Become a woodland wizard, with Xar and Wish!

Xar and Wish riding a snowcat
Have an extraordinary woodland adventure, inspired by Xar and Wish! (Illustration: Cressida Cowell/Hachette UK)

We’ve teamed up with author and tree lover Cressida Cowell to celebrate the release of her new book Wizards of Once: Twice Magic, with ideas for magical woodland adventures.

Wizards of Once: Twice Magic book jacket

A new book to leaf through

Following hot on the heels of Wizards of Once, Twice Magic continues the story of Xar – a wizard with no power – and a warrior girl called Wish. The books take place in the depths of dark forests, where magic reigns, but danger lurks behind every tree.

The woods that Cressida explored when she was younger were a huge inspiration for the book, and we want everyone to experience first-hand how mystical and exciting forests can be.

Wondrous woods to wander in…

Fingle Woods in autumn
Experience the magic of Fingle Woods in Devon. (Photo: Adam Burton)

We own hundreds of woods across the UK, but here are a few we think will transport young wizards and warriors back in time…

1. Fingle Woods in Devon still holds the remains of two Iron Age forts – very similar to the once in Twice Magic.

2. Carnmoney Hill in County Antrim is the perfect place for make believe – under the hill are secret stone tunnels that were used to escape from the Vikings.

3. Hainault Forest in Essex was once a royal hunting ground that provided deer for the kings table.

4. Cwm George, in the Vale of Glamorgan is home to one of the best remaining hillforts in Europe – harking all the way back to the dark ages.

5. Skipton Castle Woods in North Yorkshire is a great spot where you can run past castle battlements, and into lush woodland.

6. Bellsquarry Wood in West Lothian has a special trail which features the homes of special magical creatures called Tootflits and Glingbobs.

7. Pipe Hall Farm in Staffordshire is an ancient woodland, that is home to a medieval conduit, which gave spring water to people lived nearby hundreds of years ago.

If none of the places are quite close enough – have no fear! Use the Trust’s wood search to find your own space for adventure; magic can be found everywhere if you look hard enough.

Wizard activities to try your hand at

Magic woodland potion
Make a magic potion using leaves and seeds! (Photo: Danielle Wesley/WTML)

1. Woodland potions

Collect special ingredients from the forest floor – what magic will feathers, nuts and leaves give your potion?

2. Elf houses

Who knows what magic creatures call the woods their home; make them a cosy little cottage to live in – don’t forget mini furniture and a door!

3. Whittle a wizard staff

Whittling is a special skill, but if you master it you’ll have your very own wizard staff! What will yours be made of?

4. Create mud creatures

Give squelchy, sticky mud a life of its own by creating a face with leaves and twigs… does it smile to welcome friends, or scowl to scare away foes?

Grown-ups: win your wizards a wonderful prize!

Keep an eye on our Instagram and Facebook from 19 to 28 October for our very special giveaway. Share pictures of your family’s woodland fun and comment on our posts, and you could win signed copies of all of Cressida Cowell’s books!

Tell us about your magical adventures!

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