Tuesday, December 8, 2020

 Day Trip from London

This year, cycling has become one of my ways to escape from the real world. Just me and my bike on the road or a muddy trail.

The day after the U.S. 2020 election on the 4th of November, I needed an escape. At that point, I was devasted. Honestly, I was pissed off at America and couldn’t believe the election results. I had to get out of our flat, out of London and away from the news.

My escape plan was to take my bike on the train partway and then ride out in the English countryside. I was able to book a timeslot to Wakehurst – a beautiful botanical garden consisting of 500 acres set in the heart of West Sussex. The gardens were donated to the National Trust in 1963 and then leased to the Royal Botanic Gardens, part of Kew Gardens, starting in 1965. With our Kew membership, I was able to enter the gardens for free.

The weather that day was perfect with a slight autumnal chill in the air, but bright blue skies. Getting out of the city and escaping to nature was the exact antidote I needed at the time. 

I avoided getting too close to the 16th-century mansion on site because there were too many people gathered around there. Instead, I wandered through the garden paths and into the woodlands.

The gardens were filled with brilliant shades of red and gold. Maple trees were at their peak. Even some camellias and rhododendrons were already blooming since we had experienced a mild autumn.

Westwood Valley at Wakehurst 

The Westwood Valley is supposed to represent the landscape of the eastern Himalaya below the tree-line, with semi-evergreen forests of rhododendrons, limes, magnolias, maples, alders, oaks, birches and pine trees. The valley has a large pond as well as a wetlands area.

After walking around nature for two hours by myself, I was able to feel more peaceful. However, I was able to take my anger out again later when I had to ride up some steep inclines by an area aptly called Turner Hill.


So, how are you coping with this crazy year?


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Alan said...

It's a beautiful place Joy, I remember it well, and your photos compliment it. To answer your closing question, I see this year as a very minor blip in a very bleak path to the future. Human-induced climate change has passed the tipping point of no return regardless of any remedial measures that could be taken (but wont be). So keep recording the beauty that yet surrounds us and leave a record for our grandchildren's generation - 'Paradise Lost'!