One of the lovely aspects of living in England are its beautiful wide-open spaces that are freely assessible. Some of these are in the form of country parks that try to combine natural beauty and wild life with a well-managed facility, often with a significant volunteer input working alongside local authorities.
I found myself in the past week, because of circumstances rather than as a result of a well planned trip out, visiting two country parks, hundreds of miles apart. One, Herrington, is a development that took over a disused coal mine site, comprising hills, lakes, open spaces, just outside Sunderland, that I had visited before but given an opportunity that had arisen I was able to do so again, along with friends. Another, Highwoods, is a mix of woodland, open spaces, lake and meadows, which is close to Colchester town centre and is surrounded by housing, I visited for the first time by myself, given I had time to kill while waiting for my wife who was attending a course at the local hospital, I decided I would check this out. I could walk parts of both parks, quite different yet both pleasant to do so.
While I could see in both parks room for improvement, it would be churlish to criticize given the joy I had. Both are fantastic facilities, open to the public and free. I was grateful for the opportunity to visit both these parks and should I return to either area I would gladly try to visit again to exercise, chill out and meditate.