Last Saturday in the South East was a blissfully sunny and warm winter’s day.
The promise of springtime was well and truly in the air making it perfect weather to enjoy a sunny morning stroll and lunch at Nymans with friends.
It was so warm I left the Barbour in the car and pulled on my Timothy Foxx poncho instead.
I love tweed clothing or anything tweed for that matter!
Timothy Foxx’s take on tweed is so refreshingly different; their garments are both colourful and original with a floral twist which blends fantastically against the tweed. Because their garments are so unusual it makes me love the brand even more. I may have mentioned previously that I have even upholstered our dining room chairs in their tweed!
Forever keen to avoid the crowns we pulled up at Nymans just as the gates opened at 10am.
Between Jill and I we have a total of 6 dogs. My Volvo is big but not that big, and as a result we took one dog each, Shiva and Jill’s Riley. I would like to point out that we did feel rather horrid leaving our houses without the rest of our gang who stayed home with the boys, (Christopher and Jill’s husband Paul).
Upon our arrival at Nymans we toyed with the idea of starting with a coffee and food as none of us had yet had breakfast. Yet we were eager to explore before the crowds arrived so grabbed a map from the visitors centre and headed in to the woods instead. I don’t think Lili liked this idea much as she needed a coffee!
This was only my second visit to Nymans, and on my first visit I had only walked around the gardens, not knowing how extensive the woodland was I was not expecting what we found. Jill had also not walked in the woods here before and we were both pleasantly surprised at how lovely they were.
On our walk we came across a sweet country cottage (aptly named, Woodlands Cottage) which was nestled in the secluded woods. It turns out the cottage belongs to the National Trust and is one of their holiday rentals; take a look for yourself here.
Should I not live so close by I would be booking this cottage in an instant as somewhere to unwind for a few days with the dogs.
During our walk we were all keeping our eyes peeled in search of the little winter wonders known as snowdrops.
Snowdrops love shade; consequently woods offer the perfect growing conditions for them and we found them in plentiful amounts.
A winters day woodland walk in search of blankets of snowdrops is a seasonal pleasure I delight in.
Snowdrops are such delicate and incredibly brave miniature flowers, which bloom during the winter months when little else is growing between January and March, they offer one of the first welcome signs of warmer days to come.
Winter is on my head but eternal spring is in my heart – Victor Hugo.
Walking away from the cottage and the blankets of snowdrops, we turned the corner to be met by the view of a lovely lake with many ducks bobbing along on top.
Riley was straight in the water and swimming among the ducks.
Shiva on the other hand was tentatively dipping her paws until she built up the confidence to play in and run through the water. It was a joy to see the dogs having such a wonderful time. This made Jill and I feel even guiltier for leaving the others behind though!
Continuing on our way we stopped to admire the view from the other end of the lake before crossing a bridge which lead in to an open field.
In the field we stopped to read the map we had picked up from the visitor centre. Correction Jill and Lili read the map.
You know me well enough by now that I take no pleasure from reading a map, and Lili and Jill have learnt this through experience.
While we stopped and Jill and Lili read the map, a family joined us with their three dogs that were having far too much fun for Shiva’s liking. Shiva ran over to them displaying her “fun police” badge and chased them around in circles, until she skidded and fell flat on her side gathering up a mouthful of mud along the way. After getting up in a rather embarrassed manner while we all looked on in a fit of giggles, Shiva decided that the dogs could continue their fun while she showed off her muddy side!
Back on track (we had taken a wrong turn) we started to head back towards the coffee shop at the visitors centre.
Each section of the wood had something different to offer, from open fields, lakes, tall trees, small trees and everything in between until we were reached our starting point once more.
I think it’s safe to say we had all chosen the right footwear for plodding through the mud!
Back at the car we offered the dogs water (both declined), before grabbing some lunch and a coffee. We had by this point worked up quite an appetite.
Jill and I picked up a sandwich before spotting warm sausage rolls, at this point the sandwiches went back on the shelf and we ordered our sausage rolls with a side salad (we chose well)! Lili went for a jacket potato.
Unfortunately dogs are not allowed in the gardens or the coffee shop. However there are many picnic benches dotted about so you can still grab something to eat and drink whilst sitting with your dogs.
We all waved goodbye in good spirits after our morning spent together in the sunshine, laughing, and chatting. Proof that with the right people even the simplest of things can be made so much and at little expense.
Love for now Emma and Shiva xx