(Disclaimer: the places mentioned and the photographs taken in this post occurred before the current UK lockdown, and at the time of being taken, were in line with the government guidelines put in place.)

The daily walk. The slither of normality. The regular parole from our otherwise and current ‘behind-closed-doors’ lives.

Whilst we are now emerging into a post-lockdown world, for some, staying local still remains to be a comfort blanket. For me, over the last year, daily walks have become implemented in my lockdown lifestlye.

Whilst at times restricted by postcode boundaries, it forced me to rediscover snippets of my local area- and what a discovery it has been.

Savernake Forest, November 2020 (Photo by: Declan Wallace [@decwallace on Instagram])

Crisp woodland walks have now become a norm, as have mud-ridden wellies and blushed cheeks from the winter cold. I have now fallen in love with regional areas that I didn’t know even existed before March last year.

The eerie silhouettes of trees in the West Woods have provided comfort and figures in an otherwise empty and isolated forest (as well as a chance to recreate Taylor Swift’s ‘Evermore’ album cover!). Meanwhile, the sun-kissed mornings in the Cotwolds have become a welcoming light in early starts.

As I’ve walked past strangers in the Savernake Forest, their socially-distanced nods and “hello” greetings have become a vital reminder of how we must continue to stay connected whilst we are forced to stay apart.

Getting out and exploring my local area has also given me an appreciation for it’s natural beauty more than ever. I have managed to witness its seasonal transitions. The green shades of summer warming into Autumnal golds and browns, the trees becoming canopies for winter precipitation, or our own natural parasols to protect from the sun’s blinding lights.

When the world has become overwhelming with daily statistics and melancholy news, the daily walks have been a breath of fresh air (both physically and metaphorically).

Overall, these walks have become an exploration, and new adoration, for my local area. Despite the easing of restrictions now offering the chance to explore beyond our postcodes, I’ll still never forget to revisit these local hotspots for an occassional walk.

Bowood, November 2020 (Photo by: Declan Wallace [@decwallace on Instagram])

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