"There's magic in the modern world, if only we can attune ourselves to its enchantments." - Carolyn Larrington
Have you ever wondered whether the tree you're leaning against is a hazel or a hawthorn? Would you like to discover some of the folklore connected to our local flora and fauna? Are you up for some wild and wordy adventures, and what about enjoying a story outdoors?
Inspired by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris's mission to "conjure back the near-lost magic and strangeness of the nature that surrounds us", my girls and I would like to share an extra special blend of the two things we love most in the world: stories and the outdoors.
This is a project that you can dip into whenever you feel like it - there's no time limit and no rules about where to start and how to do it. Let the trees and the tales guide you!
What is 'Fairytrails'...?
'Fairytrails' is all about creatively reconnecting with the wild outside; allowing the outdoors to breathe new life into our experience of story, and story to magically animate the landscape around us...
Throughout the trail, you'll encounter tales told, read and written down, discover some of the folklore associated with the trees, plants and creatures we see outdoors, pick up some handy natural navigation tips and learn a little bushcraft and plant lore. Pretty soon, you'll be reading the landscape confidently and creatively - looking at the wild outside in a whole new way!
For Bristol bods, we've created a little outdoor storying route around our local park (Victoria Park, Bristol).
If that's you, then grab our map of Victoria Park (see red box/bottom of page for map), feel free to embellish it with goblins, piskies, witches and the like...and, during half term, we challenge you to visit each of the trees, plants and creatures marked on the map!
If you aren't local to Victoria Park, Bristol - don't panic! You can still do this where you live. You might just need a little extra help from the fab free apps Flora Incognita and The Woodland Trust to check you've got the right trees. We'd love to see the maps you make and some of you might even be brave enough to share them with your local area so others can enjoy an 'outdoor storying' experience!
How to use Fairytrails...
Start by selecting one of the trees, plants or creatures featured in the grid (see below). Each outdoor element has its own blog post.
Listen to the story we've connected to that tree, plant or creature. This might be read, told or written.
Navigate your way to the spot you've chosen / or find somewhere similar in the area you live and get busy with some active identification using the apps recommended.
Little ones might like to have a go at the outdoor storying activities we've suggested.
Bigger'uns / wise ones / grownups might like to check out the articles, podcasts and reading recommendations we've popped into the individual blogs.
Let us know how you get on and if you feel like creating your own 'Fairytrails' map for your local park or garden we'd love to hear all about it!