Part-inspiration, part practical ‘how to do it, who to do it with’ guide, the creative, the quirky and the more traditional come together to offer a more holistic vision of nature.
Here are a few suggestions from the book:
1. The Ancient Coastal Paint Palette
In Britain, we’re evangelical about the coast. Yet how many of us can say we’ve experienced it in the spirit of our artistically inclined Neolithic ancestors? The earth, we seem to have forgotten, is an artist’s apothecary. It’s time to change that though: on a day that starts with a walk along Staithes Beach on the wild North Yorkshire coast to ‘harvest’ ochre from the cliffs and rocks, and ends with a seafood picnic feast and a session of natural paint-making using the earth pigment. There’s a wild beauty and sensuality to making art in this way.
The art of horse whispering
There’s something magical about the relationship between humans and horses. But wild herds or retired horses aside, rarely are horses allowed to roam freely and to live as a herd animal, as nature intended. By the same token, rarely do we get to spend time with horses without jumping into the saddle. Happily, hidden away on the edge of Dartmoor National Park is a place where you can ‘join’ a herd and learn the compelling art of horse whispering. No riding skills needed, just a desire to connect with Harry, Arthur, William and Tristan, the handsome (also cheeky and noble) quartet who make the magic happen.
A Forage and Feast
‘Autumn presents the perfect medium of warmth, cold, rain and sun that fungi just love.’ says Mina Said-Allsop, who leads foraging walks in and around Leeds. Yorkshire’s capital is home to some of Britain’s largest country parks, studded with lakes, woods and parkland. Mina, one of the few – if not the only – black, female, Muslim professional foragers in the country, and knows just where to find the edible delights in these urban oases. Working with nature is in her blood: back in Kenya, her birthplace, her mother is a herbalist. The best bit? The feasts which cap Mina’s walks are wildly creative and reflect her multicultural culinary influences.
A Full-Moon Meander
The moon is the source of myth, the setting of tales, and the inspiration for worship. Yet how often do even the most ardent of nature lovers set out to walk with the light of the moon to guide us? Rarely, which is a shame. For nature is different at night. We are different. Familiar landscapes become terra incognito and you get the best beauty spots to yourself. Why not head to Suffolk and join a nocturnal hike at the eco-friendly Ivy Grange Farm? They’re free – whether you’re a guest or not. The gentle hikes last anywhere from two to three hours and the route differs from month to the month.
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