The feral boy was in command.
“Follow me, Dad,” he said, “we’re going to crawl through this bush and go down the side of a new waterfall I’ve found.” Then he turned and disappeared into a child-sized opening in the world’s prickliest holly bush.
I wrapped my coat tightly around me and clambered after him through brambles and Hawthorn, on our very own mini family adventure.
Spring is on the way and the land is waking up. It was the perfect time to dive into a bush and explore. Perhaps the best time of the year. There are bubbling brooks, muddy puddles and even little tumbling waterfalls that didn’t exist last autumn. Buds are just starting to peek and sprout from willowy branches bent and exhausted from battling winter winds. You can almost feel the land stretching and yawning in March sunshine after a long winter. There is so much to see. So much to discover.
Don’t be afraid to get on your knees and get up close to the land to spot a change in miniature: the waking land, bouncy moss and spring shoots. And follow your children wherever they want to lead, even into mud and prickles.
Of course, having the right kit is vital. New white trainers are my benchmark of what’s especially useless in the outdoors. Instead, everyone needs decent waterproof trousers and a sturdy raincoat with a hood. Then layer for the changing seasons.
If you’re stepping outside with a littler, take some spare socks and clothing (for them, not you!), and ideally backup footwear, so a soaking stumble into a new waterfall doesn’t need to result in a long unhappy walk back to warmth.
This is the best time of year to be outside, and a spring stroll will lift your spirits and clear your mind. It is one of the greatest mental and emotional tonics. So this spring-time set yourself a challenge of a walk a week, and get the most out of mother nature, and our land.
Simon Reeve is appearing across the UK on his twice extended theatre tour. Find more details: www.simonreeve.co.uk