|Wood anemone: photo Jo Sinclair|
I flattened out my concertinaed Ordnance Survey map and scowled. Planning a trip to collect something seventeen miles away, I wanted to plan a walk in a wood on the way. But in the countryside near the road I'd be driving along I couldn't find a single one with a public footpath.
I ventured over the border into Essex to make a spring pilgrimage. Wanting to find woodland wildflowers I needed a nice green patch on the map with green dotted lines inviting me in.
Reaching Little Bendysh Woods near Radwinter I found a cheeky declaration of territory. Badgers had dug neat latrines along the bottom of a metal gate. Their pots of poo mimicked the human boundary where a twenty year old warning flapped in the breeze. Foot and Mouth disease: Keep Out.
Flowers embroidered the edge of the wood, scant survivors of years of clear-felling and a recent excavation of mud (satisfyingly known as slub) from the ditch. The boundary is a typical sign of ancient woodland, coppiced, felled, fiercely protected. It made me think of peasants ruthlessly punished for poaching. Surviving a fragile existence on the edge of the ditch oxlips, lesser celandine, dog violets and wood anemones spangled the ground with yellows, purples and white.