When I came to the UK at age 20, much of the landscape was alien.
But thanks to Coleridge and Wordsworth, the lovely greenness wasn’t a complete surprise. The natural world was everything to Wordsworth, and there was something universal in this very British poetry’s celebration of nature. I heard it at a time when my adolescent mind was reaching out for meaning. Wordsworth’s Tintern Abbey, with its “… sylvan Wye! Thou wanderer thro’ the woods…” couldn’t have felt further from what I knew in Africa, and yet it caught my imagination.
My former husband Trevor Nunn and I found our little five-acre wood in his native Suffolk.
With its seemingly forgotten old cottage, it brought back all those poetry-inspired childhood sensations. That was 30 years ago now, but I still own it. Unlike the landscapes of my childhood, this wood would once have been a natural factory, carefully managed, supplying wood for everything from chair backs to cartwheels. These days it is full of wonderful flowers in spring, including oxlips and orchids. Of course, the whole of East Anglia was once wooded, and this is a remnant of that and so very precious. I’ve decided I would like to pass it on to the Woodland Trust to care for, when I’m gone.