Fiona and I visited Bekonscot last year, to see the scale model village and especially the scale model of Blyton’s house. It was an enchanting little place, except I wasn’t quite as excited by it all as Fiona was! On this visit, we picked up this little book, The Enchanted Village that Blyton wrote during the time she was living in Beaconsfield (from 1938 until her death in 1968.) According to the little note from Gillian Baverstock (Blyton’s elder daughter) in the front cover of the book, Blyton was friendly with Roland Callingham who founded Bekonscot and so she wrote The Enchanted Village.
The Enchanted Village starts with Blyton asking the reader if they would like to accompany her around a village that will make you feel like a giant. Blyton compares it a fairyland, which is quite appropriate, because it feels like that when you step through gateway. Its quite magical seeing all the little buildings, and fascinating at the amount of detail that went in the little shops is astonishing, there is even a little Marks and Spencers and a cinema showing ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’.
Anyway, back to Blyton’s story. She uses the names John and Mary as the children to guide us around Bekonscot with her. They go for a wander through the houses, planted with flowers around the path, exclaiming at the detail, I’ve already described, and how the buildings only come up to their waists. Blyton remarks on the detail in the church and airport and miniature railway, which will be exciting for those interested in model trains. Blyton makes the world of Bekonscot come alive as she works her magic, making Bekonscot seem like a beautiful bustling little town. She says things like How are the tiny folk of Bekonscot to get about if they have no railway? which in a way makes your imagine the tiny people rushing around when you’re not looking.
The other things that are noted in the book are the manor house, the zoo, the farm, and the seaside village, Little Splashing. These places add to the charm of the village. There’s not much of a story to go with the description, just the use of the children to carry the readers through the walk. Blyton talks about coming back to Bekonscot at a later date, and how wonderful it is for it to have been created. There is one little extra in the book that is a nice addition, and its on the back back, mentioning the visits by the members of the Royal family to Bekonscot. Royal visits include HRH Queen Elizabeth II, her father King George VI, the Queen Mother, Queen Mary and Princess Margaret. So I think we can safely say that Bekonscot has the royal seal of approval.
On the back page of the little book is a darling picture of Blyton’s house Green Hedges which was torn down after her death. Incidentally behind Bekonscot is Blyton Close, where Green Hedges used to stand.
So, I hope you’ve enjoyed my look at The Enchanted Village. If you get a chance to visit Bekonscot, I suggest you do, it’s better if you have children with you, in my humble opinion, though I know Fiona believes otherwise!