A footpath leads from the village of Charlton Down to the next one in Charminster across the fields. I walked up the mown thistle field as far as I could go and reached the stile leading to the next field up the hill – but I couldn’t climb it. I turned back. The stile and steps up to it are concealed from view by a belt of trees. I could see that the ivy-strewn floor of this wooded place was criss-crossed with narrow tracks and trails made by wild animals. Badger, fox and deer roam the area. I followed one of the trails in a downward direction under the trees that border the thistle field. It was quiet and lovely.
Large trees that had fallen in high winds many winters ago were being hidden by the creeping ivy – except in one place where the trunk was scratched and broken beside a large area of bare earth. I thought maybe it was a place where the deer rested and rubbed the velvet from their antlers, or where badgers congregated and hunted for bugs in the decaying timber. A secret place.