Greetings fellow Adventurers!
If there’s one place we Templetons love to visit, it’s woodland, especially if it’s a forest. There’s something magical about wandering under the branches of trees, with the subdued quiet and the light filtering through the leaves – it makes you feel you could be at any point in time.
Savernake Forest, near Marlborough in Wiltshire, is at 4,500 acres the largest privately-owned forest in England, boasting hundreds of ancient trees including several historic Oaks. The oldest of these, the aptly named ‘Big Belly Oak’ is reported to be 1000-1100 years old – truly an old man of the woods.
- Location: Wiltshire
- Total distance traveled: 140 miles
- Total time at the wheel: 3 hours
- Packets of square crisps eaten: 8
- Website: Wikipedia
We’ve visited a number of times over the past few years and it never fails to impress, and last week’s trip was no exception. After an initial battle with the new walking ‘Grumpy Positioning System’ (where it was nearly integrated with the car park via the open car window) we sallied forth to explore. As we set out the early (ish) morning light was breathtaking, illuminating the mists in the trees, making them look like giant woodland wraiths.
As we walked, we enjoyed the varied scenery as the makeup of the forest changed every time we rounded a corner – spotting the glorious ancients as we went, along with the odd woodland inhabitant. Lunch was taken sitting on the trunk of a fallen tree, surrounded by only silence and a grey squirrel. The butterflies were also out enjoying this unseasonably warm February weather. Our daughter, always seemingly a magnet for wildlife, acted as a landing pad for one large one that had taken a shine to her – perhaps as folklore suggests it was the spirit of a long departed woodman… or possibly a cat.
We ended up walking nearly 7 miles around the forest, barely seeing another soul as we journeyed through the timeless wooded avenues, devoid (mostly) of the sounds and sights of modernity. One of the wonderful things about Savernake is that you can walk most of the day and, aside from one corner, escape completely the noise of nearby traffic.
Eventually, as the late afternoon light warmed the trees and the shadows lengthened, we looped back towards the car park, only stopping to say goodbye to the old Oaks and to admire the silent deer that crossed our path. It stopped to look at us for a short while and then, obviously deciding that we were of little interest – vanished like a ghost.
We reached the Ratmobile as the sun started to set. We’d all thoroughly enjoyed our walk and the many old and new woodland friends we had met. But home was calling – as was the magnum of Prosecco chilling in the fridge!
Farewell my Friends!