I am lucky enough to live near the new Heartwood Forest. I say ‘new’ as it is still in the process of becoming established. The Woodland Trust acquired an area of 850 acres comprising pockets of existing ancient woodland and surrounding farmland. Over the last few years thousands of native trees have been planted. I planted 100, and tied a bit of blue string to a fence so I could locate some of them, and it is still there, [the string, that is]!
I go up there from time to time to see how they are doing!
I love walking through the woods, and seeing the bluebells at this time of year, but I have been sad to see how much damage they have suffered the last few years, from being trampled on. I usually try and make a sketch but I felt so sad about the bald patches I didn’t want to go back with my paintbox. A friend told me about a bluebell woods near her and we went there in the evening, it was breathtaking. There was just one main path that ran through the wood, so the bluebells were intact either side stretching away under the trees.
I stayed the night so I could go back to the woods early the next morning. Standing on the path I made a sketch in pen and watercolour. I had wanted to do a small oil but couldn’t carry my oil box on the bike as I had forgotten my bike basket! I rode home on the cycle path in the beautiful spring sunshine and my heart lifted with the sight of masses of bluebells amongst the trees along the cycle path and a tantalising glimpse of the blue shimmer in private woods on the Childwickbury estate, in the distance. I was cheered too when I read that in years to come the new trees at Heartwood will form woodland that will eventually be carpeted in bluebells!