The Gift of Inspiration - How a Humble Signpost was Mine.

We are lucky that inspiration talks to us at all. It’s too much to ask that it also explain itself.

- Elizabeth Gilbert

Inspiration comes to us in many forms. Sometimes we knowingly seek things out to receive its blessing and sometimes it appears like a wonderful and unexpected offering that reaches into your soul and calls you to create.

When I moved to West Kent 2.5 years ago, one of the first things that struck me was how stunning a lot of the roads are. Many of the smaller roads that pass through woodland areas have trees on either side that have grown in a curved direction to create beautifully sculpted tunnels. Driving through these grand archways I feel as if I am ceremoniously entering some unknown fantasy land, inhabited by majestic creatures. These woodlands stand motionless to the eye and yet they are filled with powerful energy. To me, it is quite literally breath taking and as I navigate my way around the local area I marvel at these beautiful roads and am filled with an unspoken feeling of invitation. An energy that calls me.

For me that invitation is personified so vividly by the humble public footpath sign. These small green signs placed randomly along the road, pointing into a woodland, a field, stile or bridleway. As I pass them, I find myself slowing down and craning my neck as if they are calling my name inviting me to explore. I have made so many mental notes to check out pathways and have often found myself spontaneously pulling over and parking up as my curiosity and need to break free takes over and I graciously accept that invitation and venture into the wild


It was this feeling and the realisation that it was triggered by this humble signpost that inspired me to write a little poem. I only very recently stepped into the very vulnerable world of writing poetry and it certainly doesn’t flow from me but when passion and inspiration grace you with their presence, they deserve a voice. I hope this little poem goes someway to explain just how symbolic they are to me and no doubt many others. Our beautiful country is covered in these signposts and they all patiently wait for us to seek them out.

OK yes I am a huge nature (geek) lover and a self-confessed tree hugger so you may be reading this thinking I have finally gone and lost the plot. My hope is however, that you will humour me a little and consider these words for just a few moments so that you may begin to see this simple piece of green metal as a national treasure.

Perhaps next time you pass by one you’ll feel that call of an invitation.


An Ode to the Public Footpath Sign

By Tansy Jane Dowman


Step this way for freedom,

a stillness sweet and rare.

Exploration and adventure,

natural beauty raw and bare.


This path leads to connection,

a space to bring you home.

Escape from all the chaos.

Fresh air to fill your soul.


Curiosity rewarded,

playfulness inspired.

An invitation of generosity,

as I disappear into the wild.