January 26 2017
Every morning, my husband and I try and go for a walk together. In the week we only have time to do our 45-minute circuit which takes us through the valley by our house, along the river, and over the ridge before we circle back home. I find it the most invigorating way to start a new day. We return and enjoy our bowls of porridge that have been slowly brewing in the bottom of our faithful AGA.
Walking is a pivotal part of my family’s life and some of our fondest memories are of striding across the Brecon Beacons with our young children in tow. The biggest challenge was getting them up Sugar Loaf Mountain, sometimes caught out by wild winds or blizzards.
Recently we were invited to stay with friends who live on Salisbury Plain in an incredible rambling manor house set within an historic farm that dates back to the 16th century. On the Sunday morning they suggested a long walk followed by a trip to a cherished pub of theirs – The Beckford Arms. I had worked on an interior project only a stone’s throw away in the village of Tisbury and had driven past it many times. It feels quintessentially English surrounded by vast rolling hills and ancient villages.
The walk begins by passing a thatched gate house. From there you follow the public footpath which offers magnificent views of the Fonthill Estate as well as fields, lakes and a wonderful beech woodland. Our walk was on the cusp of autumn so all of the crisp and golden leaves had just begun to fall. The scenery is breathtaking, whatever time of year you chose to walk. Lasting for around 90 minutes the route is circular in form and includes one very steep hill. At the end of it you will most certainly be ready for a hearty Sunday lunch!
It is very rare in my opinion to find such a blissful walk that ends with an even lovelier pub. When it comes to pleasing me I have to admit to being a bit of a pain. A good pub has to tick lots of boxes for me! Not only does the food have to be really great but the interior needs to excite me. The Beckford Arms does not disappoint - in fact it is perfect in my book. I see so many renovations which lose their original character that we all treasure so dearly. It can be such a tricky balance to strike, but they have done it exceptionally well here. The colours inside are gorgeous; I remember some faded, antique pink armchairs and an amazing stair hall painted in what looked like Farrow & Ball Oval Room Blue. As for the food, I can truly say that this was the best Sunday pub lunch I have ever had! The Yorkshire puddings will stay in my mind for a very long time.
All of my walks inspire me; they are what make me happy and most importantly they give me time to think. Wherever I am in the world I always try and walk. It doesn't have to be in the country; London is fun to explore too. Tonight I found myself roaming through the city from Covent Garden to Notting Hill, soaking up the winter atmosphere and, wrapped up warm happily resisting the temptation to hail a cab! I will sleep well as a result.
To follow in Emma’s footsteps, you can view the route here.