Monday, 22 August 2011

Enid Blyton’s Magic Faraway tree found!

We recently visited an antique fair held in the grounds of the Larmer Tree, situated near Tollard Royal in Wiltshire the garden takes its name from a tree, possibly a Wych-elm that stood on the site as early as the 10th century. King John was reputed to have hunted in the area and tradition states he met with his huntsmen under the branches of the Larmer Tree. The original tree was still living in 1894, but was eventually replaced with an oak. The gardens were created by General Pitt Rivers as pleasure grounds for ‘public enlightenment and entertainment', but were closed following the General’s death in 1900. In 1991 Michael Pitt Rivers, the General’s grandson set about restoring the gardens and they were reopened to the public in 1995.

After a walk around the fair and a cream tea at the Lodge tearooms we decided to explore the grounds. We were anticipating manicured lawns and beautiful flower gardens but were a little disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a beautiful place for a picnic and a stroll but lots of work is still needed to bring it back to its former glory.

At this point you are probably wondering what Enid Blyton has to do with any of this, but don’t worry, all is about to be revealed…

As you may know my husband is a keen photographer and never leaves home without a camera. I’ve also got into the habit of taking a camera everywhere and spend a lot of time trying to find something different to photograph. Terry always notices things before me, so I tend to look for ‘hidden gems’ and that was how I happened to notice a tiny little door set into the trunk of a tree!

Yes, Honestly!!


To say I could not believe my eyes would be an understatement! Had we wandered across Enid Blyton’s Enchanted Wood where the trees, “a darker green than usual”, whisper their secrets? Was this the Magic Faraway tree inhabited by fairy-folk and laden with fruit of all kinds from acorns to lemons? Would Moon-Face, Silky and old deaf Saucepan Man suddenly appear?  As Jo would say… "What will Dick think when we tell him about the Enchanted Wood and the Faraway tree?”


What we didn't know until later is that not one but ten of these little doors exist. Created by local artist Simon Sinkinson in remembrance of ten people who left their mark on the gardens, or the music festivals now held in the grounds. These Luminaries include King John, Thomas Hardy, Michael Pitt-Rivers, Dick Heckstall-Smith, Martyn Bennett, Dave Newman and Andy Banwell.



We are planning another trip to the Larmer tree in the hope of finding the rest of the miniature doors, a tiny key and a bottle labelled “drink me” – OK I know that’s from Alice in Wonderland but sometimes truth really is stranger than fiction.

The magic faraway tree book featured in this post is now sold, thank you for your interest.


Have you read The magic faraway Tree?

12 comments:

  1. what an experience! you must have been so overwhelmed Barbara! thank you for sharing that enchanting photo of the little door! c",)

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  2. barbaraannefisher22 August 2011 at 11:07

    It was so unexpected – it took me a while to register what I was looking at! I’m really glad I didn't have advance knowledge because it would have spoilt the surprise and utter delight.

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  3. Hi, just found your blog and followed. I must say I was completely obsessed with The Faraway Tree stories when I was a kid so this post was a great find :)

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  4. barbaraannefisher22 August 2011 at 14:20

    I loved the faraway tree too (still do!)
    Thanks for following.
    Barbara

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  5. How fun! What a great idea the artist had. Sounds like a lovely day.

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  6. barbaraannefisher22 August 2011 at 15:12

    Hi Donna,
    It was a really lovely day. I was a little disappointed at not finding any books at the antiques fair but the 'little door' made up for it!

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  7. Have I ever! My sisters and cousins used to pretend we were climbing the Faraway Tree or sitting on the Wishing Chair and spotting one strange injustice after another (we also loved playing heroines and detectives). Memories flooded back as I read this post. Old Saucepan Man is my favourite! I can still recall the first time the gang climbed up to his land. He couldn't hear anything much! I would have given everything back then to be one of the kids living near the Enchanted Woods.

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  8. barbaraannefisher23 August 2011 at 09:53

    Hello Claudine
    Thanks so much for sharing your memories. I loved the faraway tree but haven’t read the wishing chair. Your comment about Old Saucepan Man made me smile –I can just imagine the noise as he climbed! Your comment has inspired me to look for a really nice copy of the Wishing Chair so that I can first read it and then add it to my collection.
    Barbara

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  9. I have never read The Magic Faraway Tree- but I just put it on my to read list! Sounds fantastic and right up my alley. :)

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  10. barbaraannefisher23 August 2011 at 19:08

    It's a lovely story and I'm sure you will enjoy it.
    Barbara

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  11. I havent read that book but it sounds perfect for my little cousins birthday. She is all about little hidden doors and secret adventures.
    Does the little door in your photo open? Or is it more just for decoration?

    - kris
    My blog: abookfromsnowyriver.blogspot.com

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  12. barbaraannefisher24 August 2011 at 19:32

    I’m pretty sure it doesn’t open but I will give it a go next time I visit the gardens!

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I really appreciate your comment. Thank you!
Barbara xx

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