‘A green thought in a green shade’. It’s a phrase from Marvell’s poem, The Garden, that has stayed with me since my English student days: to my mind a perfect distillation of the calming effect of spending time immersed in nature. This weekend, we stayed in a Yorkshire wood, at Jollydays with Canopy & Stars: a weekend of exploring, sleeping and eating under a canopy of soothing green shade.
Our home for the duration of our stay was a spacious Lodge tent, complete with a kitchen area and a bathroom that boasted a roll top bath (putting the glam into glamping!). At night, we cosied up beside the woodburning stove, lighting the space with dozens of flickering tea lights.
Each morning we awoke to the sound of the wind swishing through the oak trees overhead, their leaves performing a shadow dance on the tent’s sunlit walls. A basket of breakfast ingredients awaited us, to be cooked on the camp stove, and enjoyed on the sunny veranda.
Jollydays was just the place for our woodland adventurers. The boys loved the rope swings and the communal fire pit. They delighted in transporting our belongings to and from the tent using the fleet of wheelbarrows, and they ran wild in the woods, gathering their usual armoury of sticks, and treasures such as feathers and pine cones.
Having visited Yorkshire every year as a child, when my Yorkshire Granny lived here, I took great pleasure in returning to familiar haunts nearby: the North York Moors, the coast at Whitby and Robin Hood’s Bay, York’s Museums, and Fountain’s Abbey. At the end of our excursions we returned to our woodland camp, to cook supper on the barbecue, watch the sun set behind the trees, and toast marshmallows on the fire.
It was exactly what we needed. Time to unplug and unwind, to think and to breathe, in the green shade of an ancient Saxon wood. We’ve left the woodland behind, but the green thoughts remain, as does the memory of golden sunlight dancing through Yorkshire oak trees.
Edited to add:
I’ve made a very short film of our trip, which you can view on Vimeo: