I have always liked walking and now my iPhone encourages me to do even more by counting my steps for me. The target is 10,000 steps a day but I do not get that much opportunity doing most working hours (it depends where I am working, London is good and everywhere else is bad) so I am making more of an effort to get out for short brisk local walks.
The shortest of these routes takes me all around Ham Common in just under half an hour and I have lots of longer circular routes available. One of the longest takes me into the gardens of Ham House which, as a member of the National Trust, I can get into for free.
I broke all sorts of personal rules this time and went around the gardens clockwise, starting with The Cherry Garden on the east side of the house. I think it is the first time that I have done the gardens in that order as going counter-clockwise means that I end on a high-note with The Cherry Garden and the borders around it.
Having been replaced a couple of years ago the new lavenders had reached their full size and the garden was looking at its best.
The back of the house was looking very good too with the Winter sun shining directly on it. The row of pots on the terrace were a relatively recent addition and I like the detail they add.
Moving out on to The Plats (the lawn area that is split into eight square parts by wide gravel paths) gave me a fuller view of the back of the house, which I much prefer to its dark and fussy front.
I avoided The Wilderness at the southern end of the garden as the grassy paths were wet and there was little to see in the patchwork of little gardens formed by the hedges. I love The Wilderness but it is a Summer place.
Instead, I moved straight to the walled vegetable garden and the Orangery cafe where I rewarded myself with a coffee and some cake.
Once again I was reminded of how lucky I am to have Ham House just the right distance away, about a mile, for a reasonable walk.