Book Review – “The Little Hedgewitch” by Jules Cooper

Book Review – “The Little Hedgewitch” by Jules Cooper

Priestess Gail reviews this beautiful story designed for children but which carries a vital message for all of us about the need to take care of our natural resources and environment.

“The Little Hedgewitch” by Jules Cooper, illustrated by Femke van Gent

Jules Cooper runs an organically managed, seven acre smallholding on Ynys Môn (the Isle of Anglesey), in Wales.  She offers foraging walks, wildcrafting workshops and wild cookery talks and demonstrations, sharing her knowledge and love of the natural larder all around her.  Jules says, “Nourishment and healing from wild plants is our biological birthright; it is in our bones to harvest the gifts of the earth”.

Cerridwen would certainly recognise a kindred spirit, someone who walks the land, hand-woven basket in the crook of her arm, learning about the properties of plants, trees, herbs, roots, seeds, fruit, bark and leaves.  Jules teaches others to harvest the gifts offered by the trees and hedges, for food and to make medicines.  However, she also teaches the skills needed to tend and care for them, to sustain the natural bounty for future generations of humans, birds and all creatures.

Ynys Môn is blessed in many ways, one of these is the miles of ancient hedgerows still in existence all over the island.  Hedgerows form a vital part of our landscape, a biodiverse, rich resource, beneficial as corridors for wildlife and useful as shelter.  Humans have traditionally used hedgerows as a source of food, fuel and medicines.  Sadly, many hedgerows are no longer valued and are increasingly at risk from neglect, damage and removal.  

Jules has ancient hedgerows that grow all around her land. She says “they have been assessed as being around four hundred years old and are full of life, magic and mystery”.  Jules has developed a relationship with these hedgerows and in 2014 she says “they were whispering their magic again and took me on a journey to writing a children’s book”.  This book was “The Little Hedgewitch”, an eco-storybook for children. 

The Little Hedgewitch

The little Hedgewitch lives happily, co-existing harmoniously on the land with the plants, animals and birds.  However, one day, a cunning, glimmering dragonfly lures her away from the safety and connection of her island home and her hedgerow friends.  She is transported to another realm called Darcland, a barren land devoid of biodiversity.  The hedges in her homeland watch, horrified but unable to help.  The Elder, Mother of the Woods, promises them she will look after the little Hedgewitch as she experiences the lessons which await.  

The hedgerows in Darcland are sick and struggling.  The little Hedgewitch feels her own spirit being affected and starts to despair.  A starling from her own land flies to her and helps her to regain hope, to recover her own inner strength.  The little Hedgewitch speaks with the suffering hedgerows and coaxes them to try again, singing spellsongs to encourage them to renew themselves and rediscover their innate magic.  As well as educating readers about the worth of thriving hedgerows, the message is a call to action – very much aligned to our service to Cerridwen – we too can find our inner courage and play our part to protect nature.    

The book is bilingual, if you read it from one side it is written in the Welsh language and if you turn it over and start from the other side the story is written in the English language.  The illustrations by Femke van Gent are vibrant and colourful. The Little Hedgewitch walks barefoot on the earth and is drawn with such character.  The pictures and story are sure to appeal to young children as well as older generations.

At the centre of the book is a hidden treat!  Jules, a wild chef, has chosen three tasty recipes to share: Blackberry Smoothie, Nourishing Nettle Soup and Cheesy Hazelnut Dip. 

To purchase a copy of “The Little Hedgewitch” for £9.99 plus postage and packing, please visit Jules Cooper’s website: Spirit of the Hedgerider

If you would like to learn more about hedges, follow this link to the website for Y Goedwig Hir/the Long Forest project, run by Keep Wales Tidy in partnership with Coed Cymru/the Woodland Trust: The Long Forest Although the project has now concluded, there are lots of useful leaflets available covering aspects such as hedgerow trees, hedgerow planting, cutting and management.  To engage children, there is a family activity guide: What’s in Your Hedge?


Hot off the Press! Seasonal Wild Plant recipe book

Jules Cooper’s new Seasonal Wild Plant recipe book was launched at the @draigbeatsfestival  on Saturday 10th June 2023.

Jules Cooper

Image from Jules Cooper’s Facebook page: Spirit of the Hedgerider Facebook page

The book is beautifully illustrated by her son Troy. Jules says “this little book has been a long time in coming simply due to time and energy. Troy showed the most incredible patience and perseverance, which I’m incredibly grateful for!”.

Recipes featured in the book are some of the favourites used in Jules’s foraging workshops since 2010. Jules says these include “tasty Pakoras, wild and raw pate, energy balls and a very popular wild ‘n’ raw chutney to name a few”.  Proceeds of the book sales will be going to the Sophie Williams charity.


Gail Spiritstar Roberts, Priestess of Cerridwen

Gwynedd, Wales

Gail Spiritstar Roberts - Priestess of Cerridwen

Gail Spiritstar is a Priestess of Cerridwen and an Awenydd of the Anglesey Druid Order. Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, Gail has always known in her bones the essential, deep connection with nature and a love of wild places. She has been consciously following a path of nature-based spirituality for 35 years. Gail moved to Wales in 1995 to train with the Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff. She is an experienced actor, singer and storyteller. Gail now lives in Southern Snowdonia, not far from Llyn Tegid, Bala. As a Priestess she enjoys serving by co-creating ceremonies, building community and…anything else Cerridwen may require!

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