Almanac: Hidden Kingdoms – In search of the invisible

In summer, the little woodland becomes a dark and shaded place. Leaves grow with such veracity that the canopy above lets in less light than any other time of the year. I share today’s walk with my 12 year old son. It is so quiet here. Sudden rustles of foliage or scraping on bark reminds…

Almanac: English oaks and white bluebells

My two middle sons run down the hill together, so close in age that they are almost the same height. The trees dwarf them. When I think back to this wood, I never imagine the trees being so tall; it seems such a close, small place in my memory. Spring is still with us and…

Almanac: Leafy canopies, wild flowers and a woodland glade

A late afternoon in April. It is the hour of long shadows and changing light; the best time to see the hidden glade. A gentle breeze drifts across the farm fields as we make our way towards the woodland. In comparison to the areas of ancient forest nearby, our local wood is small, only 30…

Almanac: Winter … and a welcome return to tree climbing

Our visit to Bradgate today is a special one.  It is a welcome return to tree climbing.  Our second eldest son has spent the last six months recovering from a broken arm, caused by a painful cyst in the bone. To our immense relief, he has had an all-clear that everything has healed and he…

Almanac: A journey through the rhododendron labyrinth

Very early on Easter Sunday we visited the Labyrinth at Beacon Hill Country Park in Leicestershire.  At this time of day it was completely empty and we were able to listen to the birdsong all around us.  We also took a video, so that you could travel into the centre of the rhododendron tunnels with…

Almanac: The Secret Forest Rope Swing

I had to ask the children’s permission to share this with you, because this post gives away the existence of their secret forest rope swing… they’ve agreed, as long as you keep it to yourselves. In previous posts we’ve shown the farmland and woodlands that are right beside our home, whilst this is one of…