It was a warm day with a clear view of Mount Hutt. Time to stretch my legs on the pretty Methven Walkway.
Sun hat firmly planted on head, I set off towards the road. Just past the new Opuke Thermal hot pools and spa, powered by glittering solar panels, there is an unassuming entrance to the woods. The path skirts the Trotting Race ground and leads towards the RDR. RDR is short for Rangitata Diversion Race. It was built in the early 1940s and consists of a long canal-like waterway which diverts river water in order to irrigate over 100,000 hectares of farmland. However, it is no use thinking of the dingy canals of Peeky Blinder Birmingham. The RDR is full of beautiful blue water, and the backdrop is the Southern Alps. With this as my goal, I plunged into the woods.
There was a big sign, adorned with a slightly soggy net butterfly, saying “Enchanted Forest”.
Excitement mounting, I skip along the pathway under the trees to find myself in an amazing land of fairies that, unlike Puck and Arial, do not appreciate the finer points of poetical meter. There are numerous enticing fairy house doors in tree trunks along the path, with painted windows above them. The more ostentatious residents have signs that explain their particular position or peculiarity. For instance, a smart tree with a red door, red windows and a pathway adorned with red painted stones belongs to Fairy Michelle. Her sign is helpful: “The Fire Chief is Fairy Michelle, any sign of fire ring her bell”.
A posh home with more red stones, a shiny sequinned door and a flattened plastic crown nailed to the tree trunk belongs to Fairy Queenie. She is “the ruler of them all. When fairies need her help they need to call”. Then there is the home of the OCD fairy: “Keeping her house all neat and cosy, the tidiest of all is Fairy Rosey Posy.
The creepiest door belongs to the tooth fairy. Orange, with green and white windows. Her sign says: “Tooth Fairy likes to boast how her door is bigger than most, inside is where baby teeth go, white and bright all in a row”. (I have added some commas here and there to assist reading). We also learn that “Fairy Gypsy flew to Australia to see Bluey and Bingo. She visited Aussie Zoo, saw a kangaroo and dingo.” Well done to Fairy Gypsy for broadening her horizons. I hope her wings did not get too tired. Some of the houses have fairies who obviously do not fly so well – perhaps due to age, infirmity or obesity. I know this because they have small wonky rope ladders to help them get down from their high front doors. I felt very sorry for Fairy Bayley, who was always scraping her knees, but my favourite was the livestock keeping fairy. “Who stole all the sausages and hid them under a log? It wasn’t Fairy Lavender but her naughty little hedgehog”.
Interspersed with the quirky fairy houses were some diversions. There were three cylindrical blind mice running down a branch, a nest of rather beautiful red dragon’s eggs, a fairy tunnel (not a real tunnel but an exercise in perspective painting), a place for Santas sleigh to pull in, and a fairy tea party laid out on tree stumps (with a do not touch sign).
On my way I passed several small children with mummies and dogs in tow, who were obviously enjoying the delights of the Enchanted Forest. We all said “Hi!”, we adults grinning at each other conspiratorially. One very small person toddled up to me on the path, but quickly backed up when I said hello. Perhaps she thought I was the wicked witch, or – god forbid – the tooth fairy.
I wandered over the flower draped bridge (artificial blooms of course – they need to withstand the elements, the children, and the fairies) and wondered where Shrek, Fiona and Donkey had got to. The sign said we might be able to spot these celebrities putting in an appearance at the “Fairy Hall”, but they must have been avoiding the paparazzi, because they were not in evidence.
At last the path led out of the trees and up the bank of the RDR, where the kind residents of Methven had placed a wooden bench for weary walkers to enjoy the view across the fields to the mountains. A very small combine was busy far away. The blue water and wild banks were peaceful.
I braced myself for the return journey through the Enchanted Forest.
2 responses to “The Enchanted Forest”
How wonderful. The children must love it. I remember seeing something like this before on the internet. I can’t remember where the place was, but the little windows and doors appeared overnight along a footpath. No one knew who was doing it. People came from far and wide to see the magic. Then the vandals arrived and things were broken or stolen. Everyone in the neighbourhood got together to repair the damage. A sign suddenly appeared from the fairy queen saying thank you.
Glad you enjoyed reading about the Enchanted Forest Paula! One of the great things about countryside NZ is that they have such a wonderful sense of community and rarely have vandalism…it is always a shock when it does happen. Thanks for looking!
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