If you go down to the woods today….

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Depending on which woods you go to, you could definitely be in for a big surprise! Last weekend my-friend-T and I went a wandering and we started at the small woodland of Jardin D’Olivet high above Bouley Bay.

You wouldn’t have wanted to be here in 1549 when the Jersey Militia were in a bloody battle with French invaders, but nowadays it’s much more inviting. We stepped into the small woodland, unkempt (not just us, the woodland too), with no paths to speak of and a surprising amount of fallen trees (the ’87 storm perhaps) and there was a real sense of being lost in a forest.

20140122-064553.jpg However, as you wander around the woods you get a sense that not all is what it seems. Through the trees we glimpsed a most unusual building.

20140124-222111.jpg Closer, and closer still, we went to investigate.

20140122-225933.jpg And there stood a roofless building, a folly. The facing stones are made of Rozel conglomerate, and the normal, naturally vibrant purple of the stone was all but subdued under the green covering of algae.

20140122-233705.jpg From inside the small building feels like a stronghold. Now, where did I put my bow and arrow?

20140124-223345.jpg Wander, wander, wandering we went, climbing over the massive roots of fallen trees, avoiding the scratching holly bushes, enjoying the damp earthy scent of the forest floor, trying to make sense of some of the other structures we came across……..

20140124-231103.jpg I loved the the very existence of this castle in its little woodland setting. It belonged here. I couldn’t find a fairy princess, sleeping beauty or even Rapunzel. But I did find a dancing devil. Can you see him? Can you make out his figure on the castle walls?

20140124-231507.jpg We surveyed our lands though the brickwork portico, then wandered on some more.

20140124-231743.jpg I haven’t managed to find out very much about the woodland but it feels very much as though this was a small part of a large estate, with the follies built around the gardens, a romantic distraction. In the garden of the adjoining house there still stands an elegant arched bandstand.

20140124-232231.jpg We left the little wilderness and walked along the plateau, and soon were presented with magnificent views; L’Etacquerel Fort, White Rock, Le Dirouilles reef and over the sea to Normandy, France.

20140127-152406.jpg I adored this young oak, the shape of its branches reminded me of the Hermetic saying “as above, so below” and I can easily imagine the root system below ground matching the shape of the branches above.

20140127-153357.jpg The leaf buds are there, quietly swelling, getting ready for the burst of spring, sitting alongside the oak apple galls of previous years.

20140127-153902.jpg But still the odd autumnal leaf was hanging around.

20140127-154511.jpg We dropped down off the plateau and walked down the cliff path towards Bouley Bay, a small harbour on the north coast, and a favourite for swimming. But only in the summer! The deep water makes the water cool here.

20140127-154334.jpg Before we reached the bay we came across this enchanting tree, windswept and interesting (like us!), and stopped a while to enjoy.

20140127-173116.jpg Alas, what goes down must go up, and up we went, following the path as it zig-zagged it’s way back up to the plateau once more.

20140127-173416.jpg Although the trees are bare of leaves, there was interest enough in all the different kinds and colours in the bark.

20140127-173750.jpg Not to mention the lesser spotted log caterpillar my-very-special-friend-T found for us.

20140127-174112.jpgHappy wanderings!

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