As the shadows get longer and the light fades earlier, it feels like summer never fully arrived in the UK this year. It’s been a fairly cloudy and damp summer season for us, but after the scorching summer of 2022, it’s been a bit of a relief!

Whilst out in the fields this week I couldn’t help but notice that the hawthorn hedge is laden heavy with red berries this year, more so than I have seen in a long time. Many will say it’s a sign of a cold winter to come…we’ll have to wait and see.

Autumn hails the arrival of a new book! The Brambly Hedge Jigsaw Book has just published this October and is currently available from bookshops in the UK and USA. This new interactive jigsaw book features six 12-piece puzzles accompanied by stories from the hedgerow through the changing seasons. We’ve never had a book of this type available, it’s a great way of immersing yourself in Jill’s illustrations whilst getting kids involved in bringing all the puzzle pieces together. The selection of six illustrated puzzles include the cross-section of Crabapple Cottage, Primrose having tea with Harvest mice, and the Midwinter celebrations from The Secret Staircase.

Speaking of the Secret Staircase, we will be celebrating the 40th anniversary this year! More on this to come in the winter blog.

We have new translated editions of the Brambly Hedge books publishing this autumn. A hardback edition of Autumn Story will publish in German. We have new Spanish and Catalan editions of The High Hills and The Secret Staircase, and The Complete Brambly Hedge will be published in Czech. Links to our translated editions can be found on our website.

As the leaves turn and the fruit drops to the ground, plans for next year spring to mind. Last year we launched our first Brambly Hedge Calendar…it sold out by the end of October! So, if you are interested in having Brambly Hedge illustrations on your wall through the seasons in 2024, make sure you get in there early!

We also have a new 2024 Year Planner available for those who prefer to plan with a pen. The pocket-sized month-to-view planner has a wrap-around cover featuring Mr Apple and Wilfred inside the Store Stump.

Our new Cobble Hill puzzle range has proved very popular indeed, we have already sold out of the Autumn Story puzzle, hopefully we will have more stock arriving soon. We currently still have plenty of Winter Story puzzles available, and just a couple of the suitably seasonal Kitchen At Crabapple Cottage 1000 piece puzzle…ready for those cold, dark evenings ahead.

Our Christmas cards are back in stock, and we have a new box set available for the 2023 season. The Cosy Christmas set includes 16 cards and envelopes with 4 different designs, featuring illustrations from Winter Story and The Secret Staircase. Head over to our shop for more information on these.

Back in the spring the Guardian ran a story about the rediscovery of the Jill’s lost Brambly Hedge Hornbeam Tree in Epping Forest. This tree features in many illustrations and paragraphs within the Brambly hedge books, but is best known as the cross-section of the Toadflax family home that features in Winter Story. To celebrate the lost and found tree, we have now added the cross-section illustration of the Hornbeam Tree to our giclee print collection.

Conversely, the sad loss of the Sycamore Gap tree in Northumberland this September really brings to light the importance of our trees and what they mean to us all. They are that rarest of things…a living link to centuries past.

Have a peaceful autumn, all.

Pete Barklem

Mid-October 2023

England

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