I thought we’d go for a little walk by a river. It passes a park on the west end of this small town and seemed like the perfect place to stretch your legs before dining at a local restaurant. It’s one of the stars of this county’s remarkable food scene.
But my friend had other ideas.
“If we’re going for a slap-up dinner, we’ll have to work up an appetite,” he announced. So he took me across the park, across the river and over what seemed – to my idle legs – a steep ridge. On the other side, we visited a small secluded body of water (“bright as the sky”, according to a famous local poet) before turning south to cross a second river, flowing from west to east. Until 1974, it was the border between two counties.
We continued south. By now my mood was black, which was appropriate given the ground we’ve been through. But I rejoiced when we reached a landscaped area of trees and water protected by the National Trust. It wasn’t the connection with a children’s author that encouraged me. It was knowing that, in the old mining village two miles to the southwest, we could catch a bus back to where we started.
At the village, Friend pulled out two pairs of training shoes from his backpack.
“And now?” I gasped.
He pointed to the top of a tall hill that shares part of its name with the village. “Isn’t it obvious, old man?” he says. “We’re going to do like the locals and run to the top.”
The only run I made was to the 505 bus stop.
1. What is the name of the second river?
2. What is the area of wood and water called?
The winner and one guest will stay two nights, B&B, at Alexander House & Utopia Spa. Awarded five red stars in 2019, in recognition of outstanding service, this elegant Jacobean mansion stands in 120 acres of parkland and gardens on the edge of the High Weald in West Sussex, in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Accommodation will be in one of its sumptuous Cedar Lodge Garden suites with private terrace, and the price includes free access to the state-of-the-art Utopia Spa. Here, the winner and their guest will enjoy an 85-minute Oskia body and face ritual. They will also be treated to a ten-course tasting menu, each accompanied by a flight of wine at AG’s, the hotel’s three-rosette gourmet restaurant. For full details of all rooms and facilities at Alexander House, including the 1608 Champagne Bar, visit alexanderhotels.co.uk.
The lot is valid, from Wednesday to Monday, until December 1, 2022, subject to availability and excluding public holidays.
Don’t see the contest form? Enter thesundaytimes.co.uk/wherewasi
Last week’s price
The answers are Ham Hill Country Park and Montacute House. Janet Benton from Dorset wins a luxury Cornish holiday for two at the Meudon Hotel.