This green and pleasant land

As I have this week off work and I didn’t want it to be all consumed by chores and report writing etc, we decided to take a trip out yesterday.

Fortunately the weather was cooperative and we prebooked our car park slot, packed up a picnic lunch then headed out to Hatfield Forest, only about 20 miles from home.

Now owned by The National Trust, the forest used to be one of the foremost hunting parks of kings in medieval England. It boasts some 3,500 species of wildlife, ancient trees over 1,000 years old. It is maintained using a mixture of grazing, coppicing and pollarding.

We did manage to spot some deer 🦌 from a distance, there was plenty of evidence of cattle having grazed there. We saw the odd squirrel, butterflies, waterfowl and woodland birds.

We walked around for nearly five miles, barely talking to each other (not because we’d had a fall out) just taking in the surroundings and enjoying largely the peace and quiet. The only time the sound of children invaded was when we got near the lake where there were several small groups of small people running about. The only other invading sound was the occasional airplane ✈ taking off or landing at the nearby Stansted Airport.

I tried to image what it would have been like in medieval times, totally unadulterated and before Capability Brown started fiddling in 1757. Thankfully he didn’t alter too much. There are two or three little dwellings dotted about in the firest, totally cut off from everything. Presumably they are lived in by the forest manager. We imagined what it would be like to live there in the days when the Sovereign may want to stop for hunting and what it would be like to live there now, in a time where everyone and everything is so connected.

We are extremely fortunate to have such pleasant places to experience so nearby and it gives us the opportunity to get away from the grind, breathe the fresh air and just be.


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