During our family holiday this year we inevitably took the opportunity to visit a number of heritage sites. These ranged from archaeological sites to a fantastic Chateau in Larochette, Luxembourg, all the while absorbing the creative interpretation ideas. However, what grabbed all of us the most was such a simple concept.
We stayed at a wonderful campsite which had a bare foot trail. As the name suggests you need to shed your shoes and feel the earth beneath your feet as you make your way through a forest. At various points there is a ‘station’ – the equivalent of a raised vegetable bed filled with various organic materials – intended to reconnect you with nature. The trails begins with a tentative squelch through wet mud. This is followed by further stations containing logs, pine cones, sawdust, leaves, mulch, pebbles, sand, stones and gravel. At first our kids (8, 6 and 5) were a little apprehensive, but soon they were feeling the full warming effects of the stimulation the trail offered. It provoked all manner of conversations and lots of giggles. The small interpretative panels at each station were also well written and the stone-lined pit with a supply of fresh water at the end of the trail was great fun too – it was probably the cleanest our boys feet got all holiday! In the end we lost count of how many times we tip-toed, walked, jogged and even ran the trail and we weren’t the only ones who enjoyed it. A steady stream of campers would make the pilgrimage down to the forest and whoops of delight could often be heard through the trees.
I did a little research on returning home and was glad to see that one or two bare foot trails do exist in the UK, even with our over-protective H&S stance. With evidence to suggest that our feet were healthier prior to the invention of the shoe it all seems like such a good idea. So, if you get the chance, get naked below the knees and dip your toe in – it’s a great experience for people of all ages.