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Celebrating a new year

As we head towards November, let's take a moment to think about Samhain, the ancient Gaelic festival that has been reborn as Halloween. As we are all too aware, this weekend marks the start of the darker half of the year - winter is nearly upon us.

All around us we see the natural world dying away, most visually obvious in the leaves falling from the trees. Incidentally, if you want to learn more about why leaves change colour in autumn, check out this great video from The Woodland Trust. This is a time of celebration, the last celebration of the harvest, as well as a time of reflection, as the natural world starts to slow down in preparation for hibernation. It's a time to let go of old habits, as the leaves let go of their leaves, and to focus on the new, for Samhain is also know as the Celtic New Year. Traditionally it was marked with the lighting of bonfires and so it is no coincidence that bonfire night is just around the corner. The Hindu festival Diwali is also celebrated at this time of year and is known as the Festival of Light. It's so interesting how the different traditions overlap. This is a time to celebrate nature, so why not take a walk in nature and gather some materials, autumn leaves, pine cones, to decorate your house, or to use in autumn crafts.

One of the things I have loved about #walktober has been linking up with other people who have also been thinking about different ways to walk. My favourite of these has been A Refracted View - a project bringing together East Kent Mencap and local artists, who through a set of cards that they created, invite us to walk a different path, to look at things in a new way and to celebrate the familiar. A regular complaint that I have heard over the last year is that walking in your local area is no longer interesting. These cards are a perfect solution, an invitation to stop and really notice where you are. By using the cut out cards (pictured) you see things from a different perspective. Watch the film they made about using the cards here and keep an eye on our social media, for some more photos of the cards in action. I've been thrilled that we have been able to come up with 31 different reasons or ways to walk during October; although I walk several times each day now simply through force of habit, I hope these prompts, which I aim to gather together in one place for future use, have helped other people to get out the door and walk more this month.

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