Visiting an Old Green Friend


The Path

Yesterday I visited a woods I hadn’t been to in about 14 years.

In the 90s it was a really sacred place to me. I worked at an industrial estate just down the road (the industrial estate was in the countryside. One of those old planning agreements that hopefully wouldn’t get through these days). The 90s was a time of huge spiritual awakening for me. Every lunchtime I would take my Cocker Spaniel (and Arch Druid) for a walk through the woods. I knew almost every tree, I told them stories as I walked, I took my harp there and played to the Spirits of the Woods (and the occasional dog walker who just couldn’t believe they’d stumbled upon a harper in the woods. I probably could have busked there quite happily).

I took my mandolin and played as I walked. Sometimes I would sit by a tree to play and a song would appear, almost complete.

I did the work for my Ovate grade of the Order of Bards Ovates and Druids by a huge Beech tree in that woods, and when I collected the staves for my Ogham set I collected all but 5 from that woods. I’m pretty sure that I could take you to every tree I cut a stave from even now.

I took my children there too. We walked through the woods to an old Hornbeam that seemed to stand like a portal to Faerie, and we would leave a little pile of silver sugar balls as an offering. You know, the kind that go on fairy cakes. It seemed appropriate. My boys

The Faerie Tree

The Faerie Tree

still remember that tree, but they remember it as being huge. We’ll all go back there one day and they’ll see it again – an old being, but not a large tree.


It was a magical time.

My company moved away so I said a sad farewell to those woods and I found new paths to follow. Then life changed completely as it sometimes does.

But over the past few weeks I’ve been reconnecting with some of these places from my past. Having an energetic puppy has given the opportunity to tread those older paths again. So yesterday we took a drive to those woods. I parked up in the same place I parked 17 years ago, got Oscar from the car and walked through the gate and into the woods.

It’s weird sometimes to go to places like this – places that meant so much. It’s as close to time travel as I think it’s possible to get because it felt the same as it did back then – it even smelled the same. As I walked I could see myself, my spaniel, my sons who were so young, playing amongst the trees. I said a fond hello to old friends. Trod old and familiar pathways. About 5 minutes into my walk I saw movement.

Oak Broom and Meadowsweet was whispered here

Oak Broom and Meadowsweet was whispered here

I stopped and peered through the branches as two Hinds darted out in front of me – a blessing for a man called Damh. Almost like the woods remembered my voice and was saying “hello again, haven’t seen you for a while”.

The magic was added to when Oscar discovered the pond… He is getting very fond of water.

I passed the old Oak where I’d sat all those years ago communing with the Fae, and the words of Oak Broom and Meadowsweet seemed to be whispered into my ears. I told the story on this blog quite some time ago, but to see my old friend and to remember that moment so vividly was wonderful. The bluebells were only just going over as we walked on and I saw the Faerie tree. It really isn’t big at all. We spoke a while. I told the tree where I’d been, what the last 12 years had brought. I think it heard me.


A Vista across to the South Downs

Crossing a bridge opened a wonderful view of the South Downs, then we arrived at a place where the path was so muddy and wet it was almost impassable. Well, Oscar didn’t seem phased by it as he rolled around, but I wasn’t wearing wellies, so we took a slow walk back.

There are other places me and Oscar will be going. Reconnecting with the Source. Re-membering. It’s the journey of this year for me.

There are puddles and ponds at a lot of those places too…


  1. coral and john May 12, 2014 at 2:47 pm - Reply

    Lovely. ….thanks for sharing x

    • Damh the Bard May 12, 2014 at 6:02 pm - Reply

      You’re very welcome! Thanks for your comment x

  2. Kev May 12, 2014 at 4:24 pm - Reply

    I know that feeling, I too have a wonderful cocker spaniel. We too visit a wood near by, and the peace and tranquility of the place is magical.

    • Damh the Bard May 12, 2014 at 6:03 pm - Reply

      Cocker Spaniels. There are very few living beings that can give a cuddle as well as a Cocker Spaniel 🙂

      • Rob Baldwin May 13, 2014 at 4:59 pm - Reply

        Agreed. Although the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is pretty good at it, too!

  3. Andy May 12, 2014 at 4:38 pm - Reply

    What a great story. I do envy you Damh for finding your path so early in life. Its taken me 57 years! Better late than never eh? Best wishes to you and yours.

    • Damh the Bard May 12, 2014 at 6:04 pm - Reply

      Absolutely Andy! All the best to you also.

  4. Linda Newman May 12, 2014 at 5:06 pm - Reply

    This took me back to the days in the 80’s when I walked our dogs in woods close to us in North Kent/ South East London. They had their magical places too that have stayed with me and like you I talked to the trees and fairies. One wonderful winter’s evening there had been a heavy snow fall and also there was a full moon with clear skies and brilliant stars. We gathered up the children,along with our kids of course,who lived in our cul de sac and took them for a mooonlit walk in the woods. No torches needed. It was as bright as day. Living in East Kent now, near the coast, we have yet to find woodland with that same feel to it so perhaps a revisit to our old woods with the grandchildren would do us good. Thank you for sharing your memories. I would have loved to have been one of the inhabitants of your wood and to have heard your magical music. Blessings.

    • Damh the Bard May 12, 2014 at 6:05 pm - Reply

      It’s quite something when the spirits of a woodland open up to us. That walk sounds wonderful. Sounds like a trip back there with the Grandchildren would be a lovely idea!

  5. Leonore May 12, 2014 at 8:43 pm - Reply

    How lovely …… , this is one of those times when you just connected or re-connected with old friends …… thank you for sharing this … and I enjoyed the walk too x

  6. jayne May 13, 2014 at 10:10 am - Reply

    Thank you for posting this. I understand exactly what you’re referring to. I recently have visited places which I haven’t seen for ages as well. Rocks, trees, rivers, streams. It’s lovely to say ‘Hello’ again to old friends or spirits!

    I’m glad too that Oscar is with you now. Dogs & water are a great mix…

    Blessing of the Sun to you all.

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