There are times, as the other half will confirm, when I need to escape being indoors and go out somewhere. Often it doesn’t matter where, but it would seem that I do not possess the ability to spend a whole day inside and not experience the world outside of our four walls. I feel trapped.
My favourite place to escape to are the woods and fields that surround the tiny hamlet of Sulham. These are little further away from my current residence, but when I lived with my parents were a short 5 minute walk away. What still amazes me is that there are about 15,000 people that live in my ‘Village’, yet when you head out to the woods and ‘7 ponds’ (as the fields are know locally – named after the dew ponds that sometimes appear) it is quite often that foxes, deer and bunnies will be your only companions.
I have pretty much grown up in Sulham Woods and 7 Ponds. I used to sit in the long grass of the fields and read my famous five books, revise for my exams or just listen to the grass hoppers twitch and the birds chirp their merry tunes. I used to meet with my guide pack in the woodland clearing and cook sausages on trangiers and make sherbert dib dabs. In the winters when I was younger and it actually used to snow, my friends and I would take our sledges to the woods and set up runs down the steep and uneven footpaths, doing our best to avoid the bramble bushes at the bottom. My Mum and I during the spring and summer months would walk in the woods and fields most evenings, stopping to sit on the old tree stump half way along our route which became ‘our spot’ for putting the world to right. I used to roll down the hills there, hug the big trees there, play hide and seek, watch the farmers crops grow, say hello to the horses, pat the cows and play ‘knock ’ems’ with fir cones and conkers. It was even where I taught our dog Basil to sit independently in puddles – much to my parents delight.
On such a beautiful day as this, with a seamlessly blue sky and bright sun light streaming through the window, I regret that I have to be in an office in Wokingham and not the woods and fields at home. I am also starting to feel a pang of guilt that as a town planner I occasionally have to inform the residents of Wokingham that the places they hold dear have just been given planning permission.
Sadly that’s what happens in a country that can’t seem to build enough houses.
I’m just glad my woods and fields are protected nationally. I just don’t share that with the people that live here….