The heat in London last weekend was unbearable. And that is why I decided to escape the smog and stickiness to the pure and clean British countryside. As expected, Brighton was packed and so I left the train a couple of stops early, at Haywards Heath. Here, the nature is fresh, the air is clean, and the numerous footpaths are empty. A little stairway to paradise.
We boarded the 10:52 train from Blackfriars, which was a mistake as the temperature together with the concentration of people on the train to Brighton were both record-breaking. However, once we left the sweaty and humid environment, we were welcomed by the fresh air of West Sussex. As with many of our trips, I decided to pick the location by the best-reviewed AirBnb. I found a modern barn located a stone throw away from the station, yet close enough to the woods and far enough from civilisation. Our lovely host, Michelle, gave us a lift from the station alongside some tips on where to grab a good bite and some brief history of the nearest village. I must say, I absolutely loved the place we were staying, and found it hard to leave to go and explore the area.
After some convincing, we left the beauty and comfort of the barn and set off for our first track. The route was rough, the directions were spontaneous. The public footpath led us to and from the golf courses, via muddy walks and dusty roads. The main reason why I was searching for the woods was to transfer me back to the teenage years, whilst I was still at a college, spending my Tuesday and Thursday afternoons running around the forest with my mates. On this trip, we even found a swing similar to the one we used to swing on when we were 17.
“I was searching for the woods […] to transfer me back to the teenage years”
I was so happy when I found what I was searching for. Not only did all the good old memories came back to me, but we also discovered fields of bluebells with the most wonderful scent. Overwhelmed and with our minds blown away, we continued walking back and forth for the rest of the day and the next, when we slowly made our way back to the station.
All of these walks happened in the burning heat and we were grateful to the forest for a cooling shelter. It felt nostalgic, happy and fine to be back in the nature and able to fully inhale again. London is great but the air does get a bit stuffy. And so it is always great to leave the big city behind and go and explore some smaller places with an authentic feel and friendly atmosphere.
I must also thank Michelle and her lovely family for making our stay as smooth and comfortable as possible. I cannot wait to repeat our visit again and discover some new marvellous places that not only bring back the memories but also allow one to stop and enjoy the moment fully.