“Moss Witches prefer oak woods and particularly those where over 20,000 years ago the great grinding glaciers pushed large chunks of rock into apparently casual heaps and small bright streams leap through the trees.”
Sara Maitland describes the Moss Witch’s abode as if it were ‘my glade’ on Arran’s NTS Estate. Moss Witch And Other Stories is another superb book by Sara: packed with both information and imagination; each story beautifully written (of course) but it is her nature writing – and thus the Moss Witch story – that captures my heart.
Moss in ‘my’ glade grows abundantly along the raised root ridges of the mature oaks and beeches delineating the root’s pattern of spread. I have envisaged removing leaf-litter where it abuts the bright moss to accentuate the colours and reveal the dark earth beneath.
“Moss witches, like mosses, do not compete; they retreat”, would intervening afford more space for mosses to grow, or will clearing leaf mulch facilitate their drying out? For those who know the story, meddling with the moss could be a dangerous – nay life-threatening – venture: “if you go into ancient woodland and it glows jewel-green with moss and is damp and quiet and lovely, then be very careful.”