Share a Great British walk in the woods

Thursday 04 October 2012
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National Trust walking champion, Chloe Bradbooke, tells us about her Great British Walk at Nymans in West Sussex. One of my favourite walks is through Nymans woods, so familiar (I’m the Ranger here), but it never fails to lift my spirits. You enter many different dimensions from enclosed tunnels of arching canopy to expansive views through the wildflower meadows.

Bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scriptus) ©National Trust Images/John Millar Bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scriptus) ©National Trust Images/John Millar

 

Sandstone paths take you past broad beeches, sturdy oaks and even the tallest tree in Sussex: a majestic redwood.

©National Trust Images/Clive Nichols ©National Trust Images/Clive Nichol

 

Sandy rock faces are crossed by serpentine roots, dressed with delicate emerald ferns and a myriad of wildflowers that change subtly through the seasons.

A close view of the leaves from the Acer 'Senkaki' tree, a type of Maple tree at Nymans in West Sussex 54366 Restrictions ©National Trust Images/Stephen Robson A close view of the leaves from the Acer 'Senkaki' tree, a type of Maple tree at Nymans in West Sussex ©National Trust Images/Stephen Robson

 

Waterfalls and wildlife It’s a real treat for the senses: splashing cascades, the flash of a kingfisher, serene lake waters or wide flower-filled rides bustling with butterflies and dragonflies. When alone, I’m often treated to special sights: coming eye-to-eye with a shy deer or a grass snake warming itself in a sunny glade.

©National Trust Images/John Millar ©National Trust Images/John Millar

 

Walking with history This walk isn’t only immersed in natural beauty, it’s also steeped in history. It passes through the site of ancient iron workings, a boulder used as a pulpit and deep droves that are centuries’ old. You’ll see cascades built by returned WW1 soldiers, a pleasure lake created for Victorian gentry and a grove thought to be haunted by the ghost of a desperate highwayman.

View over the surrounding countryside from Nymans, West Sussex, in June. ©National Trust Images/Clive Nichols View over the surrounding countryside from Nymans, West Sussex, in June.
©National Trust Images/Clive Nichols

 

I can’t help having one ranger’s eye open looking for jobs, checking on regeneration, pouncing on a rhododendron seedling or picking litter but I still never fail to lose myself in a moment - even just the sun coming through the trees.

©National Trust Images/Clive Nichols ©National Trust Images/Clive Nichols

 

There’s always something different depending on the time of day, week or year and I think how lucky I am that walking here is part of my job. Find your Great British Walk Want to experience a Great British Walk for yourself? Download a trail to explore Nymans or find another Great British Walk that inspires you. And if you add your favourite walk to our map you could win a stay in one of our holiday cottages. On Twitter? Tweet us about your Great British Walk @nationaltrust using the #GBwalk hashtag. And if you’re on Facebook, you’ll find us at facebook.com/nationaltrust. Happy walking! This is a guest post by Chloe Bradbrooke, Senior Ranger at Nymans woods  

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