My newest ‘fad’ is one that I keep coming to back time after time.
Ever since I rocked up from my little country surrounded by mountains, I have missed one essential thing. Forest. The forests in the middle of Europe are dark green and for decades have not belonged to anyone in particular. Even now, after the arrival of private ownership, they are mostly open to the public and the public will use every walking path, every shady woodland, every magical glade.
When exploring my tiny corner of England, I found hedgerows ending in locked gates and notices that pointed me to well trodden footpaths. And not that many trees.
But since then. Since then I have read about everything about woodlands that is available in your typical mainstream bookshop. I have dreamt of a slither of woodland, where I could learn all about the tree and animal species. Where the wildlife will eventually restore the balance of eating and being eaten. Where the resident fox is so busy with all the other occupants that he completely forgets my chickens.
Well, recently I have been given a reluctant nod to do something about it. After joining the Woodland Trust I discovered that there is a possibility to apply for a grant and a helping hand in creating woodland.
A field has been identified. Maps unearthed from a pile of farm paperwork. Link to the relevant page on Woodland Trust saved to ‘favourites’. So now I am waiting for the green light – from me. Why the hesitation? Could it be that I am worried of being told: ‘you are not eligible for this, you silly woman, this could never be a woodland’? That would be like taking a hundred steps back after making that one little shuffle forward.
I can hear you: ‘just go on, be brave’. And I will. Having fallen in love with John Lewis-Stempel’s books on woodland, I have what I need to make it happen. I will apply today.
Well, after I’ve swam in a freezing cold sea with a bunch of crazy women – but that’s a different story…