Friday, 6 May 2016

Guest Post: Why I love living in Hurn


Chantelle Atkins was born and raised in Dorset, England and still resides there now with her husband, four children and multiple pets. She is addicted to both reading and music, and is on a mission to become as self-sufficient as possible. She writes for both the young adult and adult genres. Her fiction is described as gritty, edgy and compelling. Her debut Young Adult novel The Mess Of Me deals with eating disorders, self-harm, fractured families and first love. 


Her second novel, The Boy With The Thorn In His Side follows the musical journey of a young boy attempting to escape his brutal home life. She is also the author of This Is Nowhere and This Is The Day. Her next release will be a short story collection related to her novels, followed by the YA dysopian novel The Tree Of Rebels. She also runs Chasing Driftwood Writing Group, providing creative writing workshops for adults and children. 


I love where I live because I have the best of both worlds here. Hurn is a village location, so has that community feel about it, but it is only a ten minute drive from the larger town of Christchurch. Hurn is very small, and has a lot of traffic flowing through it, but if I leave my house and walk down the lane I can imagine I am in the middle of the countryside. 


The Lane
The lane itself is one of my favourite places, as the further down it I go, the quieter the road becomes. On an average day, I will see rabbits, squirrels, ducks, swans, geese, buzzards, herons, cormorants and the occasional deer. In the warmer months part of the lane becomes engorged with bright purple rhododendrons. They push out from either side, creating a tunnel. It sometimes feels to me that nature is always trying to take over here. She is always reaching out, stealing more space, becoming brighter and bolder and greener.


River Throop

The lane winds down to Throop river, a place I enjoyed as a child...lots of paddling and catching tiddlers in buckets. Again, the further you follow the lane, the more you feel you are in the middle of nowhere. There are blackberry bushes on either side, Oaks overlooking you and fields beyond the hedgerows. You will find the ford, via Pig Shoot Lane, and I'll immediately become filled with memories, my own and my mother's, as she was born and raised in Throop village. 




River Throop Ford



There is so much history in this place. The shallow expanse of water is inviting to both dogs and children, and if you cross the little narrow bridge, you can sit down on the banks on the other side to skim stones or enjoy a picnic. I just love it here. It's such a happy, bright place.








My favourite part of Hurn is Sopley Common though. I walk my dogs here most days and I barely see another soul. I feel like it is mine. The dogs run free, the skies are always amazing, the land is sandy and dry, the views breathtaking, and the solitude eerie. 



I get all my best writing ideas over here. All the conversations and dialogue kick off in my head as I walk the dogs. Ideas come out of nowhere. I often stop and tap them into my phone so I don't forget. It sometimes feels like it is all too much, like I need to slow down and remember to breathe. I stand up on the hill and gaze down at either side. The land stretches out, covered in gorse and bramble and heather, and broken up by clusters of pines. The skies seem huge here, like you can see for miles. I always feel better once I have had my walk over here.



You can find and follow Chantelle on Pinterest, Wattpad, Twitter, Facebook and Amazon.

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