The old tree is very hard to find. You have to look for the overgrown track which leads away from the lane and follows in the tracks of the fox and badger. A tiny brook chuckles beside you, hidden behind reeds and golden Marsh Marigolds.

Many children have climbed the tree over the years. The twisted limbs give good footholds and it is easy to scramble up and lose yourself in the leafy canopy. Even for me!

Some days it is enough to sit with a book and read. Sometimes I can sit and listen to the birds who come to perch with me and tell me their stories. Oh yes! They have plenty to say, believe me!

Occasionally the Kingfisher flashes past, a shimmering blue arrow on its way down the brook. Then, of course, there are the woodpeckers. Bright and bossy they come to tap the trunk for insects. Or, with a raucous yaffle, the Green Woodpecker passes by, seeking ants in the grass below me.

It is a good place to sit and think. A place to seek ideas and create stories. Stories set in the past or the present. Stories of lands far away or nearer to home. Stories to open the eyes or sharpen the ears. Stories which, I hope, will take today’s children into their own magical world of the Woodpecker Tree.