My 5 Favourite Walks by Diane Nettleton

"Walking is a man's best medicine"

Walking is one of the easiest ways to get the exercise you need to stay healthy and can instantly lift your mood - especially when you go outdoors. 

Gaia Skincare Founder, Diane Nettleton, shares her favourite walks from around the world...

1. The path I’ve most trodden is Pentire headland

I’ve lived in this area for 35 years apart from 5 years in Feock

This walk represents many things to me, it serves a purpose - it gets me from home to work when heels and heavy bags aren’t a consideration.

It has been my form of exercise in the past when fitness has been high on the agenda.

It has also been a reflective walk in times of sadness when being outside in the Cornish weather whatever it may be, an ever changing landscape with the healing power of nature.

There has also been much laughter on the walk, pushing new family members in buggies not designed for the rough terrain trailing scooters round, having stand offs when little legs refuse to go any further. Negotiations of an ice cream at the end of the path, family memories created and remembered.

It’s sociable too, always someone to greet and usually know

The path hasn’t changed much of the years apart from changes to houses, the view of the ocean, Fistral Beach, the gorse on the headland it represents stability, nature in all its wonder, the same but ever changing depending on the season a reminder that when all around you things are changing Pentire headland is a constant.

2. Crantock Beach

Looking down from the headland is the beautiful expanse of Crantock Beach.

I am lucky enough to access this from my garden and when the tide is well out and very low I love to walk on the expanse of the beach.

The course of the river gannel changes usually in the winter if it has been a wild, windy season so I always have to find the easiest way looking for shallow waters that aren’t so wide. You always have to get your feet wet and sometimes negotiate sinking sand but once across the scale of the beach is vast and leaving my footprints behind I set off. I follow the river to a fashion, I aim to get to the edge of the sea and walk along getting splashed by the waves. As I head to the edge of the beach where the cliffs loom overhead there are amazing rock pools large enough to swim and beautiful, clear water with mussels clinging to the side. The cliff edge is riddled with caves, some so deep you would be forgiven for letting your imagination get the better of you and believing they were straight from Aladdin. My favourite has the poem carved into the rock:

Mar not my face
But let me be
Secure in this safe cavern by the sea
Let the wild waters around me roar
Kissing my lips for evermore

The story of a lady on her horse stopping and resting then drowning and her fiancé carved this is the rock. I always go and visit it. On my way back I see my house high up on the cliff side. My home, my sanctuary, my cave.

3. Trelissick

When we lived in Feock I walked a lot. I did a circular loop to get a newspaper from the little shop whose owner was born there and lived there all her life until she died in her nineties. The shop is no longer there but I go to Trelissick when I need to remember happy days in Feock. It’s peaceful, the south coast very different to the north coast. You can hear the rumbling of the car ferry as it goes to St Mawes and the walk through the gardens and along the edge of the river highlights beautiful almost tropical gardens. The house is stately looking out across land to the river and I’ve often thought at the end of my days I’d be happy sat on a bench looking out! I enjoy being here, there is a lovely National Trust restaurant and shop and a building that looks like Rapunzel may live in it. It’s different to my daily view and makes a nice change when it’s needed

Trelissick

4. London

I love walking the streets of London, it’s surprising how easy it is to get from one area to another and also what you learn. My favourite route is through Green park to Buckingham palace then over the bridge in St. James’s park heading to Westminster then on to the embankment walking along as far as Covent Garden.

I enjoy the buzz. I feel I’m participating in life, a contrast to living in Cornwall which can feel a bit bleak in the winter especially. I’m in awe of the history and this time instead of nature representing stability it’s the buildings that have stood the test of time that are my anchor and make me feel secure. London represents such a mix of cultures and the many scales of how people live. It’s a reminder that wellness is about your physical,mental and social wellbeing and it’s also a reminder that life is very difficult for some.

London

5. Coolangatta to Rainbow Bay

This walk is in Australia where I have been lucky enough to go 3 times in the past 5 years. I think when we are away from home especially on holiday with the feel good factor there is always somewhere that is your happy place. The place you think of when times are hard or you feel down. I have several in Australia. I love any walk that involves a view of Sydney Opera House or the harbour bridge, the Cremoyne walk especially.

But the walk in Coolangatta is special. It’s a proper path by the beach which goes for miles. I join it where I am staying close by and I set off admiring the views of the oceans and surfers paradise on the skyline.

The scenery is stunning, beach, ocean, palms, lizards on the pathways. The path has barbecue sites for anyone to use, maintained well, showers and public toilets well looked after. There are always lots of families surfing, walking, yoga classes on the grass by the path and every so often outdoor gym equipment for anyone to use. People are cycling, roller skating, skate boarding, walking fast, walking slow, jogging. It’s the epitome of wellness. As I turn a corner Froggy beach, a green frog painted on the rocks. I stop reading my book for a while, go in the sea, lie in the sun then carry on up the steep boardwalk heading towards rainbow bay. The sea opens out, it’s the border of Queensland and New South Wales. Their war memorials around the walkway and a cenotaph, a beautiful point to remember those who gave their lives. If you stop and look long enough you will see dolphins. It’s a beautiful sight and although I try a photo I decide it’s best to capture the moment in my head rather than through a camera.

There’s also my favourite cafe Dbar, the food is amazing, nutritious and healthy and a really cute boutique shop.

The last time I did this walk it was 7am in the morning and I was flying back to Sydney that day. It was Australia Day and families were gathering setting up camp for the day, spending time together enjoying the outdoors, eating together to me it encapsulates everything wellness is.

Yours Naturally, 

DN