Bike exploring: The New Forest
Brockenhurst New Forest Loop. Just under 12 miles of easy going forest trails and tarmac. A great all year ride, perfect for families. The route starts and stops in the pretty little town of Brockenhurst.
A small ponder along green lush woodlands, passing old oak trees and wide open spaces along south of the river where the pace is a bit slower and the wildlife from Jays to Woodpeckers awaits you around the corner.
The inspiration for me to have found my little green-escapes in London after ticking off some endurance adventures such as cycling 4,000km around the whole of Spain or doing a Triathlon across 3 countries, was simply because I needed it. Not a need in a way of, it is a good thing to have or to enjoy it (even though I do), but actually an essential element for me to feeling and being mentally, emotionally and physically well.
We all know that being in nature is good for us, but I would add - it is a basic human need, that is essential to have.
My last burnout around 2-years ago reminded me of that. I'd been very active and driven in one particular field when my body simply had hit a limit and needed time to rest, recover and process.
This showed itself as a non-stop cycle of negative thoughts; small tasks felt like big challenges and the harder I tried the more overwhelmed I felt - productivity and peace adieu! I broke down to the point where I simply could only do the basic things of sleep, eat, go to work, show up the best I could while only looking forward to going home again and repeat the cycle. Not getting sucked into my negative head during this time was the challenge.
What helped was not to resist what was happening, but to slowly pay attention to my basic needs and to trust when my body was coming back - my mind would settle and stop it’s over-reacted tantrum. And it did.
I started to pay more attention on my needs and adjusted the amount required including nature time & green, and with this I recovered well and with stronger roots and clarity of what my particular body needs more than before.
But now enough of me.
It is a tricky one when you want to go out and explore or be in the green and everything just feels like a logistical challenge, giving you plenty of reasons not to go.
The key is to keep it small to start with, so it's easy to do it again and again.
TQ 244 758
Starting point is either Putney train station or Putney Bridge station on the District Line.
Taking the latter, you start with a nice little stroll across Putney Bridge and once on the other side, you turn into Lower Richmond Road. Here you can fuel up with a good morning coffee either by visiting Grind or Smugglers, two cafes who know how to make a punchy, well served coffee.
Once you're done with your cuppa, you keep walking along lower Richmond Road until your eyes see the green, a vast park like common to your left and opposite on the other street, a wild, bushy, lush Lower Putney Common.
Keep walking along the road until you come to the church with the little graveyard to the right and opposite on the other side of the road, a small little path welcomes you to the woodland with old oak trees and chestnut trees whose leaves are bigger than both of my hands. There's always the temptation to give them a high-five.
After a short walk you will see a small path appearing through your right, well cleared amongst wild green scrubs. After a couple of metres you see another common appear, surrounded by trees and just more green; more on a wild side instead of a park which gives it, its extra touch.
Keep walking and it feels like walking in a little fairy tale woodland as the trees appear to have shrunk.
Cross the street and follow another little path amongst the green. In spring time you can get to see blue-bells and other wild-flowers of pink and yellow colours.
A couple of other hidden paths lead you to Barnes, a village town right at the outskirts of London where you can take a breather sitting on the bench, watching the swans on the pond or feed the birds with responsible bird food sold by the council.
Once rested, continue your walk through the village towards the River Thames where it widens and you can watch the rowers knocking out there training rounds. Walk up to Barnes Bridge station following a little path across the bridge and immediately after you have crossed it, a staircase appears to your right, which you must descend.
Ignore the Thames Path and follow the path that passes the boat house. As you keep walking you will enter another lovely patch of green along the river until you see the hint to your your final destination: Chiswick Markets.
Once you have enjoyed the flair of the market, you can go the same way back or make a little adjustment as shown on the map!
It's good to find a little walk, that at the start may take a bit to get your head around, but can become your bi-weekly escape and fuel up for green and sanity.
Finish - 5.1 km
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Nadine has a passion for discovery. She has created her own endurance adventures with the ambition to physically challenger herself, learn something new and to connect to new places and people. She is a published author now working on her second book, but when shes not busy, she enjoys giving talks and coaching others.