At this time of the year, woodlands take on an almost magical atmosphere. The low sunlight, the vibrant green mosses that cushion rocks and walls, the lichens on the branches – they all add to that ‘other world’ feel.

It’s easy as we walk through areas of ancient woodland to feel as though we’re stepping back into the past where small communities lived and worked; farming then was oh so different to the vast machines and factory farming practices of so many in the 21st century.

It’s on walks like this that our thoughts drift not just to the past but to the world of the little people. It doesn’t take much imagination to picture a world of fairy glens and toadstool houses. For some, being ‘away with the fairies’ is a term not always used kindly. This thought led to the following poem …

Secrets Shared With Bees

Folk say ‘Take no notice of him

he’s away with the fairies.’

Aye, well mebbe so, I just let

them think what they like.

I‘m happy in my world – a sight

better than theirs I reckon.

I know  –  when I’m sitting

outside or walking in this bit

of a wood we’ve got nearby –

it’s peaceful. No loud voices,

no rushing, just take me time

look, listen. I hear the bees,

talk to them. Aye, I remember

my old uncle who kept bees – long

time ago that was, but he told me

‘Tell the bees – you have to tell

them when I’m gone.’ So, I’ve kept

telling these here, what’s going on.

Sitting here in the wood, I forget

about other stuff, listen to grasses

rustlin’, watch for my little robin, let

him share bits of toast I keep from

breakfast. He’ll eat from me hand now,

does a little jump up and down first


Some folk say I’m daft, talk to meself.

Oh, I see them pulling faces when I 

put bits of sheep’s wool in me pocket –

to make it nice and soft, warm. I come out

here, forget those folk. This is my place

and where I’ve got real friends, peace.

Fairies? Well, that’d be telling wouldn’t it?

That’s between me and the bees.