Country Walking editor Guy writes...
Not long ago while wandering along an unpromising bit of housing estate near where I live, I followed my nose in a rather desultory mood down a gravelly track between high wooden fences. It was dark and narrow and the sort of place I imagined would end in a row of lock-up garages or a rusty play park. But when the fences ended in fact I came to this gate, and I knew from the glossy finish imparted by thousands of hands I had found a footpath I knew nothing about that was evidently popular with locals.
It led me down through a field of a steepness I didn't think we had round here, into a woodland I never knew was there, bordered by a chalk stream whose soft chuckle was a balm to whatever was bothering me that afternoon. I didn't see anyone else, and I haven't since I've returned, and I'm beginning to wonder if that polish on the gate has been leant by one person over a hundred years, rather than hundreds in a shorter time. Anyway, it's a place I've found and added to my mental pocket-book of places I can slip away to for a bit of walking restoration self-improvement – and it's a place I wouldn't have found had I not been doing #walk1000miles and being in the habit of clocking up miles and half-miles whenever I get the chance.
I'd love to hear from anyone else who's found new places to disappear to near them, made a chance discovery after accepting the invitation offered by a pointing footpath sign, or loves walking somewhere they never thought they would. Big or small, it doesn't matter. Will you share? I'd like to put some in the mag to emphasise the point that not all delightful discoveries are preceded by a long drive; and walking is often wonderful outside well-known (or even slightly-known) destinations!