In praise of... a Magic Kingdom

Sometimes, on my early evening walk, I like to go to the Trap Grounds, a seven-acre urban wilderness about ten minutes' walk from my home. Here reed beds sit alongside small ponds, woodland is interspersed with scrubland and a boardwalk lends a tropically swampy feel to muddy water: all a rich mosaic of plants and wildlife habitats, housing a variety of birds and butterflies, plus dragonflies, glow worms, water voles and a lot more.

The Trap Grounds' website allows visitors to post details of sightings, especially of rare species. I happily confess to my ignorance about these; a Lesser Spotted Whatever could be looping the loop in front of me and I'd be completely unaware of the privilege. For me, the magic of the Trap Grounds lies simply in its wild, untrammelled existence; in sun-dappled leaves, enticing criss-crossing paths and - right now - bushes promising blackberries in abundance. Maybe one day I will spot one of the resident kingfishers, or a slow-worm basking in the sun; for now, though, I'm more than happy with the occasional glimpse of a dragonfly, or a fluffiness of ducklings paddling by. Here I can wander or sit, pray, reflect, explore, be still, enjoy...

I recently downloaded the site's map, and discovered that the team of committed volunteers who manage it have named different areas. My seven-year-old self would have thrilled at them: Frog Lane... Cuckoo Copse... Foxglove Meadow... Periwinkle Wood... Primrose Path leading to Dragonfly Pool on one side and Slow-Worm Glade on the other... fairy tale names for a fairy tale place. And in the middle, just by one of the ponds, is a small area called Magic Kingdom.

Magic Kingdom... yes, that's what this whole place is. Between a railway and a canal, only minutes from houses, pubs and shops, these seven tenaciously and lovingly preserved acres are truly magical: teeming with glimpses of God and untamed beauty... an urban oasis and a haven, not just for butterflies and glow worms, but for anyone who craves a touch of nature's magic in the midst of their everyday life...


  1. I used to walk here Silvana! I love it. Do come and see us soon, only a bus ride away these days! xx


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