It all starts with nature...

It all starts with nature...

I often look at nature and it often throws up interesting ideas. Take a walk through the woods, soak up the life all around you, step off the path and you will see something different at every step and life’s pressures seem to fade away.

We did this on Sunday, how inspiring this turned out. First, I messaged my eldest son and said do fancy meeting up? Maybe take that walk you told me you had done so many times down to the pub, and we promised we must do at some point. The pub that closed as they ran out of money and couldn’t fix the ovens that broke. A very sad sorry of a family or someone trying to get a foothold in the market and clearly struggled after the pandemic, but this is another story and probably taking place up and down the country. Anyway, I digress, maybe I’ll come back to this one with another idea to share.

Getting back to the walk… So, we agreed to meet up, arrived partly to check out the new shed and landscaping project nearing completion. Typically, it started to rain, well is was a bank holiday weekend, so half expected. Suddenly we have an impromptu, unexpected lunch of French baguette, soft French cheese, homemade chutney he made from a recipe handed down from my dear departed mum, she would be pleased it’s still being utilised today by more generations. A great spicy tomato chutney, (by the famous chutney maker Jacobsun) a nice texture, ideal with cheese. All washed down by a particularly nice French Red wine (Château Fabas Payroulière Minervois - 2017), as you have probably noticed there is a French theme going on here. Why not?

A short while after lunch the weather started to settle, still a little grey, but reasonably warm and dry. So, it was thrown across the table, walk to the pub, unanimously a chorus of why not.

Coats and boots were donned, Will (Lakeland Terrier) was harnessed up and off we trot to explore a wonderful woodland pathway created by a surprisingly thoughtful developer across from the house. New interesting homes nestled amongst a natural woodland and a superb retirement home complex, that didn’t seem to jar with the surroundings. Not your usual hum drum clear the sight, take out the hundred-year-old natural woodland. Well, thought out, with excellent attention to detail. Can’t believe I just said that about a developer, normally I say, we just passed a development of toilet blocks. Very pleasant change.

What’s nice about this part of the walk, as meander down the paths, you then disappear past the homes, leave them behind and it opens out to a wonderful, tiered woodland that falls away to the river below. At each stage there are natural plateaued areas with fallen trees left to rot bringing more life to the habitat.

Wildflowers reaching for the newly formed gaps to the sky. Even nicer, a few perfectly positioned trees to perch upon and watch the river meandering between the hill and pasture beyond.

It was nice to pause, take a deep breath, absorb the earth, decaying leaves and trees around as they provided a wonderful aroma to soak up, while listening to the random chatter amongst ourselves. I arrived to the walk, stressed, constantly thinking about work and the long list of jobs to finish. But miraculously, after drifting through the first part of the woodland journey everything seemed to clear, first my mind, everyday thoughts and I was spirited to another place of full tranquility. Strangely, I hadn’t really realised this until I had started to write this piece and I was able to escape again, how wonderful.

While meandering through the woodland looking at the trees and broken branches, you see how these primitive benches and stools we source and sell, would have been conceived. You notice a wonderful shape that has formed with a slight curve and then another shooting up from a trunk. A woodsman looking at it upside down probably had a light bulb moment, stopped, studied and thought. That’ll be the making of a great seat for milking the cows, or sitting beside the fireplace, bingo. Maybe this is how the traditional old spindled leg milking stool was created, from a light bulb moment walking through the woods. Well these ideas sprung from somewhere!

Well centuries ago, you couldn’t pop down to Ikea and pick up a flat pack, or could you.

Interestingly though, whilst researching Gypsy tables, I found out that a company based in the New Forest, in the South of England did just this.

William Gerrard ‘Maker of Gypsy Tables William was born in Lyndhurst the capital of the New Forrest. His parents had moved there from Lymington sometime between 1830 & 1840. Only a short distance now a days, but maybe a considerable move back then. It was thought that his father, grandfather & uncle were involved in the furniture trade.

But getting back to flat packs and the reason I mentioned him, it turns out he produced a table with a round top, three turned legs with a bamboo effect features and an under-tier shelf. The key point was the legs had screw thread ends, so you could flat pack the table and he sold it through adverts. So flat pack furniture as been a round for centuries. More about this in another piece….

I digress again, but all these thoughts were spurred on from seeing these spindle branches that have formed part a many milking stool or benches over the centuries.

Part two of the walk…

We head off out of this woodland walk, cross over the road and head off down another track. The path descends gradually, but builds to a great descent, this is going to be a hard climb after a pint or two I thought, feel a leg burn coming on, on the way back up later.


As we drop down the winding path it opens up to another wonderful woodland that sprawls across the hillside. As the space starts to open up, we look to our right and there is this amazing cutting that stretches for a long distance on a slightly tiered section of the hill and it’s full of wild bluebells carpeting the area from the path along as far as the eye can see, absolutely stunning and breath-taking at the same time. BluebellsAs you can see from the photograph, I managed to frame it in the V of the branch. Descending the hill further, we notice the bluebells breaking out on both sides and cuddled the path down the hill. What a find, well worth the wait for sure.


Eventually we arrive at the water meadows below, usually, I’m told they are scattered with Friesians. Lucky there was no need to worry about circumnavigating the wide-open pasture. A nice comfortable wander across and we arrive at the wooden bridge, back to the guided footpath and obligatory yellow arrows and apart from walking down the sides of houses and a few rural properties we are almost shooting distance from the pub, almost there and I say, it is still open. Admittedly that didn’t go down well after all the walking, but someone quickly googled the pub and its open on til 7:30. Bit of luck as it was a later afternoon walk. Needless to say a round of drinks, more discussion and chatter soon revitalised the walking party and gave our feet a respite.

Great afternoon, good company and here is to celebrating nature and especially wild bluebells. 

Woodland walks amongst the bluebells


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