From time to time we paused to make ephemeral works, take photographs or sketch the landscape. We walked over grass and sand and clambered over dunes and pebbles. We examined rock pools. We stood in a huge field full of sheep and scanned the horizon all around. We snuggled down into a grassy hollow among the dunes and listened to nature poetry and wrote a little.
Our first Essential Nature AONB Art Walk took place on Saturday, in idyllic sunshine, with a gentle wind wafting across the Burrows from the Atlantic.
We relaxed, taking in the views across the wide sweep of Bideford Bay. Closer to hand, we admired the variety and detail of our surroundings: soft grassland, undulating sand dunes and the long grey pebble ridge running alongside. These pebbles are from cliff falls, away round to the west, at craggy Hartland Point, and they have gradually been carried along the coast, worn smooth and rounded by years of Atlantic tides.
As we walked, the sparkling song of the skylark accompanied us along the way. We took our time. Sometimes we walked in silence – tuning in to the sounds of the wind and the distant muffled roar of the ocean from across the open beach. We felt the ground under our feet; we felt our ears and eyes softening, and our breathing deepen and slow down as we dropped into the rhythm of walking, sky and sea.
On the way back, we felt a part of the place, part of the movement – and clambering over the sand dunes, we realised we were now relaxed and almost as sure-footed as the sheep. And of course, returning to the Burrows Centre where we had started, we rounded off the afternoon in true traditional style with plenty of tea and cake.