Even though I’ve always enjoyed a nice walk, a little bit of Geocaching or a bracing run through the countryside, I’ve always considered myself a bit too lazy to call myself an outdoors enthusiast. I’ve spent too many evenings curled up on the sofa bingewatching Netflix or morning lie-ins snuggled with a book and a bacon sandwich to warrant the title. But now, as a new mother, it really has been the outdoors that has kept me sane. Without my (ever frequent) walks around the Arrow Valley lake near our house, I think I’d have lost my marbles by now.

Arrow Valley Lake Redditch
I could walk around this lake all day I think and never get bored!

In a way, it helped that I couldn’t drive anywhere after my c-section. If I wanted to get somewhere, I had to walk to it. It weirdly gave me a sense of achievement when I first waddled my way down to the lake to meet up with my NCT buddies. I’d managed to get there, on my own, enjoy a cup of tea, waddle around the lake, and walk my way back home again. It may not seem like much but when even getting up off the sofa was a struggle, that felt like the most incredible feat! It took me a ridiculously long time, but I did it. I promised myself then that if I was ever going somewhere that was in walking distance, I would. No more unnecessary car journeys for me, and plus… the novelty of pushing a pram hasn’t quite worn off yet! Anyway, it’s easier to put up the pram and head out of the door than it is to pack the car sometimes.

I feel so lucky to have such a beautiful place so close by. I don’t think I’d really appreciated it properly before now. The changing leaves at the moment have brought such a pop of colour, and every time I walk down there it looks different! Before we know it, the trees will be bare and it’ll be a very different landscape again.

View of Arrow Valley Lake in Redditch

There have been weeks where I’ve gone there four or five times. Last week, I went four consecutive days in a row! Sometimes to meet friends, sometimes to run, and sometimes just to go for a wander with Pickle on my own. There gets to a certain point in the day when I know we both just NEED to get out. I love him to pieces, but if we stay in the same tiny lounge all day long, there’s only so much I can take. He gets irritable, I get bored and we start to drive each other a bit crazy. I know the gentle rocking of the pram soothes him anyway, but I do think Pickle is an outdoors lover too – he’s fascinated by looking at the contrast between the trees and the sky and every time I see him looking up at the world around him, I’m desperate to keep encouraging his love of nature.

Geocaching Oak Tree at Stitch Meadow at the Arrow Valley Lake
Psst… this is where the Geocache is hidden! LPD and Pickle are guarding it’s location.

He even found his first geocache last week! Well, he may have been a little bit asleep when the discovery was found, and it was LPD who actually first put his hand to the cache but still… he was there. He was part of our geocaching team. How brilliant will it be when he’s toddling around and can explore the undergrowth for himself?

Pickle in a pram looking up at the sky
Annoyingly, this photo isn’t quite in focus but THIS is the exact look of wonder that he pretty much has permanently on his face when we’re walking. Who wouldn’t want to see that expression every day?!

I may seem a bit gushy about it today, but it’s because I’m writing this at 11pm at night on a day where I’ve NOT LEFT THE HOUSE ALL DAY. And I feel cooped up, grumpy and lethargic. I already know I’ll be heading there tomorrow to get some fresh air in our lungs and have a cheerier day. What’s even more frustrating is that part of the reason I was stuck in doors was to wait for a delivery – that never came. I don’t even care if it comes tomorrow whilst I’m out. I’m NOT doing that to myself again.

If any Mums or Dads out there are reading this, feeling a bit low and claustrophic in the house with the CBeeBies channel starting to addle your brain… even though it probably feels like a lot of hassle and you haven’t got the energy for it – I REALLY encourage you to go out for a walk. I’d be so surprised if you don’t come home feeling better for it. I think getting outside would be my top parenting tip to date.

Jim and PIckle looking out over the Arrow Valley Lake in Redditch

Where’s your favourite places to walk? Do you have any hidden gems near your home? At the risk of sounding like Mr. Bloom, I’d love to hear about them! Let me know. I’m all about and everywhere…. I’m here and there.