I’ve long written about the amazing woods that are near us. Not only do we walk Gorby in them almost daily, we view them as a part of our life here in this tiny village, on this tiny island. The woods are magical, and I have a whole set of photos here to show it.
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Above all, it is where the bluebells are.
And where every year, we photograph the twins in the bluebells, as we have done since I was pregnant with them.
Moreover, they are filled with tiny doors for the elves to get in through, and tiny houses that the fairies live in. I’ve blogged about it before. The adults enjoy it just as much as the children do, walking through the woods and spotting new doors, new houses, new castles that someone has lovingly hung up for the children.
Or at least we used to.
The Bluebell Woods, as they are called, are something the locals have always loved and shared. This year, due to the extreme weather we have been having, the bluebells were exceptional. It was like bathing in a sea of backlit lavender light, an eye-popping purply blue wherever you looked. They were so beautiful that the locals walked through the woods as often as we could, and we spoke amongst ourselves at their incredible beauty.
Only word got out.
We noticed it the weekend we went to take photos of the twins with the bluebells – there were a lot of people in the woods. Unusual numbers, and people we didn’t recognize (when you’re a dog walker around here, you get to know the other dog walkers, too). None of these were dog walking people, they were people with prams, and kids, and cameras. None of which we minded, mind. But lots of them.
When we left the woods – which you usually enter on foot via a public footpath – we saw cars. Many of them. Cars parked there so that people could walk through the woods. And this became the norm, more and more cars parked there (I once counted up to 20 of them) and the place packed with people, all families there to see the fairies and the bluebells. Nature began to suffer, as it does when people are part of it. The bluebells started to get trampled, I found a crisp packet (which I tidied up) and a packet of baby wipes strewn across the ground in a semi-exploded fashion.
Apparently more word got out – I understand it was posted on one of my least favorite social media sites (Mumsnet – however I did a cursory search on it but did not see it on there). It went in neighboring village’s school bulletins. People started to stop us, while we were out walking the dog, asking where the fairy woods are.
It became too much. The owners of the woods have closed them to the public.
Moreover, they pulled down all the fairy doors and houses, and they pulled them down for good.
When Nora heard about it, she cried.
I’ve ordered my own fairy doors for us to paint and hang up around our home.
A part of me thinks that something as amazing as those woods were deserve to be shared. Beautiful things are right for being spread. A part of me – the selfish part of me – is angry the world ruined it for the rest of us. Ultimately it doesn’t matter – the woods are gone, now. Off-limits. And the greatest sadness of all is knowing that a slice of magic – that wonderful, amazing slice of magic – is gone for the children.