Thursday, 26 February 2015

My Better Place - Flitwick Wood

I'm so lucky to have a beautiful woodland practically on my doorstep.  Truth be told it's one of the reasons we moved here - having a green and natural space nearby was up there with good schools and transport links.

As soon as I walk into a wood, the stresses and strains dissolve away, my heart-rate seems to slow and I can breathe deeply.  I can forget about my workload and deadlines waiting for me at home, or the pile of dishes on the drainer waiting to be cleaned.

There's scientific evidence that forests have a positive effect on mental and physical wellbeing, but I don't need medical research to tell me that.

Any forest will do for me, but my local one is a place I return to time and time again.  Whether it's walking the dog, an outing with the family or an escape on my own.

Walking on the cushiony soft floor, built up of layers of spongey moss and mulch of leaves is a million times more relaxing than pounding a pavement.  



It's an oasis of calm, you'd never know you were minutes away from a busy main road and a stones-throw from a sprawling housing estate.  The trees absorb the modern-day noise and commotion, leaving only a cacophony of birdsong and the sound of squirrels cawing from their leafy dreys way up high.

Without fail, every time I'm here I hear the illusive Woodpecker rat-a-tatting on a tree in the distance, his hammering sending confusing echoes around the forest.  Only once have I ever caught a glimpse of his red and black plumage, but one day I'll spot him.

If I'm alone, without the rumpus of my daughter cavorting through the leaves, or the scent of the dog wafting through the air, sometimes I'll catch sight of a solitary deer grazing from the forest floor. He'll spot me and turn on his heels his white tail bobbing away into the distance.

This is a deciduous woodland, but even in the depths of winter there's always so much to see.  The green luminescent moss and lichen clinging to trunks and branches bring year-round soul-gladdening colour.



I love the mix of old gnarly dead trees, blown over in long-forgotten storms, and whippy new saplings springing up with youth and vigour from the fertile ground.

There's not a season I don't adore in the forest, and this time of year it's all about spotting new life peeking through.  The shoots of bluebells are coming up, getting ready to carpet the floor in an azure display.  Then it will make way to the wild garlic, the air will fill with a pungent heady aroma and I'll come with my basket to collect leaves and flowers for pesto.  Later in the year we'll suck sweet nectar from honeysuckle flowers and pick plump blackberries from the bramble, and in the winter we're dazzled by the ruby red berries on the holly trees.



Once I'm through the gate, I'm enveloped by the ancient space. A feeling of calm and safety washes over me.  This place is timeless.  No cars; telephone poles, street lights or satellite dishes.  In my mind I'm an ancestor of myself from a bygone time.

This woodland has been here since pre-Norman times, and we're still enjoying it today.  If you value  the tranquility of our country's natural spaces, get out there and enjoy them and fight to protect them.

If you want to visit Flitwick wood for yourself, you'll find a map here.

This #BetterPlaces post is in support of the Syndol Find Your Better Place campaign with Britmums. Syndol Headache Relief is now formulated for headaches.  Visit www.syndol.co.uk for online resources with information about headaches and how to restore calm in your life.


46 comments:

  1. What an amazing post - I could feel the benefits of walking through the forest calling me outside. I am definitely going to visit with the family this weekend

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  2. What a fab post. I love walking through forests, they make me feel so happy and calm! The kids love exploring them too x

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    1. Thank you, my daughter's inherited my love of the woods too. x

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  3. What a fabulous place. I have loved seeing all these Better Places.

    There is something relaxing about being outdoors isn't there?

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  4. There's something about walking through woods, especially ancient woodland like your Flitwick Wood.

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  5. OOh you are so lucky to have a place like this close by. There is something so nice and tranquil about walking through the woods x

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    1. I know, really lucky, I try to get up there at least once a week. x

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  6. I want to be there now! Your photos are gorgeous and I love listening to you, I really fancy trying the honeysuckle, that's for sure

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    1. Ahh thank you. Would you believe I took these photos in the pouring rain? Still beautiful there.

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  7. We used to suck the nectar from the honeysuckle that grew around my Grandparents window, I'd forgotten about that ... I love walking in the woods, I generally head for the sea when I want to feel like this, it's a far more open and wild kind of escape but I love the woods too.

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    1. Glad I've bought back some memories for you x

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  8. What a wonderful post and your photos are gorgeous! I live close to woodland too and don't visit it nearly enough!

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  9. I love your photos and your writing makes me want to grab my wellies and get out into the woodland!! Beautiful.

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  10. Lovely photos! I agree with you, walking in the trees is always life affirming and inspiring. I'm surrounded by forests too and love exploring deep into them.

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    1. I can't think of anything better! Thank you x

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  11. What a beautiful place, there is something magical about being able to explore the woods. x

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    1. Ahh yes, magical is exactly right x

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  12. Beautiful place and photos! If this is Flitwick near Luton then we're almost neighbors and my colleague lives there! I have to visit it one day!

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    1. Ahh yes it is Sylvia! Hop on the train!

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  13. Beautiful post and I just love the photo's you have chosen, we are not to far from here and I must take my kids there as It looks gorgeous :)

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  14. What a lovely place for a walk - I find forests very peaceful (well when I don't take the children!)

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    1. Hehe yes, I certainly see more wildlife if she's not with me!

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  15. I love a walk through the woods, especially in autumn and winter...

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  16. I do love the woods - drinking wine in the woods whilst watching the kids build a den is one of my favourite woodland pastimes..

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    1. Blimey Helen! Why the hell have I never thought of that?! Mind you, then I would have a headache ;)

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  17. Such a lovely post, it's calling me to go on a woodland walk this weekend. Great pictures too.

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    1. Thank you, hope you manage to get out there. x

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  18. wow i love places like this so much more than anywhere else .. just being able to be calm and take in the fresh air :-)

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  19. I've got some serious forest envy! I love following your blog so I have nominated you for a Liebster Award. It's just a bit of fun, but I hope you'll want to join in! Just check out my latest blog post to find out more. x

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    1. Ahh thank you, I'll check it out x

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  20. I was about to write "I love a good wood" but that just sounded so wrong... You know what I mean though.

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  21. I know exactly what you mean, me too...and the smell...something about the smell.

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  22. A beautiful place. I bet it is so calming and relaxing walking around and enjoying the gorgeous woods.

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  23. I've just sat down for 5 minutes with a hot chocolate to catch up on blog reading after a gorgeous, long walk with my littlest in the woods next to us! So glad you have some close to you, we feel the same way about our patch. And happily there's a pond there we've just been doing some pond dipping in too, perfect! But my favourite bit of the walk today was finding lots of beautiful, intricate leaf skeletons, not sure what, if anything, we're going to do with them yet, but they are incredible.

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  24. What a lovely place to live by. You must be spoilt for the beauty of the place, it looks so pretty.

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  25. I want to visit just by seeing the name!

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  26. What a lovely place! I live near the countryside but don't take advantage of it like I should xxx

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  27. ooo you are very close to me ;-) This is our local woodland too

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