Sunday, 29 May 2016

If you go down to the woods...

Now, I'm constantly going on about how much I love the seaside (and visit year round), I also have quite a thing for mountains (I've climbed Snowdon and still have plans for more when the little man's older), but I tend to forget all about woodlands.

I suspect this may be because we don't have any woods to speak of here, and it's been nearly 30 years since I lived around the corner from any. But those I did live around the corner from then were pretty fab. Last weekend we managed to combine a trip to the beach with a walk in those very woods...

So the woods were a 5 minute walk (for a toddler) from our house until I was 6, but after we moved a little further away they were still 5 minutes from my Nan's bungalow, so we visited often. It's a pretty sizeable wood with a great range of trees and a beautiful carpet of bluebells in the spring (which had just about finished last week). There are hilly bits to scramble down and a stream to get wet and muddy in and they're pretty much my idea of the perfect wood. 

I used to just pop down there with my Mum, but frequently with my grandparents too - when we went through their old photos after my Nan died last year we found quite a few of us in the woods, and they brought back really happy memories of cool walks on hot days and collecting bits and bobs from the leaf litter. 

Unfortunately the Great Storm of 1987 (which we called the Hurricane at the time, but Mr M absolutely forbids me from referring to it as this "because it's wrong"!) the woods were really badly hit. I recall crying a lot. We couldn't get in there for ages because all the paths were blocked and by the time we could it was just barren and bare, a completely different place. Every time we drove past the woods in the next 18 months before we moved away I felt a slightly nauseous pang, and I'd try not to look - even writing about it now makes me feel sad. 

My previous visit before last weekend was with my parents in the mid 1990s - it'd been tidied up a lot - boardwalks built on the boggy areas by the stream, and lots of new trees planted. It felt optimistic but not really like my woods. 

When our drive back from the seaside unexpectedly took us right by them I made Mr M stop and go for a stroll - I don't think he was that keen - little man was being a bit of a pain and he just wanted to get home. But stop we did. The little man loved the fact that they were the woods I played in as a child and that I felt so happy there - oh and as you can see it's growing back pretty well. Almost feels like it used to. There were plenty of bits I didn't recognise, but then we'd turn a corner and see a view I knew very well. 

So, this city girl likes the sea, the mountains, and the woods (yet to develop a passion for fields but maybe that's my teens spent in Lincolnshire!). I'm now on a mission to find some to visit closer to home, but we'll be popping back to my woods the next time we pass through (whether the boys like it or not!).

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