There you are walking down a quiet country lane when you catch sight of that tiny opening in a hedge. It might be nothing more than a rickety post and a foot-worn lump of stone surrounded by thick overgrown hazel and blackthorn. But you just know what it is. What you don't know yet however, is what lies ahead.

That hidden door in the back of the wardrobe springs to mind. You know, the one where you push the coats aside, arms outstretched in front of you and, well, you just keep going. Don't tell me you never tried that after reading the book. And it might not be snowing the other side and there might not be a lamp post, and you might have a few scratches if you've found a real disused gem but.. you know it will be worth it. 

And then you might be stuck, because if it really is a hidden gem and you have no map, you've no idea which direction you could legitimately walk without incurring the wrath of a passing farmer. But...maybe the view the other side is enough for now, until you can come back for a proper inspection. A little window on a hidden world you had no idea was there, just waiting to be explored.. and again, I go back to the famous wardrobe incident... 

In ancient lanes worn down by a hundred years and more of cart wheels and trudging footsteps, the sun can barely penetrate; banks so steep and stiles just visible up the slippery badger run precipice, with sun streaming through like a cinema screen when the film is about to commence. And it is, a whole adventure, if you can just make it up that muddy bank.

And, on the whole, I think this is where we win in winter. There are no leaves. Hidden gateways are easier to spot. We could go a whole summer and not know they were there, and then, bingo, you put on your winter coat, stick your hands down in your pockets in frozen despair, peep out from under your best woolly hat and stumble upon something one might find in the back of the wardrobe. There might not be snow but then my name isn't Lucy.

Nina Parker