Walking Poetry by John Clarke

This is England my England

This is home my home

Wainwright’s giants reflect in purple, emerald and grey

Then cascade, flow and dance into the golden bay

Hard rugged fells where the Herdwick smiles

Narrow twisting lanes with the signposts in miles 

Brightly coloured silks sweep past an ancient priory

Heavenly limestone hospice a pilgrim’s sanctuary    

Hen Harriers glide above shades of Bowland green

The gentle rolling forest so loved by a queen

Middle earth valley of Tolkien across a civil war bridge

Three rivers meet below the long ridge

A coven gather in the shadows of this brooding hill 

Beware the lonely traveller when its mists are still

Surrounding villages and farms curse the fall of night

When shapes from the darkness take flight

Black is the earth from moor edge to coast

Best in the land is the farmers boast

The coppice hears a cry of howzat from a man of pace

White washed cottages address this timeless place

Gardens of the orient adorn the hill of winter

Beauty and shelter from winds so bitter

Resilient and proud stands the tower on the hill

Church spire peers above oaks so still  

Ancient boundaries formed by sturdy hedgerows

Grazing cattle in lush summer meadows

Electric blue fishing king sweeps low along the cut

Gravity defying locks by the keeper’s hut

Narrow boat path worn smooth by man and horse

127 miles its navvy cut course

Windswept moors of the west come alive in spring

Herald the arrival of lark and lapwing  

Grey sentinel guards the still above the weir

River of industry now flowing clear 

Stone fronted terraces in the mill shadow cast

Sounds of heavy industry and the furnace blast

Damp cobbled streets greet the echo of the clog

Matchstick characters gather there's always a dog

Brass is the band that parades through the square

Children march behind just for a dare

Polish the step trim the hedge songs of former glory to sing

Pride still lives where cotton and coal were king

This is England my England

This is home my home


This poem was written by one of our members, John Clarke, and just shows that we are indeed a diverse group with members having a variety of interests. John read this to the group at the 2021 AGM and it has been inspired by his walking in the North West including walks with the West Lancashire Group of the LDWA . See if you can recognise John's route.