After spending the weekend in the City, we decided to go to our local walking places for writing inspiration.
With many thanks to the National Trust, the UK has a plentiful amount of walks, common land, parks and heritage sites that receive millions of visitors every year. We just happen to be lucky enough to live within an AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty): the Cotswolds.
You say 'the Cotswolds' and most people think 'North Cotswolds', of Chipping Norton and the beautiful Oxfordshire landscapes, however, the majority of the area sits within Gloucestershire, including the popular areas of Bourton-on-the-Water, Stow-on-the-Wold, Cirencester and, yes, Stroud. Not only this, the Cotswolds goes all the way down through Tetbury and Badminton and towards Bath.
Stroud is home to the villages of Minichinhampton, Painswick, Selsley, Amberley and many other chocolate-box locations, but it is none other than the expansive near-thousand acres of common land within such close proximity that sparks the creativity. Here, pictures of Rodborough Common and Frith Wood show the vast hilly scenery on a beautiful spring afternoon. If you're ever in the area, we would say that this is the epitome of British countryside and is a must-see for everyone, a place where cottages were built into the sides of the five valleys, free-roaming cows graze the fields, there are woods galore, streams, shopping, innumerable footpaths and bridleways, and the Forest of Dean, Cheltenham Spa and Gloucester Cathedral are not too far away for further exploration.
Places like this have inspired the Romantic era of poetry and are a staple of classic literature. Where would we be without Wordsworth, Blake, Coleridge and Shelley? The UK is known for its sleepy villages, bustling towns and heart-thumping nature. If the city is not the place for you, try to get out to places you have never been before. A walk is great inspiration, somewhere where you can breathe and have a clear mind to think.
If not the Cotswolds, try the Malvern Hills, Loch Lomond, the Lake District, the Mendip Hills, the Wye Valley, the Peak District, the Yorkshire Dales, the South Downs, the Brecon Beacons, Snowdonia, the Chiltern Hills, Exmoor National Park or any of the other countless places that cost only the transport to get you there and the motivation to get out and about.
The best ideas have been made with the aid of the fresh outdoors although, interestingly, not many publishers are based outside of London. Mostly non-fiction and academic publishers dominate outside of the City, the main headliners being Oxford and Cambridge University Presses. This limits authors and writers vastly in terms of the practicalities of making it to events and meeting publishing professionals in the south. Even with the ease of remotely working with a publisher, the business naturally floats towards the capital. Hopefully this will change in the future, allowing more flexibility for the people providing the hard graft i.e. you, the writer.
So, be it city or countryside, whichever is best for you, find your own way to boost your creativity. Who knows? A bit of both might make all of the difference.