20 June 2012

Pauper's Wood

paupers wood

If your fairy godmother gifted you a lump of spare cash with the proviso it was spent on plants what would you buy?

Would you tart up your garden, or would you buy a plot of land? When I first started earning a proper wage I set up a savings account with the intention of one day in the far distant future buying some land. The romantic notion was tempered with a little realism in that I was only expecting to own a scrappy bit of field, but the sense of freedom and opportunity it represented was immense. Of course, Life drained the savings dry. It might have been used as the deposit for our first house, or perhaps it paid for the wedding. Now Garden 65 is the only ground I own, and am ever likely to.

Last Sunday, during Didsbury Open Gardens, I visited a piece of land that another woman has managed to buy for herself. Incredibly, on a corner next to a busy traffic artery in and out of Manchester, there is a tiny 2 acre woodland; a magical world of mature trees and tangled undergrowth.

It was once the burial ground attached to a Victorian Workhouse; hence its name ‘Pauper’s Wood’. A few years ago when the surrounding land was being developed a mother of young children, Mary Machlachlan, bought the wood. It is now used as a ‘forest school’ were primary age school children can spend the day exploring nature at their own pace.

“At Wood School we see curiosity as the foundation of learning. We aim to inspire curiosity with stories and activities that explore the woodland and extend out into the world beyond.”

In my post on the Didsbury Open Gardens day I made fun of the money spent on garden designers to produce perfect gardens. It was meant as a light-hearted dig. To be frank if I had a few thousand burning a hole in my pocket there is a strong possibility I too would bring in an expert designer. As I’ve demonstrated in this blog, I don’t have a clue about gardening. However, when walking (or running, or splashing, or swinging) through Pauper’s Wood it’s worth considering what can be achieved when money is combined with imagination and vision.

carving of a frog

Pauper's Wood
The Wood School