Yesterday I deliberately got lost.
There’s something about an unsignposted path or a track. I notice them and sometimes walk past them many times without taking them. Intriguingly a group of hikers, fully loaded with maps and poles will climb over a stile in front of me with a purpose that makes me realise how little I know about the area I live in. Where are they going and where have they been?
The first time I ventured to the Railway Tunnel I couldn’t believe that something so large and so interesting had passed me by. Ashbourne still has many little alleys, yards and steps that I’ve not explored (in Yorkshire they are commonly described as ginnels, back alleys and snickets). It’s a unique characteristic of where we live that much of it is concealed. We are so used to everything being visible to the motorist or pointed to by tourist information signs. Exploring some of the little alleys reveals pretty rows of villa houses, working yards and views over the town – whole new aspects of an architecture we are familiar with.
Yesterday we took the dog for a walk along a “mystery” track. It opened up into allotments, a farmer’s field and wonderful views over the town in glorious sunshine. I needed to follow it further to work out where it joined with the rest of Ashbourne. I discovered houses I never knew existed and the whole proportions of the town looked very different.
There’s a charm in still being able to be lost in your own town. When the development of 400 new homes begins wouldn’t it be wonderful if the Planners ensure this isn’t destroyed and the Builders create some new mysteries?