'The past is never dead...'
Given the inspiration for the book there was never any doubt that it had to be set in
Hampshire. It is a part of the world I know very well, having lived on the county’s
border with Sussex for twenty years.
The proximity – and the fact I spend much of my working life around Southampton’s
north-eastern fringes – has made the locations easy to research. I have visited the
woods at Curbridge at all times of the year and have watched the tree itself grow and
change over the years it has taken me to complete the book. It is a place everyone can
visit; park next to the Horse & Jockey pub in Curbridge and take the path into the
National Trust wood. Follow the left fork, higher up the bank than the river, and you
can’t miss the tree.
This youtube video takes you on a virtual walk in the faerie tree woods (used by kind
permission of Duncan Toms)
I needed to give Izzie a home that was handy for Winchester but not actually in it. In
the end I chose the small town of Bishop’s Waltham, although I have to admit I made
up the road where she lives. Readers will recognise other local landmarks though and
I can thoroughly recommend Josie’s in the High Street for coffee and amazing cakes
Part of the story takes place in Cornwall, on the north coast around Newquay. It is an area of the country I am coming to know better and better as we are lucky enough to have a holiday home in Porthtowan, just a little further west. It was stretching my own memory to revisit Newquay in the 1980s (I’d only been there once in 1982) but that’s where the internet is invaluable and old pictures help.
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