Ritual carvings, Shenley Wood

I don’t spook easily, these days. I do most of my explorations around MK alone, and have pretty much got used to the tickles at the back of my neck that mean I’m being watched, and usually it’s a magpie about to tell me off, or a neighbourhood cat watching me go by. But on Christmas Eve, when I went for a wander up to Shenley Wood and stepped off the beaten track for a moment, I had a distinct sense that I wasn’t on my own, even though there was no-one else to be seen.

The paths through Shenley Wood are always a bit of an adventure. They’re bark-chipped, for the most part, but often so boggy that in places, I’ve come close to sacrificing a shoe to the ooze. I was squelching uphill through one of these bits when I spotted a strange structure hidden in the trees just off to my left. Any other time of year it would have been hidden in the foliage but winter lays everything bare. It looked like a metal chute chained to one of the thicker trees and I was intrigued to work out what it might be. There was a small track leading off the main path into the clearing, so I hopped and wobbled my way in. However, the odd contraption wasn’t the only thing I found in the clearing.

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The Witch Bride, Caldecotte Lake

IMG_4949It started with a post on Facebook. I still used it heavily, back in those days, and had just joined a new group which posted about playgrounds in the local area. I was looking for one with a bird’s nest swing, I remember, and this group had a handy map showing where they all were. One rainy lunchtime, I was browsing through my feed and idly wondering whether I could face getting up and heading out for a walk when I came across a picture someone had posted up near Caldecotte Lake. It showed a beautiful gothic doll in a black gown, perched in the branches of a tree. The poster had been out walking his dog, and was asking if anyone knew who it belonged to. No-one had replied. Intrigued, I headed for the door before I could change my mind.

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