Text and pics contributed by Simon F.
Having worked long hours for a few days I gave myself Thursday afternoon off and headed out for a walk to get my Government Approved daily exercise. I wasn’t expecting to see too many people out and about at 2pm on a Thursday. I wanted to abide by the 2 metres separation rule so that was fine by me, yet it was eerily quiet as I walked off the housing estate and headed towards the countryside.
I initially followed one of my favourite local walks, heading out along the Sandlings Way. Where the official route headed towards a popular wooded area with a boardwalk path I decided to go a different way. On that path it would be impossible to keep 2 metres away from anyone coming from the other direction, so instead I ventured off along some other tracks and paths I wasn’t familiar with.
I hadn’t seen anyone since stepping out of my front door. For 2 hours I walked without seeing a living soul. I could have been the last man alive. It was slightly unnerving. I did see horses and ponies in fields. I surprised some muntjac deer and rabbits, which were not expecting anyone to venture onto their turf. I watched a hovering kestrel dive down into the undergrowth to catch its next meal. But still no people.
Having completed an improvised circular route I returned to the Sandlings Way to head back home. It was now about 4pm and at last people started to appear on the path. It felt reassuring to know they were there. The peace and quiet was shattered by yapping dogs, joggers and lycra-clad men on bikes. At last it started to feel a bit more ‘normal’, only with everyone quite rightly giving everyone else a wide berth.
This seems to be the way it will be for a while. Walks alone or with fellow housemates will replace our sociable days out in the countryside. But this can’t last forever. I am looking forwards to seeing the rest of Ipswich Outdoor Group when the current crisis subsides.
Stay safe everyone.