One thing I really miss about UK (actually there is more than one thing) is the gentle pleasant country side walks. I was going through my photos this week and found a Sheepleas walk that I did five years ago this month. It bought back wonderful memories.
在台灣生活，其中最懷念一項英國的活動是遠足。 最近翻看舊照片，5年前的6月份去了倫敦50公里外一處名為 Sheepleas 的地方。沿途視野廣闊，四周綠草如茵。在英國遠足非常輕鬆，走的路沒有台灣那麼陡，是真正的郊遊而不是爬山。
In case you're wondering, Lea is an old English word for meadows, and sheep's used to graze here, hence the name Sheepleas. Sheepleas is a beautiful wildlife reserve area in the North Downs at Surrey, South West of London. It has a great diversity of landscape and was designated as a SSSI - Site of Specific Scientific Interest in 1975.
I remember I found a hiking guide for the Sheepleas walk from the internet. The walk was nearly 14km and it took me just over 4 hours. That's a sharp contrast to the walks I do in Taiwan now which takes my anything up to 7 or 8 hours to do less than 10km because the walks are so mountainous here. The Sheepleas Walk is very flat and it was very relaxing.
The walk started at the Sheepleas Green Dene car park. From there, I followed the guide and ventured into the woods. It is said that these ancient woodlands date back to 400 years old. There is nothing in these woods other than nature, and it wasn't too difficult to forget that I was in the modern days.
Actually, I'm lying. Somewhere along the walk, I did some signs of the modern day world. This isn't near any road and there was nothing else nearby. I have no idea what it was doing here. I moved on...
There are many paths in the Sheepleas woodlands and it can be a bit confusing sometimes. Luckily all this was documented clearly in my guide and I didn't get lost at all.
And when it does gets too confusing, there's always a sign post. Which way should I go now?
The Sheepleas walk is great for all year round and there are different natural habitat in every month of the year. The area is most famous for its undulating view and and the cowslip meadows which bloom around May. I think I caught the back end of it when I went in June. There were also a lot of foxgloves, and these fungi growing on the log. Fungi are very deceptive because they look so beautiful yet to the untrained eye, I hear many are poisonous. Best left alone.
Sheepleas is located on the outskirts of London, some 50km away. On a good clear day, one can see London from Sheepleas. I remember I took this photo near the end of my walk. I had walked nearly 13km, and whilst it wasn't too strenuous, I didn't mind a rest. Suddenly I saw a bench on the right hand side of the path. As I walked towards it, and looked right I saw this breathtaking veiw afield. I sat here for a while, not because I was tired, but because..... who wouldn't?
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