Depending on which woods you go to, you could definitely be in for a big surprise! Last weekend my-friend-T and I went a wandering and we started at the small woodland of Jardin D’Olivet high above Bouley Bay.
You wouldn’t have wanted to be here in 1549 when the Jersey Militia were in a bloody battle with French invaders, but nowadays it’s much more inviting. We stepped into the small woodland, unkempt (not just us, the woodland too), with no paths to speak of and a surprising amount of fallen trees (the ’87 storm perhaps) and there was a real sense of being lost in a forest.
And there stood a roofless building, a folly. The facing stones are made of Rozel conglomerate, and the normal, naturally vibrant purple of the stone was all but subdued under the green covering of algae.
Wander, wander, wandering we went, climbing over the massive roots of fallen trees, avoiding the scratching holly bushes, enjoying the damp earthy scent of the forest floor, trying to make sense of some of the other structures we came across……..
I loved the the very existence of this castle in its little woodland setting. It belonged here. I couldn’t find a fairy princess, sleeping beauty or even Rapunzel. But I did find a dancing devil. Can you see him? Can you make out his figure on the castle walls?
I haven’t managed to find out very much about the woodland but it feels very much as though this was a small part of a large estate, with the follies built around the gardens, a romantic distraction. In the garden of the adjoining house there still stands an elegant arched bandstand.
I adored this young oak, the shape of its branches reminded me of the Hermetic saying “as above, so below” and I can easily imagine the root system below ground matching the shape of the branches above.
We dropped down off the plateau and walked down the cliff path towards Bouley Bay, a small harbour on the north coast, and a favourite for swimming. But only in the summer! The deep water makes the water cool here.