Just like love, our beloved countryside is patient with those that ramble along the pathways, exploring the endless horizons. It does not judge when we take a wrong turn, need to consult the map or simply walk with no place to go. It soaks up our laughter, tears and shouts with no complaints; simply waiting, holding those memories for us to return to next time.
With a view to take your breath away around every corner, love is also full of surprises. With every season brings a new wonder, changes that spring up with joyous abandon, and yet like love, we return time after time. The Countryside and Rights of Way Act embodies our delirious romanticism by enabling us, on those rare work-free days, to release the urban shackles and breathe in the fresh air, reinvigorating souls and refreshing minds with calm beauty.
Just like love, our relationship with our rural landscapes takes many forms. Viewed from a window, pounded by hooves and feet, looked down on from great heights of air and rock, and explored from mountain to sea; there's no right or wrong way of enjoying our darling countryside. It's here that no matter how muddy, breathless or lost one gets, there is only one measure of exactly who loves the hills more- the size of your smile.
“What is it about the English countryside---why is the beauty so much more than visual? Why does it touch one so?” ― Dodie Smith; I Capture the Castle
Just like love, the countryside is a constant source of inspiration. Take our renowned writers and artists for example, whose muse of moorland and vast hills created classics such as Wuthering Heights or All Creatures Great and Small and paintings by Constable and Turner. Only in the countryside, can one sit in a warm and cosy pub, while looking at the rolling hills, reading Pride and Prejudice and feel completely at home. Local artists can be found tucked away in galleries and workshops across the land. Languishing in the peace and quiet of our rural communities, they enable the nature on their doorstep to spill on to pages, canvas and into other medium, to be loved and shared once more.
Want to profess your love affair with the hills this Valentines Day? Invest in the gorgeous businesses, people and organisations who care and create the culture and atmosphere we love so well. If you are already married to the rural lifestyle, you will know of the community bred out of such a love. Feel the pull of the local shop, school or cafe and hear stories passed down by generations, knowing that just like you - the people are deeply in love with their lifestyle and invested in caring for it for years to come. I encourage you not to flirt with the idea of the country, but to jump in with both feet, embrace your feelings and get ready for a long term coupling to take hold. It is rare that anyone who has courted the countryside has ever received a broken heart, so what are you waiting for?