RACHEL FOX

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Rufford Abbey Country Park

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My parents came at the weekend and I wanted to take them somewhere we had never previously been. We love a country walk, taking in new surroundings and appreciating the beauty of natural landscapes.

Rufford Abbey Country Park was a location with very positive reviews and therefore we decided to take a trip to the park. What I loved about the whole day the most was being able to take a step-back from work to clear my mind for a few hours - the tranquil woodland, meadow and gardens really helped with refreshing my metal clarity. I didn’t expect there to be a lake, however it spanned the circumference of the walking track; it was a crisp and winter-sun day which added to the appeal.

The grounds were immaculate with well laid out paths, circle walks, beautiful forests, with lots of wildlife floating and flying around; it was a bird and squirrel paradise.

We also had a look around the romantic ruins of Rufford’s 12th century abbey. I found it very interesting reading the history of the house, the family, and the ghosts said to haunt the site. The fine mansion was much embellished and extended in the 18th and 19th centuries. However it suffered neglect in the early 20th century and was largely demolished in the 1950s. I find it hard to believe that this has gone from a grand country mansion to ruins in just over 60 years.

There was one sculpture in particular on our walk that really stood out to me. “The hand” was based on the Makaton, modern picture language, symbol meaning “good”. It was designed by young people with disabilities and their carers and comprised of symbols and pictures expressing some of their everyday experiences. I thought this was an inspiring project that brought people together to share the difficulties they face accessing parks and leisure spaces. It is such a supportive initiative.

I know it is such a simple thing just walking round a new picturesque place, however I have learnt that it is doing things like this that really helps me stay present and appreciate the surroundings, rather than getting caught up in the constant cycle of work. I was able to fully live in the moment and switch my overactive mind off from my to-list waiting at home; this in itself was an achievement for me. I am try to start doing something like this every couple of weeks, to take time for myself. I am always told that the best ideas come to you when you least expect them to and when they are not being forced - I really need to start listening to this advice.

Rachel

LeisureRachel Fox