too much Enid Blyton as a child but who can't help but think trees like these must be enchanted?
We knew the River Churnet ran through the valley but we didn't expect this. On our way back to the car we found a clearing.
A place to rest
And be visited by the locals - some more easy to spot than others
|Do you see him?|
Back through the buttercup meadow to begin the journey home
I can't say what it is that I find so restorative about this particular landscape. I've thought about it quite deeply. Is it the symbiotic nature of all that goes to create such a place that makes me feel as though I am part of some larger living thing? The combination of water and woodland that makes the freshness so contagious? The timeless quality - how would people one hundred years ago or more viewed these same woods?
Some time ago I wrote about Sara Maitland's 'Gossip from the Forest'.
Here she goes to explore what has made the forests and woodland of Britain such magical places - using fairy tales, folklore and historical fact to describe how their personalities have developed over the centuries. It makes for a fascinating read.
For me the woodlands and rivers will remain magical places.
Somewhere I truly feel I belong.