sunlight and shadow

Once a clipped hedge in a formal garden, now these tall yew branches arch over the path, creating a tunnelled walkway. Some days there may be very little light under the trees. Other days you find yourself walking in dappled sunlight. There may have been times in the past year when life has felt like … [Read more…]

changing seasons

Through all the changing scenes of life,  In trouble and in joy,The praises of my God shall still  My heart and tongue employ. ( Hymn – Tate & Brady 1696) Autumn colours appear and cover the paths in red and copper , gold and bronze. Wonderful as it is , there’s always a part of me that … [Read more…]

Stepping out

Snow changes even the most familiar walks. The swollen stream under the bridge looks cold and uninviting . The ground hard underfoot . The light glistens on the snowy trees and highlights the rise of the steep steps climbing upwards. Its not clear where the steps lead, but footsteps show that someone has already walked … [Read more…]

Looking up

Pausing for a while to look over the wall and look up to the Coalport incline, it’s difficult to imagine this as the busy centre of industry it once was. The incline was built to transport heavy goods from one canal to another.  Now it remains as a reminder of those who worked here and … [Read more…]

Walking through Lent

It’s been a long February and though Ash Wednesday was just yesterday, still there are moments when it feels like it’s been Lent forever. It’s as though something strange is happening to our sense of time this year.  Days merge, one into the other, and one month can feel very much like another in this … [Read more…]


There’s something about walking. Unlike cycling or jogging, both of which seem too much like hard work to me and which require more skill, walking is a form of exercise I can do and actually enjoy. Walking is an (almost) all-weather activity provided you have clothes to suit and comfortable footwear. Taking the plunge outdoors … [Read more…]

Your connection is unstable…

I’m adjusting to video calls and Sunday worship online . I’ve avoided any major calamities so far……that I’m aware of anyway. I couldn’t help feeling rather smug that my Paschal candle didn’t collapse mid-way through the Easter Day service, although the flowers so artistically arranged behind the candle did begin to go brown at the … [Read more…]

Walk on by

Good Samaritans these days cross the road to the other side when they see you coming. In a strange reversal of the Biblical parable, good neighbours even go so far as to change direction to avoid meeting face to face. The other day, I found myself strangely moved when a stranger stepped off the path … [Read more…]

Easter Day 2020

Peering in, hesitant, and afraid no-body lies there. Peering out, darkness lifts to open eyes and heart to hope and unimagined joy. Paula Smith Easter 2020

Looking for Cherry blossom

I’m learning to look at things differently in this strange lockdown time we’re in. Daily exercise is something I now look forward to – not something I thought I would ever find myself saying. I’ve known the woods here since I was a child, and have taken them for granted. And now, when driving to … [Read more…]