A Barefoot Pub Philosophy part 2... After our experience in the Blue Anchor, we took to the trail and got our toes out.
The Barefoot Trail
Godolphin House, Helston, Cornwall
Steve Bloor – the barefoot believer
Julie Hanson – National Trust Coordinator and barefoot convert
Peter Kirby, Katie Chown, Simon Tregoning, Adam Ludnow, Greg and Dougal dog – barefoot beginners
‘Your feet aren’t actually gnarly at all’ – Katie on meeting Julie, the barefoot convert. Julie can run up to ten miles barefoot, so you’d expect her feet to be leathery at best. But no, ‘they’re more like a fine Italian leather handbag’, she tells us.
Julie is an ex-patient of Steve who was cured by his barefoot ways. Coincidently, as National Trust Ranger for Mount’s Bay, she was a great person to know when Steve was looking for a large outdoor space to promote barefoot walking. Godolphin House was offered up as a location and Julie is now the unofficial ‘barefoot coordinator’ for the National Trust.
A stroll past the historic Godolphin House takes us over a meadow and into the trees where the sun dapples the start of what looks a little like a children’s obstacle course. And we’re told to remove our shoes.
First foot down and I step on a twig shard. This does not bode well…
Single file! We line up behind our gurus and tentatively step into the bed of bark chippings. It actually feels good – cathartic and massaging. Pretty soon we’re hopping between tree stumps and straw piles like the pros. And our reward? A cooling mud bath. But not just any mud, as Julie explains, this is known as ‘sticky mud’ for a reason. Following a good slop about in the tray of gooey goodness, we wear our mud shoes with pride as we make our way out of the woodland to the end-point hosepipe.
Once you get your head around the inevitability of the odd sharp stone and free your mind from the shackling thoughts of animal droppings, you can understand where Steve is coming from. Your shoes pick up all sorts from the streets and you still walk them through your house, pick them up and don’t wash your hands, endure the pinch of a pretty but not-so-comfortable pair of shoes. There’s lots of science to explain the benefits of walking barefoot (but we’ll let Steve explain that on his Natural Feet Web site) and it really is a great way to experience the outdoors.
It plays to the idiom of ‘Kick back and relax’ – the first thing you do at the end of a long day is take off your shoes, so why not take it that one step further. Steve goes Barefoot most of the time, although admits to donning some footwear when the ground is that kind of cold that sticks to your skin. But that’s not very often.
Our day at Godolphin inspired us to take off on our own and hotfoot it up a nearby hill without the guidance of experts. See how our naked toes got on with our Tregonning Hill Barefoot Walk>
For more information about the Barefoot Trail at Godolphin have a look at the National Trust Godolphin House Web site.
Stay nearby in a holiday cottage near Godolphin House>