The essence of a walk

What makes a walk in the park a good walk? The sunshine helps a great deal but some people do like to walk in the rain – even sing in the rain. Personally I prefer the sunshine, whether its cold or warm I don’t mind, as long as it’s bright. A bright blue sky with the odd fluffy white cloud makes for a pleasant walk.

In bright sunshine the trees and flowers in the park just seem to jump out in glorious colour, especially in Spring when leaves are brand new and glistening with their vibrant colours. Yes, sunshine is an obvious first choice for me to make a good walk because all the sights in the park just benefit so much from it. And there is so much to see, so that’s another thing that makes walking in the park so good. Every corner you turn there is something new happening. In Spring it’s hard to keep up with events unfolding all over the place.

And then there’s the sound – birds singing or hammering in the case of the woodpeckers. So many different songs.

However just recently it has been aromas that have impinged on our walks in the park. There have been a few places we have noticed Mahonias producing a heady scent in the air but the one aroma that intrigued us was the strong smell of chocolate. At first we thought it must be coming from Cartland’s tearooms as we were so close by. Then a chance encounter with Ranger Dean Paul put us on to the true source a tree by the notice-board, Azara microphylla, the Boxleaf azara. Online information says it smells of vanilla but we say chocolate. It’s against the wall, near the notice-board just outside the nursery – check it out yourself. It has got to be one of the most unusual smells produced by any of the trees or flowers in the park and definitely a high spot of our morning walks at the moment.

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