What draws the crowds to the Lake District? If you’ve ever been there you’ll know. But leave the car and the tourists and start climbing into the fells. You’ll soon find yourself alone walking where Wordsworth walked and sharing his thoughts so beautifully expressed in his poetry.
We remind ourselves that Britain is still a maritime nation, a favoured land, ‘This sceptred isle….This precious stone set in the silver sea’.
Like Alice’s Wonderland bottle labelled ‘Drink me’, this inviting style seems to say ‘Step over me and explore’. Beyond, off the beaten track, adventure beckons.
Graceful ancient trees like these are part of our nation and culture. They’re a reminder of that ‘tree-delighted Eden’ (C.S.Lewis’s phrase) that lies in the back of our collective memories. They’re living histories, with a story to tell written into their annual growth rings. Continue reading “Treasure our Trees”
‘And that will be England gone, the shadows, the meadows, the lanes….. all that remains for us will be concrete and tyres’
On holiday recently, passing mile upon mile of road-side verges sprayed with weedkiller, I couldn’t help thinking of these ringing words from Philip Larkin’s disturbing poem ’Going,Going’. Even back in 1972 he was warning of the way we are trashing our environment. Those sprayed verges are understandable as part of essential high-way maintenance yet, in a way, deeply disturbing. With the road-sides looking like a ‘scorched earth’ policy it raises the question ‘Where have all the wild flowers gone?‘
The Ford at Eynsford in Kent
When we lived in Kent, a favourite short day trip was to the nearby village of Eynsford in the Darent Valley. The valley carves out its graceful course through the hills of the North Downs. This was hop growing country and some is still grown here. It was here that I last heard a cuckoo.
‘This other Eden, demi-paradise,…This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England’
The South Downs
This time I’ve not travelled far– just a few miles down the road. Welcome to my own ‘patch’. Join me as we sit looking out over the beautiful Arun valley – a favourite local view. Our eyes look over the part- natural, yet heavily manicured, countryside of farm fields, the river and up into downs beyond. As we sit and take in the scene, we begin looking at the details, seeing things we had not noticed before. We become aware of a living landscape.