Falling back in love with the Wychwoods

For many university students, lockdown has forced us to make the decision to come home to be with our families during the uncertainty. This meant missing out on the final term of our university year, and for some, graduation. It’s safe to say that at first, the thought of being away from university, our friends, and our independence for the foreseeable was upsetting. As time has passed, however, many of us have found that this time has allowed us to fall back in love with the Wychwoods – the place where we grew up.

Alice (University of East Anglia, Norwich):

Now that I am entering into my final year at university, it’s been a while since I’ve spent this amount of time in the Wychwoods. Over the last few months, whether it’s running, going on long walks, or bike rides, I have come to appreciate the village that I call home.  When walking in the wild gardens or having a picnic in Bluebell Wood, it’s hard to see how I ever took where I live for granted. Living in a city you come to miss the obligatory hello’s as you pass someone (and their dog) on a walk, the clear unpolluted skies at night-time, and the sounds of birds waking you up in the morning. 

Martha (University of Bristol):

Moving back from busy Bristol to the quiet village of Milton was at first hard to get used to, but I have since discovered there are many great things to love about Wychwood life. I have time to reunite and reminisce with friends again, many of whom are usually scattered across the country in their own university cities. I have time to go on long walks with my dog who, in particular, is lapping up the extra attention that comes with us all being locked down at home. The fields I walk through seem to stretch on for miles. The community spirit that runs through the Wychwoods is a refreshing change to city living. Even though it is a simpler way of life, I have thoroughly enjoyed my village lockdown and would happily swap busy streets for peaceful footpaths again soon.

Charlotte (University of Sheffield):

Returning from a busy urban street in central Sheffield to a virtually traffic free lane here in Shipton has brought many realisations.

The past three months of village life have left me wondering what it will be like to not be woken up by streaming sunlight and birds singing at 4:30 every morning. To stop myself from saying hello to every passer-by, and to not be able to pass hours doing very little, sitting out in the garden. 

Calling the Wychwoods home is a huge privilege, and one that I think has passed most of us by growing up here. The feeling of quiet seems so difficult to replicate anywhere else- but something I didn’t appreciate until I moved elsewhere.

Alice Williamson, Martha Duffy, Charlotte Taylor

August – September 2020