The week after Christmas we had a sprinkling of snow and visited one of the kids favourite spots for a walk. Although really it is not the walking but the rock climbing that the kids love. They would climb over all the rocky outcrops on the way up the hill and then have a race down the parallel grassy slope all the way back to the car. Cademan woods is near Whitwick, about 7 miles from Loughborough, and other than the odd mountain biker, or dog walker it is very quiet (at least until we arrive).
It is enchanting, like the hidden stairway to a magical castle and I am grateful to have found it and enjoyed so many happy hours there with my kids and their friends. I would love to know the history behind the steps. Who carved them, when and why? They feel hundreds of years old to me.
I can imagine that maybe it was a hidden lookout post, to keep watch for marauding armies, or the location of a warning beacon. It may even have been a hideout, or is there a secret cave full of treasure hidden within ;-) For children it is a place filled with opportunities for imaginative play, from storming the 'castle' to hiding from attackers or just climbing over all the rocks. It could be Rapunzel's tower, Sleeping Beauty's overgrown castle or the mountain the Pied Piper leads the children to, How amazing to have this as your den?
There are so many enchanting places, but you won't discover them if you walk the same path each time and stick to the main routes. It might mean overcoming some of those excuses that we put in the way like.....I don't know where this path is going, I might get lost, it may be trespassing, it will be muddy, I need someone to guide me. As with many things in life, just do it and it will be fun.
I really wanted to find a wise quote to express how I feel about this, but then I came across Jodi Ettenberg's wonderful blog Legal Nomads and an inspirational presentation from 2011. Although Jodi's experience is with travelling to exotic places, her message relates just as well to exploring your local surroundings or just life in general. Be grateful and open to opportunities.