For a long time now I have visited a nearby woodland - well, it's more of a copse really - a chestnut copse - an ancient chestnut copse, that was once worked by woodsmen who earned their living from the trees. Now long abandoned and left to its own devices inhabited only by creatures of the night. A secret silent place, save for the soughing of the wind in the tree tops, the sound of the songbird and the sudden flapping of wings from a startled pigeon.
There are no trails or pathways to follow as I wind my way through the semi-darkness looking for the light. Just me, alone with my thoughts, scrunching on dead leaves and spikey chestnut husks; snapping dead twigs with each footstep.
A squirrel follows me from high above, racing along the gnarled and twisted limbs of the trees. The woodland floor is lush with snagging brambles and nettles that sting my ankles and bluebells gone to seed. Where the canopy is spare shafts of sunlight shine through and dapple everything with spheres of light.
There are humps and hollows in the dry earth where the badgers have made their homes and come out to play as evening falls. Evidence of rotten trees that fall in high winds, no one to hear them as they tumble and crash through the undergrowth.
Out in the light bracken grows shoulder high and saplings flourish - there is green of every hue, inviting you further in as you lose all sense of time and direction.
Making my way slowly to the edge of the wood I see a clearing with sheep grazing contentedly in the fields beyond - I blink in the bright daylight as I take in the patchwork of fields on the horizon. Such a bucolic sight and one that I hold dear. I wander around a little more then make my way back to the road - the spell is broken - but this special place of quiet tranquility is imprinted on my memory, till the next time I feel the need to visit.