Slow travelThe opening of several sections of the England Coast Path is happening at an appropriate time. Because of the Covid pandemic, many people had to give up their usual indoor sports and find alternatives. Others had to change their holiday plans and look for a different way to travel. Walking and hiking proved to be very popular alternatives. Even tour operators are adapting: they are promoting various kinds of slow travel close to home. This can mean walking through nature, visiting an archeological site in the countryside, climbing a mountain, camping, biking, horseback riding, or kayaking down a river. For these kinds of holidays, the journey is as important as, if not more important than, the destination. And the slowest, safest and easiest way to travel is to walk.
An old (Romantic) traditionWalking for pleasure became popular at the end of the 18th century, thanks to the Romantic movement. Romantic artists believed it was important to be in touch with nature, and walking was the perfect way to make such contact. English poets William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge toured the forests and mountains of the Lake District in northern England. They wrote many poems that celebrated their experiences there. “I wandered lonely as a cloud” recalled Wordsworth in his most famous poem. On the other side of the Atlantic, another group of artists, the Transcendentalists, promoted this outdoor movement. “In the woods, we return to reason and faith,” wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson. His friend Henry David Thoreau, in his lecture ‘Walking’, claimed that contact with nature allowed a person to “grow to greater perfection intellectually as well as physically.”
The benefits of walking: body, mind, and soulModern science agrees with Thoreau. Scientific studies prove that walking and hiking keep us physically fit and are good activities for our brains, too. In fact, nature’s sights and sounds promote mental relaxation. Furthermore, our brains improve various skills such as memory, attention, and spatial navigation when we exercise outdoors. Many people even believe that walking is good for the soul. This, in a way, is ancient knowledge. In fact, another special form of walking existed before the Romantics’ strolls through nature: pilgrimages. People of faith undertook long journeys on foot to visit holy sites. Curiously, many of today’s popular trails are rediscovered pilgrim routes, such as the Pilgrims Way in England, the Camino de Santiago in Spain, and the Via Francigena in Italy. Overall, the simplest of human activities provides incredible benefits. Thoreau expressed it beautifully when he wrote: “I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the trees.”
USEFUL LINKS 1) Explore the England Coast Path and the Wales Coast Path: https://www.nationaltrail.co.uk/en_GB/england-coast-path-route-description-landing-page/ https://www.walescoastpath.gov.uk/?lang=en 2) Are you interested in the sights and attractions mentioned in the article? You can find them all on Wikipedia. Here are the links to the white Cliffs of Dover and Tintagel Castle: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Cliffs_of_Dover https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tintagel_Castle 3) Would you like to know more about the Romantic movement? https://wiki.kidzsearch.com/wiki/Romanticism 4) Here is a simple description of Transcendentalism: https://kids.britannica.com/kids/article/Transcendentalism/628223 5) You can find many articles and videos on the benefits of walking. Here is one of them: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFlb6jWgovE
COMPREHENSION 1) Read the article and cross out the WRONG alternative (two answers are correct and one is incorrect). 1. The England Coast Path___ (Carlo Dellonte) (Image credits: Pixabay and Pixabay)
- passes by Tintagel Castle.
- is now fully open to the public.
- is almost 3,000 miles long.
- find fossils in Dover.
- see many landmarks.
- visit historic places.
- because of Covid.
- as an alternative to indoor sports.
- because sections of the England Coast Path opened.
- hiking up a mountain.
- driving through the countryside.
- practiced for the first time in the Lake District.
- made popular by the Romantics.
- a way to get in touch with nature, according to the Romantics.
- enjoyed the wilderness of the Lake District.
- wrote poems about nature.
- wrote the poem ‘I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud’.
- interested in nature like the Romantics.
- helps us relax our muscles.
- improves many mental skills.
- is good for our health.
- for spiritual reasons.
- to keep fit.
- to visit sacred places.
- are still popular today.
- existed before the Romantic movement.
- are used today only by people of faith.