Bringing the outdoors indoors…
‘There’s no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothes’ so the age-old saying goes. But as the autumn approaches and the weather starts to turn, no doubt there will be some days to come where long walks in the Dales or Moors will have to be put on hold.
But how to get your countryside fix when the rain is lashing down and the wind threatens to steal your map from your grasp? By bringing the outdoors indoors with Open Country’s Audio Walks.
A ‘Covid creation’, we began recording and sharing Audio Walks during the first lockdown, mainly for our members and volunteers who were missing our countryside activities. In normal times we lead up to 15 activities a week to help people with a disability to access and enjoy the countryside in North and West Yorkshire. We soon realised the Audio Walks had a broader appeal to anyone who enjoys the outdoors and not just local people.
The recordings are between 20 and 25 minutes long and provide an aural snapshot of the sights, sounds, smells and experiences of a wander through a Yorkshire landscape. There are over 30 to choose from on the Open Country website, featuring places such as Newmillerdam in Wakefield, Otley Chevin and Eavestone Lake near Brimham Rocks. They are recorded by one of our Countryside Activities Officers, Tom, who’s wonderful Yorkshire lilt and intonations lend a sense of mindfulness to the recordings. He has an enchanting way of describing the scenes in front of him, enabling you to create a picture in your mind of his adventures.
The latest audio walk sees Tom in Bolton Abbey, one of the most visited spots within the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Always a fan of walking next to water, Tom enjoys a sensory wander along the River Wharfe from Bolton Bridge to Bolton Abbey. He also touches on the history, ecology and the wildlife along the way. The question is… does Tom do the stepping stones or does he opt for the bridge? You’ll have to listen to the Audio Walk to find out!
So this winter, when the cold wind blows and the rain lashes down, you can enjoy a wildlife walk from the comfort of your sofa and get inspiration for your next adventure into the Yorkshire countryside.
If you are planning a day out at Bolton Abbey or any of the other Yorkshire landmarks, Open Country’s Countryside Directories provide a wealth of access information to enable you to plan your day safely. Free to download from the Open Country website, hard copies are also available for individuals and groups with disabilities.
Open Country is the award-winning charity helping people with a disability to access and enjoy the countryside. For more information visit www.opencountry.org.uk or follow us on social media