“So, what do you want to do on your birthday?”
We didn’t need to ask twice – she reeled off a menu for each meal and a complete plan for the day. Part of that plan was a walk in Eaves Wood – it’s good to see that the apple hasn’t fallen too far from the tree!
Of course, a walk in the woods actually means climbing trees and revisiting old dens. Somebody gave A some Usborne Spotter’s Guides for her birthday. They remind me of the old eye-spy books which I remember with great affection. So we were looking for wildflowers and ticking off and collecting points for the ones we found.
For the kids a walk in Eaves Wood must progress via a series of familiar landmarks: this old coppiced beech is The Climbing Tree, but later they would expect to visit The Best Climbing Tree which is a yew. From there they know how to find The Root House – where a pair of beeches have fallen away from each other leaving a hollow sheltered on both sides by their roots – or The Witches Garden which is a set of limestone steps – the name comes from a game they played there some time ago.
Perhaps this stunted oak, near the the Pepper Pot, will become a new station in our itinerary since it too turned out to be good to climb…
My own walks too link familiar landmarks – The Cloven Ash, The Inevitable Heron, The Lichen-toed Beech, The White-Violet Verge. Patrolling these spots and seeking out seasonal landmarks which mark the passing of the year – the daffodil wood, the bird’s-eye primrose meadow, the winter starling roost – have become as important as annual rituals as the marking of birthdays.
* Yes – this was some time ago – I am once again hopelessly behind.