We decided to go for a luvverly Family Walk in the woods yesterday, or the "Deep, dark woods" as Xanthe the Gruffalo fan insisted on calling them. Our favourite spot is Tyrrel's Wood just off the A140 near Long Stratton. It makes a great day out when combined with a visit to the tea room at Goodies Farm Shop and sometimes, if you're really lucky, you can observe a lesser spotted Rick Wakeman enjoying a tea cake in there. Good luck though, in navigating the arcane rules on what constitutes 'hot' and 'cold' food and the serving times of the afore mentioned food groups. (cold sandwiches are 'hot' and hot sausage rolls are 'cold'. It makes my head ache)
I find navigating Tyrrel's Wood quite hard, it's a smallish wood but disorientating, though that's probably a characteristic of most woodlands with their restricted visibility and plethora of small creatures content to occupy themselves with flitting through your peripheral vision before scuttling and scratching in the undergrowth in an alarming fashion. Superstitious? Moi?
We somehow or other managed to get on the wrong path, we were anticipating a walk of about half an hour but ended up trudging in a depressed and slightly panicky sort of way for three times as long. All sense of direction vanished and we actively repressed memories of the Blair Witch project, especially after stumbling across a number of hastily assembled little shelters made of fallen branches and haven't we passed that log before???
It really didn't help matters when we stumbled across this grisly artefact, a neatly severed hare's (or possibly rabbit's) head, wedged into a tree at a height of about 6'. I'd be interested to hear from anyone who has the vaguest clue as to how or why it may have come to be here. There was no trace of the rest of the body and it was a very neat job which made me wonder if it had been done by human hand. I've previously seen dead animals festooned on forest gates, rats and the like, nailed neatly into rows so maybe this is something similar though I've no idea why anyone would nail rats to a gate either (that's not a phrase you use every day).
Fortunately the children were fascinated rather than alarmed though they were moaning like crazy about wanting to get back to the car. Obviously we made it home in the end, thanks largely to the fact that we were in a small wood in otherwise open countryside so we stuck to the outside edge and slowly made our way round in a huge circle. I think Xanthe picked up on our panic as she tearfully told Adam "I'm only coming back here when there are no trees any more!"