A few years ago, after a fruitless tramp through a woodland looking for wildlife I sat down on a tree stump in disgust and discovered something unexpected. I can do magic.

As I sat quietly a flicker of movement from the corner of my eye revealed a bumblebee emerging from a hole in the ground. Soon I could see a stream of them, coming and going from their nest. A few moments later, a faint whirr made me turn in time to see a huge dragonfly flash across a clearing.

By sitting in silence I realised I was becoming invisible, creatures that normally hide from a huge, noisy, human began to reveal themselves. A rustle of leaves was a blackbird searching for invertebrates, a flurry of high, tweeting chirps marked a goldcrest flitting through the treetops. I held my breath as a moving shadow resolved into a pair of roe deer, picking their way along, coming ever closer. When they were so close I felt I could almost touch them a sudden cry from a jay made them raise their heads and they looked at me in confusion for a few moments before they bounded away.

The spell was broken, but for just a few minutes I had felt truly part of the woods. I had learned to do magic – and so can you! Go for a walk in one of Cumbernauld’s green spaces and try my spell. Stand quietly, let the wildlife adjust to your presence and fade into the background, you never know what might be revealed.

If you’d like some inspiration why not take a look at our first Stay Home Stay Wild Activity Pack, for St Maurice’s Pond. You can find it here. It includes a self-guided walk written by Paul Barclay, lots of wildlife information about the site, games and activities for all the family, and ‘Find a special spot’ – guiding you through the ‘spell’ Paul has described here.

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Paul Barclay