Wenlock Edge, Shropshire: this is mythologised woodland, a secular sacred place, a hunting ground and a sanctuary
Sunlight pools on thousands of wild garlic leaves on the bank of an abandoned railway cutting. Trees stand in companionable silence, the breath between them is slight. Days ago, slender ash trunks rattled like yacht masts in a marina, hawthorns hissed in the east wind, great oaks and steeple limes soughed in deep snowy murmurs. Much of the storm wreckage has been cleared from the path; it is now a gallery full of early birdsong and light falling in patches as if from high windows.
Yesterday a blackbird repeated a one … two-three … four syllable phrase of song; today it is elaborated by bright description and excited story. Shakespeare wrote in As You Like It about the bird under the greenwood tree singing “come hither” with no enemy but “winter and rough weather”.
Country diary: wild garlic makes the greenwood greener