As you surely know by now Chichester Copywriter likes to get out and about in the local area, especially when the weather’s glorious. Last weekend, Easter Sunday in fact, I visited Uppark, one of my favourite spots on the South Downs. While there, in-between sipping tea and poking around the fascinating old house, I picked up a leaflet on local nature walks. Yesterday morning, when thinking of where I could go for a stroll, I picked up that same leaflet and when I read there was a place close by called Merlin’s Wood I was thoroughly intrigued…
I feared that I might be disappointed because the name of the woods holds such magical expectation but there was absolutely nothing to disappoint me when I arrived at Lavington Common car park. The walk through Merlin’s Wood was detailed on the visitors’ maps as a circular trip that take 20 minutes but after studying the map I made a wrong turn and ended up walking all through the heathlands, the surrounding woods and back by some luscious fields. Needless to say, this didn’t disappoint me either!
The sun was beating down as I ambled through the heathlands at the start of my walk. I pictured what the summer would bring here by way of lizards and butterflies; there were already plenty of bees buzzing around looking to nest. The woods were just as stunning; with rows of lofty Scots pine providing branches filled with chattering birds. These were followed by a patch of silver birch shimmering in the sunlight. There were plenty of pleasant sights to keep my copywriter’s creativity flowing free. It was actually quite similar to taking a walk through the New Forest or on Brownsea Island, two of my greatest writing inspirations.
The walk lasted for about two hours, including stops to photograph the odd natural phenomenon, play Pooh Sticks at a bridge and picnic in a sundrenched field that stretched across the South Downs. It wasn’t until the return to the car park and a revisit of the map that I realised I had completely missed Merlin’s Wood- kind of the reason I came here! Did the mystically named woodland elude me with enchanted trickery or did I just go the wrong way? Either way, I’m glad as I wouldn’t have had the chance to appreciate all that beauty.
I went on to do the shorter walk through the aptly named wood with its twisted trees, dark grottos and bubbling stream. This walk was a lot of fun and offered some welcome shade after a wander across the sun-exposed heathlands. This place really got my imagination working and as I meandered through and below the trees I could see many reasons why this woodland was named after such a grand mythical wizard. The twisting branches merged at the top of a low canopy like sinewy, ancient wands intermingling in their magic. There was even a large, slender, gnarly old tree that stood boldly alone and resembled the form of the wizard himself. A shelter made in a wigwam style with leaning twigs and smaller trunks could have been intended as Merlin’s abode but it looked more like Eeyore’s place to me!
With a mind alive with copywriting inspiration and ideas for a new book but a body tired from all that fresh air and exercise I slumped back to the car with a grin on my face and started thinking about how I could tell you all about this lovely afternoon. I settled into the passenger seat and let my writing head whir its cogs all the way home to Chichester Copywriter HQ…
Here are some of the lovely sights from Chichester Copywriter’s walk on Lavington Common and through Merlin’s Woods: