FAIRYTRAILS #6: Willow

Updated: Mar 30

Our sixth tree in this outdoor storying challenge!



Welcome to our 'Fairytrails' challenge! If you would like a quick outline of what this is all about, click here! If you're ready to go - let's do it!


Recognising the willow...

  • There are several different types of willow but the one you're most likely to find locally is that which has been used to make willow tunnels. This willow has long and slender leaves and yellowy bark.

  • Use Flora Incognita or the Woodland Trust app to help you be certain that what you are looking at is, in fact, a willow tree!


When you pop out for your walk and finally find your willow, you might be interested to know:

  • Willow used to be used to help with coughs and fevers - by making a tea out of the bark. Our modern 'aspirin' was the first synthetic drug to be made from a naturally occurring compound found in both willow and a flower called Meadowsweet.

  • Certain types of willow are great for weaving - think wreaths, baskets, tunnels...

  • Willow is associated with the Greek Goddess of the moon Hecate - teacher of prophecy and witchcraft!

  • It used to be thought of as a tree of celebration but it is now associated more with mourning and grief.


Now's the time for a tale...

Click here to read the short story of the little Willow Wren - a tale about how a plucky little bird became king of them all!


Outdoor storying challenge #6:

OPTION 1: Learn a little bit more about tree leaves with this interactive game from Tree Tools for Schools but the Woodland Trust. (More games and activities can be found here.)

OPTION 2: How many different types of leaves can you collect when you're next out on your walk. Try the game again but with the leaves you've collected by your side. What words can you now use to describe them?



Bushcraft, podcasts and other things that might interest you...

  • Where there is willow, there's often water (generally crack willow, white willow and weeping willow).

  • We are completely in love with the books Lost Words and Spell Songs by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris. If you haven't already got them - definitely check them out!

  • In addition to this, the accompanying album Spell Songs is also incredible and it's worth having a look through the explorers pack that accompanies it.


Happy outdoor storying y'all! Let us know how you get on!

Pridie, Elva & Adelind :)




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