Guest Blog - Take the High Road!

I love this time of year, maybe its because its the month of my birthday or maybe its marking a change not just in seasons but in attitude too.

The daftness of the last few hot months, where we all sweltered either on holiday or in our own homes, is behind us and we have new ideas of things we would like to do and achieve on the lead up to the next mad calendar event, Christmas.

I awake early as the sun streams through the bedroom window. I put on an extra layer as the mornings have cooled quite suddenly and make my way to my favourite escape.

If I arrive early before the visitor centre opens I wander along the side of the Garden Centre with the River Trent on my right to the bridge where I check to see if the heron is sitting in the river. I then continue to the church or to the golf course before retracing my steps back.

As an annual ticket holder I love being one of the first through the doors. There is a little community of regular early birds, some more regular than others. I have to admit to being a bit more hit and miss although with such wonderful weather through the summer it has become a must do to my day. I head over the bridge turning right into the floral labyrinth with its bright flowers and high grasses. Already the colours are just starting to change.

Then onto the formal garden where I can look down to Perseus who commands the head of the lake.

I wander up to and through the collection of small show gardens which gives ideas for your own garden from a sensory area, wildlife winter garden to an allotment and a meadow garden. Past the large towering fir trees adjacent to the children’s play area. I turn right and head through the gate taking the main track opposite which heads upwards through the events field and to the side of the wood. The fresh smell of early morning hits me and I notice how green everything has suddenly become  after being parched by the long hot summer months. Those rain showers have washed away the dry dustiness leaving everything looking much more refreshed.

At the top you can look down on the lake sparkling below. I love this route, its quiet as there are few others that take this track, most stick to hugging the side of the lake. Having ideas of grandeur, at this time of day it can almost feel like its your own private estate! Other regular walkers have said they prefer the opposite way around as it is less undulating, not as many inclines.

I pass the deserted small white house into the magnolia grove. This track joins the main lake path and I now take the lower path by the side of the lake. This side of the lake always feels warmer, when the sun is out and I have time I like to sit on one of the well placed benches and let the sun warm my face. Enjoying the quiet, the stillness other than the singing birds, the feeding and flapping swans or the playful ducks on the lake.

I continue around, past the edge of the Monkey Forest where sometimes you can see one of the early bird monkeys sitting enjoying the sun high up in one of the trees, along to the cafe and rowing club, up past the little train and the boat jetty. Checking as I go the beautiful silver fairies twinkling in the sunshine.

By the time I get to the bridge I feel energised, calm, relaxed, refreshed like the trees and ready to start my day.

I have also done just less than 3 miles and a few thousand steps. Its so much better than a gym!

Sam Hall, Annual Ticket Holder

For more information on becoming an Annual Ticket Holder and the privileges that go with it, please visit our Annual Ticket page