When you were little did you ever dream of finding somewhere completely secret, somewhere only you knew where to find, somewhere magical and special?
For me it was a set of rock pools on the beach. I knew where to find them no matter how long we’d been away, and I could probably find them still but you needed exactly the right tide to be able to find them exposed from the sea, and even then it was a whim of the sea whether they’d be full to the brim of shingle or scoured out by the latest storm.
And if you were in luck you could drop down through a little round opening in the rock into the pool below. Waist deep clear water, usually breathtakingly cold, sparkling in the light filtering in from a crack that ran the length of the roof of the cave as it bounced off smooth wet walls, duck egg greeny grey rock painted a soft coral by some sort of algae, and ruby clusters of jelly like sea anemones providing all the hint of hidden jewels you could wish for.
No one could see you once you were in the pool, you were utterly hidden even from someone walking close by.
One day I hope I will be able to show my little ones where to find that pool and I hope my memories have held true, and that the rocks have held up in the intervening years (the latter is probably the bigger concern!).
I think having grown up in one of the most beautiful parts of the country I don’t exactly have wanderlust, or at least if I do I tend to want to wander back to Devon, but a childhood filled with exploring the wild places has certainly left its mark. And if I can’t provide a beach or a cave or the big skies and high places of Dartmoor, I can at least start us off on a lifetime of discovering the secret places.
So we went to find a little hidden wood.
In the heart of Leamington there’s a little triangle of land tucked between two railway lines and the main road. I think it’s been used as railway sidings, or just scrub but in the last year or so it’s been rediscovered and now there’s a little loop of a trail around the edge.
You can still hear the town, and every now and then there’s a rattle as a train scuttles past on one side or the other, but it’s got that same feel of being hidden, tucked away from the world.
There’s a tiny pond with a little deck to stand on to peer into the pond, with a solitary pond skater, two pond snails and a whole lot of duckweed to spot, though no frogs, no matter how hard we stared and Kitty wished.
It’s still a work in progress, and as we rounded one corner we found two lovely ladies willow weaving; they’d already finished a chair and were working on a gorgeous tunnel, perfectly sized for our two lovely ladies.
It’s going to be wonderful when it’s finished, and when it’s had a few years to grow but the girls adored it as it is now; they ran back and forth and played peek-a-boo through the side and spotted the ribbons holding it together.
It was a lovely way to escape for the afternoon.