The enchanted wood

There’s a particular piece of woodland I find myself drawn to time and again. It’s a plantation of poplars alongside a former railway track, now a voie verte – a greenway used by walkers and cyclists. We often cycle or walk the dogs there (and sometimes both).

Véloscénie, Orne, Normandy, France

The trees were probably planted to soak up moisture from what otherwise would be a boggy field. A small stream meanders through it. Thanks to the trees, it’s dry enough for cattle to graze.

Sometimes, though, the trees take on the appearance of a quiet, orderly crowd, perhaps engaged in some obscure ceremony. And at other times, they remind me of the alignments of standing stones at Carnac. There is certainly a monumental aspect to them.

We call it the enchanted wood.

In fact, there are many such pieces of woodland alongside the voie verte, although sometimes they are only glimpsed through the trees that border the track.


They add a sense of drama to any cycle ride, just as you might unexpectedly glimpse a Roman ruin or stone circle while driving an unfamiliar road.

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