It was late on a Sunday afternoon, we were all in need of a little fresh air and decide to go for a walk into Heartwood forest. I’d already read about the stunning sea of bluebells every Springtime, but had heard from a neighbour that there is even more to see than that. Heartwood forest is a large area of ancient woodland nestling beside newly planted trees and is made up of four woods – Langely Wood, Pismire Spring, Well & Pudler’s Wood and Round Wood.

Back in 2008, the Woodland Trust acquired over 800 acres of arable farm land, and over the last decade has not only protected the ancient woods, but has planted over half a million saplings, transforming it into beautiful woodland with wildflower meadows.

Once we had arrived we decided to be really adventurous and go on the Magical Meander, a mighty mile and a half walk! As we started along the pathway, I noticed huge oak and birch trees to our left, yet to our right were hundreds of saplings – still so small and young. It was fascinating to see a forest in the making; to see the unusual contrast of old and new.

Being city dwellers, we made a wrong turn once or twice, but saw countless bluebells, poppies and daisies along the way. Skylarks and goldfinches were darting high above us swooping their way in groups, and closer by, unusual butterflies danced in and out of the dappled sunlight. As we continued further along the grassy path, it gave way to a shaded ancient forest. The tree branches arched over to meet each other creating a canopy high above us, and as I treaded the cavernous cool darkness below, I felt as if I’d stepped into a Grimm’s fairy tale.

Eventually we found our way onto the main path, enjoying the vast spaces and distant views of the green patchwork hills and fields. Heartwood forest offers acres to explore by bike, horse or on foot. It’s amazing how you can immerse yourself in nature, and within ten minutes find yourself back in the centre of St Albans sipping a cappuccino. As we leave, I realize that I’ve been completely captivated over these last couple of hours, grateful that this woodland forms part of my daughter’s young memories and hopeful that, through these acts of reforestation around the world, our planet might be saved after all.