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Urban Sanctuary

I was disappointed not to get the chance to do the photo prompt on this week’s workshop. Photography (of the amateur kind) is a bit of a secret passion of mine, although not one I seem to have invested a lot of time in lately. My camera is a bit rubbish and not working very well, with a battery life of about 20 minutes if you don’t use the flash, but it takes reasonable pictures.

So, this morning when there was finally a break in the rain, me and Kai wrapped up and set off to take some photos to introduce you to the very best thing about my home neighbourhood. We moved into our tiny terraced house 7 years ago at a time when I still couldn’t walk very far so it was actually only once I had started walking longer distances again, about 3 years ago, that I discovered this place.

There is a lot I don’t like about where I live. It is extremely urban and grey, right in the centre of our town. It only takes ten minutes to walk to the town centre which is a plus point, but the off-set is endless streets of wheelie bins and on-street parking, dog poo and just the odd, stunted tree. Our neighbours are horrendous and although we’ve made a good first home, I’ve never really put down roots here and am, quite frankly, desperate to move.

But this place is my sanctuary, my breath of life in an otherwise pretty soulless part of town. Two minutes walk from my house there is a footpath that winds its way between estates, coming out alongside the wide open space of the Common, working it’s way under the main roads and eventually to the town centre itself.

Rubbish and graffiti nestle alongside the trees and vegetation but the over whelming feeling is one of green and open skies, nature finding itself a little foothold and not letting go. As you walk you eventually leave houses behind, walking through the middle of the gorgeous town graveyard and coming to the wide pools and marshes of Nature Reserve that sits nestled against our little town.


It’s like having a little piece of the countryside that I can escape to whenever I am feeling a little hemmed in by the oppressiveness of urban living. I am a country girl at heart and having this small peace of green so close has saved my sanity many times over.



Anyway, enough words now – here is the rest of  my little slice of home…

P.S. Dear Santa, if had maybe a spare Canon SLR lying around and that you might like to give to a good home, I promise I would be good for the rest of my life. (I still believe in you by the way…) x


  1. Lovely. We had a place like that in Edinburgh. Britain seems to be good at hiding places like that around the place.
    .-= Mwa´s last blog ..This post offends me =-.

    • @Mwa, It does doesn’t it? I think it always fees like you’ve discovered some kind of big secret when you find them too! I like to pretend I’m the only one who knows about it… (I ignore the dog walkers) xx

  2. I love hidden spaces. We live on a busy main road but 5mins away you can walk onto The Lines (old overgrown railway lines not used in the last 50yrs) and hit reservoirs and countryside. Mind you, I’m only 20mins from a country park in one direction, countryside in another but Manchester city centre in the other.
    Very blessed.

    Great post, and great pics :)

    • @Queeneileen, Ooh that sounds lovely! My dad lives near an old railway line that you can walk along straight into the countryside – it’s beautiful x

  3. Unsurprisingly, “Parklover” is loving this post! Parks and green spaces are so, so important in urban areas for everyone’s health and happiness. I’ve always had my cake and eaten it, living in urban areas but with the countryside on my doorstep.I’m from the grim and grizzly Black Country, but right on the edge, with fields at the bottom of the road. Now I live near Manchester, but can be up in the hills in a few minutes.There are some amazing urban parks around here, it’s a shame the same is not true elsewhere. Glad you have somewhere lovely for your green fix!
    .-= Kath@Parklover´s last blog ..People’s Millions – funds for community projects =-.

  4. Reminds me of where i grew up – beautiful hon – thank you for sharing :)
    .-= april´s last blog ..Desired for never quite achieved… =-.

  5. Looks lovely…
    You know, someone ought to send you a brand spanking, all-singing and dancing camera to review, oughtn’t they?
    .-= Tim´s last blog ..Nightmare on Blog Street =-.

    • @Tim, Oh, they really REALLY should. No doubt the offer will be popping into my inbox any second now… now… now? Oh wait, PRs don’t read my blog. Dammit.

