“Brambly Hedge is on the other side of the stream, across the field. If you can find it, and if you look very hard amongst the tangled roots and stems, you may even see a wisp of smoke from a small chimney, or through an open door, a steep flight of stairs deep within the trunk of a tree. For this is the home of the mice of Brambly Hedge.”
In 1980, four picture books, Spring Story, Summer Story, Autumn Story and Winter Story were published. All books were the creation of author and illustrator Jill Barklem. The books illustrated in detail the lives and adventures of a community of mice who live in Brambly Hedge. Brambly Hedge is an idyllic spot where old values flourish and seasonal self-sufficiency is the order of the day.
Jill Barklem was born in Essex and as a child loved nature. Due to a medical condition which affected her as a child, she was could no longer take part in sports in school but instead spent her time in the library or the art room.
The London underground was the inspiration for Brambly Hedge. As she traveled home each day she would submerse herself into a hedge bank of mice. The bustle of the other commuters eventually came to be the hustle and bustle of the mice of Brambly Hedge going about their daily business.
The success of the first four books was followed by The Secret Staircase in 1983, The High Hills in 1986, Sea Story in 1990 and Poppy’s Babies in 1994. An extensive range of merchandise followed the success of the books. Royal Doulton figurines and tableware quickly became collectors’ items and are still sought after to this day. There have been painting books, stationary, cards, audio books and many more items to accompany the Brambly Hedge book series. 1996 saw Brambly Hedge move from the page to the screen.
Since the first publication, the ethos of Brambly Hedge remains unchanged. It is still a favorite among young and old alike.