Hastings Country Park, freeing body, mind and soul.

Darren McCann lives close to Hastings Country Park and counts himself lucky that within minutes of leaving his home he is in a place of beauty and tranquility where he can escape from the pressures of everyday life and of a world in ‘lockdown’. Here he explains why he loves it so much.

This lockdown period is proving to be very hard for many many people, especially those who are elderly, have a long term illness, with young children or suffering from mental health issues.

We know self isolation is for our own safety but it’s adding to everyone’s stress and people need to find ways of coping.

How do you cope ? 

Some people have no choice but to have home based hobbies, whether that be knitting, puzzles or just doing basic home exercise. For those of us lucky enough to live near a park – or even luckier, near Hastings Country Park – we can escape and grab some much needed exercise and fresh air and appreciate the beautiful countryside and nature we are lucky enough to be surrounded by.

It’s not just a walk that I enjoy, I love the peace and quiet. It gives me time to think and reflect on things I may have seen and dealt with in my job or issues in my every day life.

I think of my family and friends who I’ve not been able to see, what I’ll do when this lockdown period is ended and where the Mrs will insist we go for our first meal out!

I love listening to the birds sing, to the wind in the trees, to the rush of water from the streams, as I look at the shapes of the beautiful flowers and plants too. 

I stand and look at ivy and vines growing the lengths of tall, aged, trees which appear to be strangling them! 

There are now swathes of bluebells growing in fields and it looks stunning!

I’ll often find myself puffed out from walking up a hill and then sit and grab ten minutes on one of the benches.

Sitting there chomping on my marmite sarnie ill just sit and listen. Sometimes I hear absolutely nothing but the sea, and then the air is filled with bird song.

I’ve been lucky enough to see the odd hawk skilfully hovering above a field waiting for its next meal, a barn owl swooping down above the trees, I hear the pigeons cooing to one another and then a cuckoo.

I’ve even been chased out of a field by six beautiful exmoor ponies!

It might just be a simple walk to get my heart rate going and say I’ve done some exercise, but I always have my mobile phone camera at the ready to capture the beauty of my surroundings and help me to appreciate the nature we have around us and all for free.

It genuinely frees my body, mind and soul.

I couldn’t be more thankful to be blessed by the parks around me.
Whatever you do and however you free your mind, I hope you enjoy it and it helps you through the next three weeks. Best wishes and stay safe.

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