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The best way to slow down and see your surroundings

Why I love walking
Walking is the best way to slow down and see your surroundings says Alex James.
Modern life is such a high-voltage affair. I zip around my circuits faster and faster, swept by the pressures of practicality into the paths of least resistance. It takes some determination to indulge in many of the traditional pleasures of the countryside. Things that were once practical have become whimsical luxuries. Anyone who wants to grow cut flowers, have open fires, keep horses or even just tinker with things in sheds is swimming against the current of the 21st century.
Walking is the most basic and simple pleasure of all: once so practical, now virtually worthless. The parish is criss-crossed with ancient footpaths, the architecture of another civilisation, beautiful things that evolved spontaneously under padding feet.
There’s a walkies rush hour around nine o’clock. Many of the villages have a fine display of dogs around this time but in the open countryside many footpaths have fallen into disuse, and really just exist on maps and in council records: I only just spotted a neighbour trying to craftily move the footpath that leads from the farm to the pub so that it doglegs around his land, and no one can ever remember exactly where the one that goes across the top field is supposed to lie, even though it connects to a high-density luxury log cabin settlement.
We went for lots of walks when I was a kid and I can remember every single one of them. There is no better way of seeing the world, or yourself, than walking. Nothing really ever happened then and nothing really happens now. Once we saw a stoat. Sometimes there is a dead thing. Walking is a feeling more than what happens.
Many people think it’s boring. Like anything, it’s only as boring as the people you are doing it with, or if you’re alone, as boring as you are.
By Alex James
The Telegraph - Fly at a Smile-Price