  6. A need for common green spaces like this is one of the reasons we are coming back. Thanks for reminding me how great they are. x

  7. Such lovely pics – so very British. *sigh. It’s amazing how many green areas are ‘hidden’ around the UK – I miss it.

  8. I couldnt survive in a grey urban space nad MadDad certainly could not – he grew up on a farm. We are so lucky to have a national park on our doorstep and the wild North Yorks coast out the window
    .-= TheMadHouse´s last blog ..Things to be thankful for =-.

  9. Lovely photos. We have surprisingly little green space considering we live in the middle of Sherwood Forest country. A lot of it has been built on which is a shame. The forest is still there of course but I’l prefer somewhere I could easily walk to. You have inspired me to get my camera out!
    .-= Rosie Scribble´s last blog ..Thankful on Thanksgiving =-.

    • @Rosie Scribble, Ooh you should! I bet a walk in the forest would give you lots of inspiration. Feel like we need to hold on to these little oasis of green – they seem to be disappearing so rapidly :(

  10. We have a creek about 5 minutes walk from our house, with a lovely wooded path alongside it. On one end there is a McDonald’s, and on the other end there is a shopping plaza with a 7-11 and a Starbucks. But in the centre it is treed and leafy and quiet. In the summer there are berries to pick and big logs beside the brook. In the autumn salmon return to spawn. And I love it.

    I’m glad you have your place, too. Heavenly, isn’t it?
    .-= Amber´s last blog ..November Blahs =-.

    • @Amber, Oh my, seeing the salmon coming up river is one of the things on my must see before I die list! Your little slice of nature sounds wonderful :) x

  11. Beautiful. There is still nature in the midst of all the urban-ness. For me it is the canal where I can walk and watch the water and birds.

    • @Capital Mom, There’s always a retreat somewhere or other if you look hard enough for it I find :) And anywhere with water is always good x

  12. Me and the kids love to go on a neighbourhood ramble on the weekends (weather permitting).We try to identify trees, look at the ground to hunt for mushrooms (I get giddy with excitement when I find mushrooms), pick up litter and visit the park before coming home to our 2nd floor flat.Our favourite place is a local wood which we visit every couple of months to see the seasonal changes.Perhaps we should mention cameras on Twitter every time mention you.
    .-= Aly´s last blog ..Writing Workshop-Special Shoes =-.

    • @Aly, Lucky kids :) That sounds wonderful. It’s something I’m hoping to do more and more of as Kai gets bigger.

      P.S. And yes please just as #canon hashtag in every tweet!!

  13. Like the photos! I’m coming to steal those wellies though they are right up my street haha.

    I’m very lucky in that i live right on the edge of Cannock Chase. 5 minute walk and i can be lost amongst the trees and be in the wilderness and the fresh air, it feels like im in a completely different world than that of the ‘lovely’ streets of Pye Green.

    You have made me want to purchase a camera though now damn you haha =)
    .-= Kelly´s last blog ..Home Alone =-.

    • @Kelly, I think they’d be a little small for you sweetie pie ;)

      I wouldn’t swap Cannock Chase for anywhere in the world. Love it love it love it – lucky you living so close! We’re moving but only so we’re still within a 15 drive – would miss it so much!

  14. I once read that looking into the middle distance or far distance is incredibly good for our mental health. A feelgood chemical is released in our brains when our eyes focus on the horizon. There’s nothing like a good view and some trees to make you feel better. My place I think about when I’m stressed is a walk through the woods I used to go on with my parents as a child. I’ll always remember it as a warm day with dappled sunlight coming through the trees.

    • @Victoria, So THAT’S why a view feels so good! What lovely memories you have :) Think of all the ones your three will have!! x

  15. I am another person who lives in the midst of suburbia, but am really lucky that we have a lovely set of fields and woods to walk in just a couple of minutes walk from our house. It really does make a huge difference to our day to day lives. I still remember wandering down there to sit under the tress with my daughter when she was a small baby – lovely.
    .-= Platespinner´s last blog ..Writing Workshop: Pushing Buttons =-.

  16. Oh, lovely. Although Cornwall is wonderful I missed my little part of Sussex as if I walk away from the village there are great windy roads to wander along with the pushchair, which was missing at my Mum’s house, it was all too muddy! I am amazed at how much my mood can improve if I just get myself out into the fresh air once a day.
    .-= Kelly´s last blog ..Through the night =-.


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