If you’d gone down to our woods today

by Helen on November 21, 2013

 If you had been in our woods today you would have seen two lively and mischievous Newfies out on their morning walk … 

Ben and Daisy

Yes, the very handsome Mr Benjamin and his naughty little sister Miss Daisy were having a lovely outing in the crisp, cold sunshine.  Ben in particular has been rejuvenated by the chilly days… all summer long he lazed and snoozed, feeling so lethargic in the summer heat … 

View from my iPad

But now that winter has arrived he is full of life, galloping around and crashing through the undergrowth, whilst the ever-energetic Daisy is positively fizzing with excitement these days!  I thought you might enjoy this little video of them staging a mock-fight (ignore the growlings, this really is just play) around the trees and through the fallen leaves.  Don’t forget that Ben weighs around 160 lbs, and Daisy about 110 lbs, so they’re quite large dogs and the woodland floor seemed almost to tremble as they charged around playing their silly doggy games!

Then home, and I’d like to introduce you to another two woodland creatures – these are much quieter and better behaved!  Meet Holly and Berry – baby reindeer – my reworking of a vintage design to be included in the December issue of the Bustle & Sew Magazine – published in just a week’s time (eek!)  Hope you like them!

Holly & Berry




Along the river at Loddiswell

by Helen on April 30, 2013

Another bright sparkly day!  I feel as though for the last six months or so I’ve been living beneath a damp grey flannel – which has suddenly been whisked away to reveal a lovely sunshiney world with blue skies and little white puffy clouds – instead of dreary grey skies, mud and almost incessant rain.  It feels wonderful to be able to throw open windows and doors, pull on my walking boots (instead of wellies) and set off for a lovely walk without the expectation of returning home soaked through or plastered in mud.  So yesterday we decided to revisit a walk we haven’t attempted since well before Daisy joined our little family.  

Loddiswell River Walk

I parked near the old station at Loddiswell (a victim of Beeching’s cuts in the 1960’s) which is now a private home – but you can still clearly see that it was once a busy little station.  Our walk takes us along the path of the old railway track, alongside the river ….

Loddiswell River Walk

 My furry companions ran ahead, as always.  Daisy is in front – goodness knows why – she hasn’t a clue where we’re going.  Ben knows though, and remembers the path down to the river…. 

Loddiswell River Walk

 the River Avon – a beautifully clear, shallow and fast-flowing river that runs down from Dartmoor.  It’s great for splashing around in – sorry about the poor camera control here ….

It’s not easy when you have TWO naughty newfies doing their best to soak you by splashing and shaking as much as they can!

Loddiswell River Walk

 Then on the way back we walk more slowly – the air was pungent with the aroma of wild garlic – great banks of green strap-like leaves lined the path on both sides.  I think we’ll come here again next week to see the blooms – and perhaps there’ll be bluebells too by then.

Loddiswell River Walk

 I spotted this baby fern frond uncurling itself amongst the garlic leaves.  And of course Ben had to stop for a drink at one of the little rivulets that run down the mossy banks towards the river – this one formed a lovely little pool at just the right height for a newf…

Loddiswell River Walk


Although how he could possibly have been thirsty after all that splashing about goodness only knows!!


Ouch! A limp in the woods!

by Helen on November 27, 2012

Bustle & Sew Magazine

At last the December issue of the Bustle & Sew Magazine is finished and safely uploaded.  I’ve mixed Christmas projects with some for games and toys, as well as the Fantastic Fox cushion I showed you back at the beginning of the month.  Publication day is Thursday, so not long to wait! 

Ben always gets very bored and fidgety in magazine week.  This is because I have to concentrate very hard on all the computer stuff, and so he does not receive the amount of attention that he feels is due to such a handsome animal as himself!  But at last everything was done and I called him to get ready for an afternoon walk in the woods.  He was anxious and eager to get going, bouncing all around the hall – and eventually surpassed himself by coming down heavily upon my foot… 

Late Autumn Walk

.. and then refusing to move until I gave his big furry bum a good push! Ouch!  But he was far too excited to care.  It’s looking very wintry up in our woods.  Most of the leaves have fallen, but at least the rain has finally stopped and I was able to catch a good shot through the trees….

Late Autumn Walk

 The sun was low in the sky, so I didn’t delay to take more “artistic” snaps, but hurried on after my impatient friend  who hates waiting for me to take photographs ….

Late Autumn Walk

 But perhaps it’s just as well we did hurry along (although I was limping slightly!).  When we emerged from the shelter of the woods into the path through the fields on the other side, this was the view we saw ….

Late Autumn Walk

 And we made it home just in time before the heavens opened!


A walk along our Green Lanes

by Helen on July 10, 2012

We are lucky to have a network of traditional Green Lanes around our village.  These are ancient packhorse and drovers’ tracks which have left behind a legacy of deeply hidden pathways running between banks and hedges – often up to 15 feet high on either side.  We are also fortunate that those near us have not been allowed to become neglected and overgrown, but are maintained, with new hardcore deposited every few years to counteract the effects of erosion.  Earlier today Ben and I set off to walk the lanes between Chillington and our nearest neighbouring village, Stokenham. 

Walk out from Chillington

Although the flowering season is past its peak it’s surprising how much there is to see in the hedgerows if you take the time to stop and look.  Bluebells, Primroses and Orchids are finished, but there are still some tall spires of Foxgloves remaining, the Vetch is in full flower and there are even tiny wild strawberries to be found if you bend and part the leaves with your fingers. 

Walk out from Chillington

At Carehouse Cross we turned down the bridleway towards home.   Here the lane is very deep indeed and the hedges rise on either side …

Walk out from Chillington

 And although you are high above the village and you know the land runs down towards the sea, you cannot see anything until you come to a gap in the hedge where a gate once stood …

Walk out from Chillington

Would you like to see the view? Let’s go a little way into the field ….

Walk out from Chillington

 Yes – there is the sea.  I knew it was there!  Then the lane closes in again, and it feels as though you might be underwater in the damp greenery beneath the trees… 

Walk out from Chillington

And it’s downhill all the way home! 

Dandelion Bunny Embroidery (3)

Finally, I’d like to say “Thank you” to everyone who left lovely comments or emailed me about my Dandelion Bunny cushion.  I’ve decided that I will include the pattern in the August issue of the Bustle & Sew e-zine in honour of another bunny pattern creator.  (Very excited here!) Yes, there will be an interview with the amazingly talented Debi Birkin in the August issue.  Debi is the lady who created the knitting pattern that I knit my bunnies from – including Betsy in the picture above. 

But that’s not all … as well as an interview with Debi, there will be a giveaway to enter only in the magazine to win my Betsy Bunny – complete with stripey stockings and little pink shoes.  That’s in the August issue out at the end of this month.  Plus loads more too – hope to have more photos to show you next time.