Autumn walks at Yorkshire Arboretum
One thing I think we can all agree on is that lockdown isn’t easy, but it is necessary. When you have a young child though, and not much in the way of a garden, you have to think creatively about how you can get outside, enjoy a bit of nature, but most importantly stay safe and stick within the guidelines.
Rather than just resign myself to a walk around the block during lockdown marque II, a couple of weekends back, when the crisp Autumn sunshine was shining, I thought about places to visit where we could enjoy a bit of outdoors time and which would, hopefully, not have too many crowds. On the same estate as one of my favourite places to visit, Castle Howard, sits the Yorkshire Arboretum 120 acres of space at just over half an hour drive away. Perfect.
We had to book online as they are following strict guidelines about how many people to admit, and when to admit them to avoid crowds developing, so I booked online that morning. It seemed like a few people had had a similar idea since the only slot I could get was 2pm, but that was fine, so I booked it. It was sunny as I left home, but about 5 miles away from home a thick fog descended and my heart sank! Would I even be able to see anything when I got there? I decided to press on anyway, and I’m glad I did.
I won’t say the fog had lifted completely by the time we arrived, but the mist was quite atmospheric, it was definitely a good choice of location given how few people there were, and so much space. In fact, I was quite struck that there weren’t more families with children to be honest as it seems like the perfect place to run off all of that toddler energy. The Arboretum is so spacious, with so many wild and wonderful trees. The giant Oak trees certainly provided wonderment for the little lady, whilst I was wowed by the vivid colours of the Japanese Maple trees. The one in my front garden certainly bears no resemblance.
There’s nowhere to buy refreshments at the moment, but luckily I had packed a flask of hot coffee in my backpack, so after chasing an excitable 2 year old around such expansive grounds I was able to sit at one of the benches overlooking the beautiful lake, and enjoy a tranquil coffee. I’m so used to just being able to turn up at a cafe wherever I go and get a coffee that I’m having to learn a whole new way of operating, but then I guess we all are. We weren’t out for hours, but the time that we did spend immersed in nature in the fading Autumn light just allowed for a couple of hours escape from the craziness that is life at the moment.
There isn’t much to thank Coronavirus for, but discovering beautiful places to visit near to home is definitely one of the positive outcomes of this whole situation, and sometimes it pays to look at the positives.