Take your lead from Stubbs, head to the woods
ROYAL WOOTTON BASSETT
BRADFORD ON AVON
Now that we can wander further from home, Georgie Green says why not spend time with friends and neighbours and go for a walk.
WE HAD a wonderful dog once called Stubbs, he was a Kerry Blue Terrier and came from Battersea Dogs Home. In a moment of madness someone living in the centre of London, thought it was a good idea to buy two puppies and like any puppy, they grow, they need lots of exercise and being a large terrier, they are dogs best suited to the freedom of the countryside not a life in the city. For these reasons, the two dogs ended up at Battersea. Fortunately, the other dog found a family in the countryside and Stubbs came home with us to Wiltshire.
He quickly settled into his new home and initially, we kept him on the lead but when we let him off for the first time, he disappeared through the woods and across the fields at speed relishing his new found freedom. He eventually came back and for several weeks when out walking we had to keep on a retractable lead.
Our walks would involve extending the lead and then calling him back, praising him and giving him a reward for coming back to us. This process continued, and I am pleased to say when we let him off the lead again, he always came back to us.
When Stubbs was diagnosed with cancer, and we knew he was not going to be around for much longer. My daughter, who was eight years old at the time, came up with the idea of one last big walk whilst he was still well enough, with all his, and our canine and human friends. We sent out invitations and all met up in a field in the village. The route took us through a bluebell wood, the scent was almost over powering with the blue carpet covering the woodland floor. Every year when they appear it always feels as if it is some form of miracle.
BERWICK ST JAMES
BROAD CHALKE TOLLARD
Above: Wiltshire Life keeps you in touch with what’s going on, wherever you are in the county.
the county including: Hagbourne Copse near Swindon, Clouts Wood in Wroughton and Blackmoor Copse near Salisbury.
In the past, woodlands were often perceived as threatening places, where bluebells would ring summoning fairies and goblins to gather. Therefore, it was thought that if you walked through the wood disturbing the bluebells, at the same time it would release all sorts of spells, which would bring bad luck.
What is bad luck, is to pick them. They are a protected flower in the UK with a fine of up to £5,000 for anyone caught doing so.
Wiltshire Wildlife Trust manages several woodlands where you can see bluebells across
In the language of flowers, the bluebell symbolises constancy, humility and gratitude, words that reflect so much of what we have all encountered over many months both in ourselves and in others.
Now that we can get together, why not plan a walk with a small group of friends and neighbours and encourage someone, who may just need to share some time with others by suggesting a walk in the Wiltshire countryside. WL
Bluebells in West Woods, Wiltshire
I feel as if we have all been on retractable leads for too long. For more than a year we have been on tight leash and on occasions when we have been given a little bit of extra line, just as we get a sense of freedom, there is a sudden jolt as we are pulled back in again and our movement is restricted once more.
As the months progress and we start to meet up with family and friends, for many people this re-discovered freedom will be welcomed and fully embraced, but there will be others who will struggle to leave the enforced confinement we have become used to. Just as we have been looking out for our neighbours through lockdown, let us continue to catch up over the garden wall and check they are okay.