You were born to walk. It’s the simple, biological truth. When we evolved to stand upright, humans were all condemned to progress on two feet forever more. You are sort of adapted for it after all, with hips, legs, knees, feet and brain, and a uniquely engineered spine with wonderful curves. Add stereoscopic vision and a fair sense of balance and you can see how we have made a major biological investment in walking.

It’s not that other mammals don’t do it (walk on two legs). Apes, monkeys, dogs in circuses and cats on U-tube, all spring to mind. The point is that going upright on two legs isn’t their main means of getting about. It always was ours. We evolved to do it and doing it. We walked out of Africa. We walked south as the ice sheets advanced and north as they retreated during the ice ages. As children we struggle to learn to walk, we win praise when we manage to totter upright and we worry our parents if they think we are ‘late’ walking. Walking defines us.

Riding anything is really very recent. Horses, donkeys, camels and the rest are a blink of an eye back in our history. Cars, bikes, planes and pogo sticks hardly register at all for all that they figure so much in our modern lifestyles (maybe not pogo sticks so much). So while you can ride to L’Age Baston any way you want, the best way to get to know what lies outside the gates has to be on foot and guided by John.

You don’t need loads of gear: a hat, a light waterproof (just in case!), good footwear and the cool, clear eyes of a seeker of wisdom and truth will do nicely. The rest comes by taking the right steps, so walk for health and sanity. Remember – walking is for life!

So isn’t this is about the right time for all you walkers out there to promise yourselves the chance to walk in the deep green and sunshine of a Charente Summer? Here’s the deal, you send us your cold, wet, grey February and treacherous March along with your booking form and in return we let you share our walking vision of green and blue and gold, of shady paths, deep forest and clear tracks.

Imagine walking from the natural liquid enchantment of the Springs of the Touvre to the folk magic of the ‘Lantern of the Dead’ at Pranzac. Go by way of the Foret du Bois Blanc and the Caves of Queroy and still be back at L’Age Baston in time for rosé and lunch in the Courtyard. You know you could actually be doing this respectable trudge with grace and ease if you had the right walking guide and local knowledge?

Or how about the joys of wandering from the Moulin de Menet and its rare double water-wheel, all the way to St Sornin where your rosé actually comes from?  This time you go by way of Chateaux Chabrot and Lavaud on the road called ‘Hanged Fathers’ Forge’ then climb up through the chestnut woods to a high point called ‘La Fenetre’. It’s true you know, you can see for miles across the Tardoire Valley from there. It’s a long way by road but you’ll be taking a more direct route through lovely country criss-crossed by a confusion of paths, tracks and white roads. Happily for you your guide will be taking the strain and making the decisions. The advantage is he not only lives here but he hasn’t got lost for years. There are lots of paths and lots of things to see. All you have to do is relax, walk and enjoy the scenery.