Sunday, 17 July 2016

Wild spaces

The area we live in has seen many changes over the past 20 years. It still just about manages to hang on to its identity as a village, although some of the farmland has been turned into housing estates over the years. But there are still plenty of wild areas to enjoy, and one of these is a very special little grove of trees. For a while though this favourite walk through the trees has been closed off and we could only peer in through the wire at the increasing tangle of undergrowth and gathering wind-blown litter. Then one day things started to happen. Men with diggers and chain saws turned up and I started to worry.  But something wonderful has happened. The ancient trees have been treated to some professional surgery, little areas of wild flowers have been planted, and best of all a proper footpath through the grove has been made. It has taken a month for them to complete it and we took a first stroll through it last week.

Funny how some areas can just feel magical. This small grove is just a stone’s throw away from the airport, but judging from the age of some of the mighty oaks which line the footpath leading up to it and a look at some ancient maps of the area, this was once a field boundary in what was farmland. The farm would doubtless have employed many local men and we know there was a smithy as we have a road called Blacksmiths Way in the village.

The house where Anna Sewell lived and wrote Black Beauty is not far away. Horses still graze in the pasture opposite and her window looked out onto it. The old photograph above shows horses on the road nearby to her house.

So we linger amongst the trees and hedgerow, watching squirrels, jays and speckled wood butterflies in the wood, and discovering interesting tiny creatures in the hedgerow. We notice wild roses become hips, hawthorn berries reddening and the year racing oh so quickly by. Every sunny (or rainy) walk together is treasured.
Spent the morning cutting shapes and drilling holes with my Proxxon drill stand. These will be used to make a necklace, with the ring shape soldered on and filled with something richly purple berry coloured. Unlike the year, I'm going sloe! The leaf shapes are going to be earrings.


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