Have your say on ru­ral is­sues.

Countryfile Magazine - - Contents -

Raynor Winn’s ar­ti­cle (South West Coast Path Sal­va­tion) in the Au­gust is­sue brought tears to my eyes. My hus­band was di­ag­nosed with a brain tu­mour eight years ago and de­spite be­ing told that he wouldn’t live for more than about six months, he sur­vived for seven and a half years. Dur­ing that time he stopped work­ing and in­stead ran fell races, cy­cled coun­try lanes and trails, and swam in lakes and the sea as much as he could.

Sadly, the tu­mour grew back and left him semi-paral­ysed on one side, mak­ing all these ac­tiv­i­ties al­most im­pos­si­ble. Phys­io­ther­apy helped him enough to keep walk­ing and he man­aged to scale Thorpe Cloud, in Der­byshire, with the aid of walk­ing poles a year be­fore he passed away.

While all this was go­ing on, I dis­cov­ered I had breast can­cer and although be­ing a keen run­ner, I de­cided that I would walk to aid my re­cov­ery. Come rain or shine, I walked ev­ery day for at least an hour in the coun­try­side, which to­tally lifted my spir­its.

Af­ter my hus­band passed away last year, I felt that the only thing I could do to keep my­self go­ing was to spend time out in na­ture, ei­ther walk­ing or run­ning. In the process I’ve dis­cov­ered so much more about the flora and fauna around me, and learnt to bet­ter ap­pre­ci­ate the cy­cle of life.

I can hon­estly say that be­ing out there in na­ture, in all weath­ers – snow, rain and glo­ri­ous sun­shine – has been a huge ben­e­fit, both men­tally and phys­i­cally, and I def­i­nitely wouldn’t have got through all of life’s re­cent chal­lenges without it. This had lead me to the idea of walk­ing/ run­ning as many long-dis­tance routes around the UK as I can do over the next few years. In fact, I’ve al­ready started – I re­cently com­pleted the Dales Way.

There’s a lot to be said for the heal­ing power of na­ture, tak­ing the time to ap­pre­ci­ate the in­tri­ca­cies of life and calm­ing the mind from the hustle and bus­tle of the day-to-day. Fliss Mil­ner, Der­byshire

Edi­tor Fer­gus Collins replies: I com­pletely agree. I’ve found es­cap­ing to the hills to be ex­tremely ther­a­peu­tic in a range of cir­cum­stances. And you, I and Raynor Winn are not the only ones: writ­ers such as Richard Mabey have long known this and more and more GPs are pre­scrib­ing walk­ing and coun­try breaks as part of their treat­ments for a range of phys­i­cal and men­tal ail­ments.


Farm ma­chin­ery has ad­vanced and made agri­cul­ture more ef­fi­cient and re­duced labour. But, I en­joy walk­ing and of­ten find my­self on farm tracks where one can­not fail to no­tice large amounts of black plas­tic sheet em­bed­ded in the ground and caught on barbed­wire fenc­ing.

I’m very con­cerned about the en­vi­ron­ment due to the use and dis­posal of plas­tic. Silage, for ex­am­ple, is now tied to­gether with a plas­tic mesh and then wrapped in black plas­tic sheet. The large cylin­dri­cal bales are not easy to store or man­han­dle. I would strongly rec­om­mend a re­turn to the tra­di­tional size and shape of bales and tra­di­tional forms of silage mak­ing. Philip Brook, via email


I’m writ­ing to say how much I en­joyed the ar­ti­cle on beavers in July’s is­sue (Beaver rev­o­lu­tion). I was pleas­antly sur­prised at the num­ber of places where these an­i­mals had been in­tro­duced. But I did no­tice that none had been in­tro­duced into the foothills of more moun­tain­ous re­gions, such as Wales and the Lake Dis­trict, where so much flood­ing has oc­curred in the past few years. At the be­gin­ning and end of the

Coun­try­file pro­gramme there is a shot of a river run­ning through the up­per reaches of a re­mote val­ley. When­ever I see it, I won­der if in­tro­duc­ing beavers here could help to re­duce or even elim­i­nate flood­ing in the vil­lages below. TJ Read­ing, via email

Raynor Winn and her hus­band Moth found so­lace from life’s hard­ships on the South West Coast Path

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