Local author Tim Bird has written a story of the Great North Wood that follows a curious fox as he moves from South London’s present-day landscape back in time to meet past forest dwellers and travellers including a drunk Elizabeth 1.
Long ago the whole of Southern England was covered in forest. Over time, this woodland has been gradually cut back, but small patches remain amidst the suburban sprawl of South-East London. A few ancient oaks still stand in gaps between housing estates, alongside railway lines and acting as boundary markers on roundabouts.
The magic that once filled the ancient forest can still be felt even when the trees are long gone. Memories of the Great North Wood are recorded in the place names – Forest Hill, Honor Oak, Norwood. Stories are told of the bandits, outlaws and gypsies that once roamed the forest, and their presence can sometimes be sensed when the hum of the city is quiet.
Available now from Kirkdale Books at £9.99.