31 March 2008

A walk in the park

On Sunday we were promised rain but the early omens were good so I set off on a walk with my younger son (14). His choice of route was a clockwise tour of Richmond Park, a walk of some 15km altogether.

For most of the way around the park there is a choice of three footpaths. The inner path follows the road that goes round the park connecting the five gates that allow traffic in and out of the park (there are several other gates that are for pedestrians and cyclists only). This path is the least interesting and is made unpleasant by the traffic so is used by very few walkers.

The middle path is the one most used by walkers and cyclists and was built specifically for them a few years ago. This path is mostly well away from the road and takes you in to wilder parts of the park. However its popularity is a drawback, as is the mixed use, and at times walking is a battle for space on the path with little opportunity to savour the park.

Luckily there is a third path in many places. This path follows the park wall quite closely and so is the longest route. It is through the grass (and mud) so only appeals to the more earnest explorers, which makes it the best route for enjoying the park as a wild and expansive place.

The photograph shows parts of this path as it follows the Beverley Brook along the northern edge of the park. The brook and trees obviously make this a pleasant place to walk but what I really like about it is that there are no people.

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