A blizzard of blossom is flying at high speed past my window, it seems the barrage of bad weather that started back in December has no intention of abating! We have had an incredibly wet and windy winter here, with very few frosts, and not a single flake of snow. Whilst the wind is doing its best to blow this year’s blossom season into last week, the odd moments calm spring sunshine seem all the more sweet.

However, high tides and damaging winds have not stopped the team at Abbotsbury Swannery from launching the new 2024 Brambly Hedge Trail on time though… on the 16th March the doors opened to the public. We visited the proposed location for the Trail on the Dorset coast last year and it was immediately clear that the site was perfect for bringing Sea Story to life. The stream running down off the Dorset hills, through the fields and along the hedgerows, past the reed beds, and out into the blue sea beyond the Fleet, absolutely ideal for a mouse adventure!

The Sea Story Trail follows the Brambly Hedge mice on their journey aboard the Periwinkle down the stream to collect salt supplies from the Sea Mice. The Trail is perfect for families and includes a little Brambly Hedge booklet that is filled with illustrations, questions to answer, and stamps to collect around the Swannery site. Explore the site looking for the Brambly Hedge characters, see if you can see the find the Periwinkle sailing down the stream, and if you collect all the stamps in your booklet, you get a Brambly Hedge sticker!

Make sure you catch the swans being fed, and get there in time to see the cygnets, usually May is the best month for this. The Trail is included in the standard ticket price and will be open right through until early November. Many of our new Brambly Hedge products can be found at the shop on site too. For more details head over to the Trail page.

Hopping across the channel from the Dorset coast, after an absence of twenty years, the Brambly Hedge books are now published in French! After many, many requests on social media from you all for these translations to be produced… Spring Story has just been launched with our new publishers, Qilinn, under the Les souris du Buisson-aux-mûres name.  Summer Story will follow in May, then Autumn and Winter later this year as the seasons unfurl.

In addition to the new French editions, in 2024 we have further translations publishing in Chinese, Romanian, Ukrainian, Czech, Bulgarian, with more languages arriving later in the year.

We are getting very excited about the publication of one book in particular this year, The Brambly Hedge Colouring Book! The new Colouring Book will arrive in the UK in September 2024 and will be themed around the Autumn and Winter festivities. The forty-eight-page book will be filled with quotations, detailed vignettes, full page illustrations and stunning double page spreads, all waiting for your creative sparkle! More details will follow in the Summer, pre-orders for the UK are now open.

The Brambly Hedge Jigsaw Book published in the UK in autumn last year alongside a wave of jigsaw related items. Many of our seasonal collage puzzles from Cobble Hill completely sold out of over the winter season, many of you have been getting in contact requesting the Winter Story puzzle to complete the set, we’re pleased to announce that more stock has arrived this week! Head over to our shop now if you are still waiting to add the Winter Story jigsaw to your collection.

We have just launched a new ‘Harvest’ jigsaw puzzle featuring a scene of the mice busying away collecting fruits and berries. The eagle eyed among you will notice that this illustration was never actually published in the original eight Brambly Hedge books. However, it was used in The Visit to Brambly Hedge book, published back in the year 2000, but not currently in print.

It’s been a very long time since we have had a Brambly Hedge pencil case available, but the wait is over! We have just launched a new organic cotton pencil case featuring the ‘Sunset in the Meadow’ illustration from Summer Story.

With all those pens and pencils you will need something to write on… well, we have you covered there too. New to the shop we have our ‘Blackberry Picking’ Lined journal with 200 pages to write down all those wonderful ideas floating round in your head.

We also have a new Mini Notecard Cube, featuring 20 little notecards and envelopes featuring four seasonal Brambly Hedge Illustrations. For Spring we have new ‘Snoozing Under the Bluebells’ notecard pack as well as a new bookmark featuring the same illustration.

As you can see, there is quite a lot going on at the moment! Which brings me to a new service we offering… we can now gift wrap your orders! Our lovely new Brambly Hedge wrapping paper will be used to wrap your gift, we will then add a message of your choice to a mini Brambly Hedge notecard and send the wrapped gift and notecard to the address you have provided. Hopefully saving you a bit time when sending your Brambly hedge gifts!

That pretty much wraps things up for Spring. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the publication of Poppy’s Babies, so watch out for further updates in May, when hopefully the rain and wind will have eased!

Have a wonderful spring!

Pete Barklem

Early April 2024