At the latest count we have 35 regional parks in the Auckland region, most of them set in glorious countryside along the coast. When it comes to walking, hiking, swimming, running, surfing, mountain biking, hang gliding, picnicking —we are spoilt for choice. Every year thousands of Auckland schoolchildren spend educational days, sometimes camping overnight, in the parks learning about the value of an unspoilt, well maintained environment and the simple beauty of nature. Future custodians undergoing early training. It’s a truly invigorating thing to recharge one’s batteries in such places. A couple of weeks ago we took some visitors from England on a walk over the hills of Shakespear Regional Park on the Whangaparoa Peninusla. I haven’t spelt Shakespear wrong, it’s the name of the man who once owned the land. Like many of our regional parks, areas of Shakespear remain part of a working farm, bought and run by the council for the enjoyment of Aucklanders and our visitors now and forever. Shakespear is one of our favourites because of the views it affords looking over the Hauraki Gulf to the city of Auckland. Over the hills, not far away.