Sunlight gently filters into the woodland. We walk deeper into Nomansland on this cool Spring morning. We breathe in the clean air and tread the soft earth amidst hundreds of trees, blending and running into each other, each one growing towards the light, their branches tangled and trunks twisted into their own unique shapes.
Situated close to Harpenden between Wheathampsted and Sandridge, Nomansland common is over fifty hectares of woodland and rolling grassland; a popular open space for dog walking, horse riding and model aircraft flying. Wheathampsted cricket club is close by and cricket has been played on the common since the mid 1800s.
As the common lies between two parishes, during the 15th century the monasteries of St Albans and Westminster both contested ownership, so it became known as No Man’s Land and for this reason was never developed. The land is currently owned by the Althorpe estate and Wheathampsted Parish council.
It’s hard to believe that we’re only two miles away from St Albans as nature here feels undisturbed. There is always an enchanting quality when I’m in the presence of trees and I feel as if I become part of the landscape. Some Oak and Birch trees are close to a hundred years old, their fallen branches providing the perfect habitat for all sorts of wildlife.
Springtime is here, the choir of birdsong overrides any traffic noise in the distance. The tree branches are budding and the only sign of colour is yellow clusters of flowers on the heather. I enjoy walking along the woodland path with my husband, he grew up surrounded by the countryside and seems totally at peace in his natural habitat.
We stop for a picnic. I’ve made some ham and cheese sandwiches and it feels good to eat in the open air. The occasional puppy dashes over and raids our space, wagging their tails curious to sniff out what we are doing and eat our food.
As we turn towards the road and onto the common, our mood shifts. Walking in woodland feels meditative and quietens my thoughts. As we walk across the grass, it feels expansive and open, the sky feels low and we stride out onto the sloping green, dogs running in the distance.
We end our walk with a pint and a half of ale at the Wicked Lady, just where I want to be; relaxing in a huge armchair, and this time wearing my wellies covered in mud!
http://marisalaycock.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/imgID125225498.jpg.gallery.jpg1681200misarocks31http://marisalaycock.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/MSLlogoWb-300x69.pngmisarocks312018-05-02 00:00:032018-07-05 20:32:28Woodland walk