A popular spot for many families from Chard and Crewkerne (a local secret, I do apologise for sharing), Wayford Woods only came on my radar last year, despite being just 6 miles from my house. Tucked away in a sleepy corner of Somerset, these woods are managed by a Charitable Trust so don’t get the publicity of some other beauty spots. Lovingly maintained they offer a fantastic outdoor space to walk, run, climb, swing and picnic.
Courage, Confidence, Excitement – Outdoor Fun
This woodland made the national press last year, when you read on you will think “oh yes I remember, the Fairy Woods”
Home to just few fairy families for many years, their little front doors delighted local children, hidden at the base of trees in little nooks. They were the source of many family’s happy days out as children had their own favourite houses and fairy stories. In a strange parallel to the real world, some well meaning folk thought that there was plenty of room in this idyllic woodland for many more fairy families, and before you knew it the wood was covered with new little doors and the fairy population grew exponentially. Children started to bring little gifts and sprinkle glitter. Not surprisingly all this attracted a great deal of attention as many new visitors came to see the fairy’s houses and walk round the woods. Bearing in mind road access to the woods is not entirely easy (down a roughed unpaved road), this became a major traffic problem for the village and caused parking issues. More visitors attracted the press, local and national tv came along, followed by even more visitors, many who were sadly less than respectful to the bluebells. What was once a tranquil wood for locals had become a tourist attraction.
“It’s sad that all the fairy doors have been taken away, but in some ways it’s understandable”
The woodland committee met and made a rather extreme but understandable decision, the situation was untenable. Not only were the new families to leave, all the fairies would have to go. So this thriving fairy population was evicted, their front doors taken away and within a few weeks it was as if they had never lived there at all. The only evidence I found was one old tree where the door had been cut into it.
What became of most of the families I don’t know, but I was pleased to see that some had been offered asylum in a nearby tea rooms called Lucy’s (see below). Maybe you know of other families that have been successfully relocated.
Walking Through the Woods
This walk is through natural woods, it’s not completely flat, sometimes a bit rough, in places muddy.
We meet friends by a large pond, full of large fish (goldfish?), then the children found a great muddy puddle. They raced off, a swing was next on the route, then a ‘troll’ bridge, followed by swinging rhododendron branches. Hours of fun if you have the time to watch them play. For the grown ups in the spring the bluebells are apparently fabulous and we were treated to the beautiful rhododendrons and azaleas in flower.
The woodlands follow a roughly circular route with a choice of paths which loop and cross around a large central open grassy meadow, a great picnic spot. Overall the whole site covers 29 acres, although the route we took is approximately 1.5 miles long (although I’m sure the children with all their zig zagging covered a lot more!).
So there you go – another fabulous and still magical spot right on our doorstep – but don’t tell everyone, it’s our new secret!
The children soon found some mud!
So if you didn’t take a picnic or sufficient snacks then there is a lovely tea room close by (how handy)! We went to Lucy’s Tearoom at Oathill Farm on the main Crewkerne to Lyme Regis road heading back towards to Lyme Regis, which was really lovely and will be subject of my next review.
From the A35 at the Hunter Lodge / Lyme Regis junction, turn towards Crewkerne on the B3165.
Drive for 10 miles until you reach the village of Clapton – slow right down and look for an unassuming wooden sign pointing left to Wayford opposite the old mill – turn here.
After 1/2 mile turn left again into Wayford Village.
Follow the road straight ahead, past the old manor house, past some terraced houses on your right.
Now the road runs out! Don’t panic, another 1/4 mile along on an unpaved road and you will see a small carpark on the right.
Holvert Lane, Wayford, Crewkerne, TA18