I’ve been lucky enough recently to lend a hand with some woodland management at a small community woodland in Coventry. My brilliant friend Anna, who wrote the management plan for the wood, asked me if I’d like to write something for the noticeboard by the entrance. I fed some ideas in (mostly by pushing acorns up my nose) and this is what came out.
Some woodlands have always existed, ancient beyond memory and stuffed with old magic,
They are the origin of a thousand stories, the muse for countless poetic thoughts,
But all woods were young once; even the oldest magic had a beginning.
The desire to plant trees lives within us all, oft suppressed by the stresses of modern life.
The daily grind consumes our conscious minds, yet sometimes delicate bubbles reach the surface, faint echoes of our arboreal past.
And sometimes, when the wind blows right, these echoes take root.
The wind blew right in Counden as the end of the last century drew near, hazy whispers gathering momentum.
The need to plant trees grew and the old horse paddock called to the community, a willing host for their new creation.
Ideas merged into hope that stirred into action; Wedge Wood was born.
She was to be no pure-breed but a much-loved mongrel, a motley selection of species and hues.
Trees gathered from willing donors were planted with great enthusiasm, oak alongside cherry whilst birch neighboured pine.
Barely five acres, a modest new smudge of green on the city map.
Years passed and the trees grew tall, engaged in a perpetual tussle for sunlight.
Footpaths were established by fearless explorers, two-legged and four, as the community embraced the wood.
Birds and beasts took up residence, bringing with them the seeds of a new enchantment.
These seeds grow fast in the right conditions, but are are stifled by neglect.
Unseen wood sprites work hard to nurture them, a volunteer army rich in knowledge and skill.
Coppicing and thinning, laying and pleaching, each act of woodcraft providing kindling for the magic to spark.
Wedge Wood is still young, but already her pull is felt by those who cherish her.
The runners and dog walkers, ramblers and amblers, painters and poets.
For the worth of a woodland lies not in its size or age, but in the joy and awe it inspires.
This woodland belongs to all who take solace beneath her shade.