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Thursday, 16 August 2012

Solvitur ambulando

In my experience there aren't many problems which a good walk can't put into a better perspective. I love to walk, especially in the countryside. In Leicestershire we are lucky to have some beautiful places in which to walk and one of my favourites is Wistow which is only about five or six miles from the City Centre. This special place was originally known as Wistanstowe which means the holy place of Wistan and the church there is named after him.

Wistan was a Christian prince of Mercia who, in 849 A.D. was murdered by his cousin who coveted the throne. Families hey!

Legend has it that on 1st June every year human hair is reputed to grow through the grass in Wistow Churchyard. I've always meant to take time out and go and have a look but I've not made it yet.
Something to look forward to - I think!

From the church you can cross a little wooden bridge, go through a gate and into the fields. I love these fields. The River Sence winds through them although at certain times of year it is more like a stream than a river.

It does flood badly here though, (which is why burials ceased in the churchyard in 1873), and the the Sence really does look like a river at those times.

Sometimes there are sheep in the fields and in the Spring time you can walk amongst the bleating lambs. I love sheep - they are so soft and gentle, not like cows which are a bit too curious and space-invading for my liking.

Next to one of the stiles someone has nailed a piece of wood for form a bird table. There is often a sprinkling of seed placed there for the birds to feed upon. I often wonder who has done that and think they must be a very nice person!

In early Summer one of the fields is a carpet of buttercups which send your shoes yellow from their pollen and in the Winter time the wood on the opposite side of the narrow lane brims with snowdrops and aconites. At the top of the fields is the canal where you can wave to people on their narrow boats or those whizzing by on the train, as the main Leicester to London line borders the canal for a short way.

So I walk across these fields, sometimes talking to whoever is with me, sometimes exchanging a few words with another walker or their dog and sometimes thinking things through. I know that whatever life is throwing at me, I will feel better for coming here.

If I have a writing problem such as a plot which won't reveal itself or a character whom I can't quite get to grips with then this is definitely the place to come.

But I don't just save Wistow for testing times. Although I live in the City now, I am a country girl at heart and I need a regular dose of rural Leicestershire for my wellbeing. So I go to Wistow as often as I can and truly believe that I am a better person for it.

St. Augustine said "Solvitur ambulando" - "In walking it is solved".

For me, more often than not, this is true.


  1. We used to go to Wistow regularly when we had the dog, although he was always far too interested in the sheep! I never knew about the hair. That's yuk! I do agree that a walk can refresh and inspire, though. Might pop up there today and have tea and cake - you forgot to mention the cafe!

    1. Oh have a lovely time if you go. I thought I'd mention the cafe, garden centre and shops another time. Sometimes, in the Winter, when we go to the fields we take a flask of tea or coffee with a nip of whisky or Bailey's and some biccies and sit on one of those benches by the canal and watch the world go by very slowly. Bliss!

    2. Lovely pictures of Wistow is a lovely place...adn for ages, I've simply driven through there....must stop and stare next time.
      I also adore the quote by St Augustine - in walking it is solved.

      So true.....whatever the problem/dilemna/question...I always feel better after a walk in the countryside.

    3. Yes do take time to stop. Boo would love a walk across the fields and a swim in the water - you too, but not the swim obviously! You can always pop across the road for tea and cake afterwards and a nice browse amongst the plants, even buy a nice handbag from one of the little shops - it's the perfect way to spend a couple of hours.