Whenever we’re planning our weekend adventures, we tend to always forget all the fantastic things we have right on our doorstop. That’s not to say we don’t appreciate the lovely scenery in our village, we do, we really are spoilt for choice for our daily dog walks. But whilst we get out every day locally, a hurried walk before you dash off to work or to an after-school club isn’t quite the same as really taking the time to explore is it?


Dom was busy working, so it was just me and the kids and whilst I was looking forward to getting out and about with them, I was pretty shattered after a busy week at work. The thought of having to get the bike rack on the car and loaded up and then all the packing up needed for a full day out was leaving me rather unmotivated. But what if we didn’t need all the prep work? What if we just got on our bikes and cycled off straight from home?

The idea didn’t go down to well with James and Sophie – “it sounds boring” “but we go there every day” I promised it would be different, we could stop whenever they wanted, they could choose our route and we could go entirely at their pace. They relented and off we went.

They opted for a lovely route up a private track to the castle on the outskirts of our village. It’s one of my favourite dog walks, through the woods, with the highlight being the red squirrels that we often spot. We hadn’t gone very far, when they were already off their bikes. Now normally I’d be moaning and hurrying them along and trying to push on but true to my word, I let them explore. They’d found a little stream to play in, with a log spanning it, perfect for balancing on.

We were soon back on our bikes and off exploring again. The path follows the River Knaik, but normally we never bother to make the short walk down from the track to the river. Well today was different, we left our bikes at the top of the hill and scrambled down. Even though we were just a short bike ride out of the village, the river was completely different up here. Gone were the pebblely riffles with big cascades and shoots taking their place. It was really beautiful, and it made we rather sad that we normally miss out on it as we hurry on by.

I was amazed with how many things the kids spotted along the way, when they were given the chance to simply enjoy an everyday bike ride. There were glades of bluebells, unfurling ferns, butterflies and bees. Even the lambs in the fields seemed to have doubled in size whilst we’d been too busy to notice. We had a lovely time and it really made me realise how much we take our everyday walks for granted.

I was amazed just how many beautiful things we must miss every day because we are too busy to notice. So, I vowed to give ourselves 10 minutes extra every day, I’m not sure how I’m going to achieve it but surely getting everybody organised and out the door 10 minutes earlier isn’t too optimistic.

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About the Author

Helena Carey

Helena Carey

About Me & Mine

James' family is James' (aged 7 months), daddy - Dominic, mummy - Helena and Jarvis the dog. We currently live in Norwich but head to the mountains of Snowdonia and the Lake District as often as we can.

Before James was born we were a very active family doing lots of canoeing, hill walking, camping and snowboarding. Since having James we are determined that having a family and enjoying the outdoors are both possible. We are keen to make sure James can not only join in with our adventures, but that he will be happy and comfortable at the same time.

Favourite place in the world:

It's a tough choice but Arisaig on the West coast of Scotland gets our vote. With the whitest sand and bluest sea we've seen, you have to keep reminding yourself you're in Scotland rather than a tropical paradise. The views out towards the Small Isles and the Cuillins on Skye are stunning; it really is a magical place. With sea kayaks it's easy to find your own private beach - well apart from the odd otter (real ones rather than Spotty ones) and seal to share it with. It's definitely somewhere we plan to take James to as soon as possible.

Favourite things to do outdoors:

We are keen canoeists and love to get out on the water as much as possible - whitewater, flat water touring or sea kayaking; we're not fussed as long as it's wet. We are both qualified instructors and enjoy passing on our love of paddle sports to others at our local canoe club. We have already has our own little bow paddler in the making, James, out in the canoe and are looking forward to many more trips.

We also do a lot of walking. We get out everyday to visit our local woods and parks to walk our coker spaniel, Jarvis. When we get the chance though, we prefer something a bit more challenging and regularly visit the mountains of Snowdonia and the Lake District. James' dad Dom, is a qualified mountain leader and is keen to pass on these skils as soon as possible.

Comments (3)

  • Helen and Ian

    Helen and Ian

    15 May 2018 at 19:38 | #

    Hi Helena. Looks like they loved being in charge! Sophie is looking great on her bike! And how wonderful to be able to cycle from your front door along such lovely lanes! We haven’t yet reached the stage where we can do that as the roads are either ‘too busy’ or ‘too fast’. But the idea of looking more closely at what’s on your doorstep reminded me of Alastair Humphreys and his Journey Round Your Own Home on foot (see ‘Going Round In Circles’). I think we’ll give it another go when we next get chance!


  • Deborah Patterson

    Deborah Patterson

    16 May 2018 at 14:03 | #

    Our kids love being given the opportunity to lead on a walk, choosing the direction, the activity and how long they're allowed to spend exploring and playing. It's easier to do this on our local walks as the grown-ups generally know the way home from wherever we end up!


  • Nancy Chambers

    Nancy Chambers

    16 May 2018 at 19:31 | #

    We love cycling straight from our door too, there is always so much to see and do. Love your bluebells and exploring philosophy, enjoy the 10 minutes thought, a great plan :)


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