Mountains may represent the ultimate in landscape drama, but the gentle lowland countryside of England is, to my mind, no second best, and its subtle beauty, unique light and harmony of colours can inspire and sustain all who approach it with an open mind and an eye for grace.
It's not just the physical landscape of neatly folding hills and chequerboard farmland, but the buildings too that are settled in it, and the gardens and parklands that create a sense of care and belonging, which bring a special dimension to each exploration.
In the 19th century Richard Jefferies rightly said: 'They only know a country who are acquainted with its footpaths. By the roads, indeed, the outside may be seen; but the footpaths go through the heart of the land.'
This is the countryside I love above all others, for it spells home, and every single day spent wandering its paths has been a cause for rejoicing - no matter what the season or weather. Now, if you want to explore somewhere new, get a bit of exercise, or be reminded of our heritage of natural beauty, let me invite you to share a day or two's exploration. Forget preconceived notions, open all your senses, and England's 'green and pleasant land' will come alive - and you with it.
South of London, Kent and Sussex are sometimes maligned by being described as the 'overcrowded south-east', for there are those who imagine these counties to be covered in tarmac, concrete and brick. Hah! Three books of day-walks will show this to be a long way from the truth . . .
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