There are some great old oak trees at Hollow Pond. Here’s one with a cave in its roots, just fit to crawl into. In my dreams. It was the last day of July and we were on a walk down memory lane. In the early 1980s Sue had an Acme house (Acme Housing Association helped artists find short-life living and studio space in what were essentially licensed squats) on Fillebrook Road in Leytonstone, now under the M11 link road. Continue reading “A Summer Walk In Epping Forest (3)”
It was a Monday morning in June and we were at Butler’s Retreat for a spicy shakshuka breakfast. It’s my favourite and always a great way to set you up for a good walk. But sadly it was off the menu so we settled for the much more prosaic scrambled eggs on toast. Rambled legs on toes. Continue reading “A Summer Walk In Epping Forest (2)”
I think I first knew of the Panshanger Oak after we’d walked a circuit from Tewin, Sunday 16th February 2019 BC (Before Covid). A No Entry sign on a path that had previously been open had sparked my curiosity. I later found references to an ancient oak tree, a hugely significant specimen, the oldest, widest, tallest oak in the land. The website for The Chilterns AONB declares it to be “the largest maiden, or clear-stemmed oak, in the country and is believed to have been planted by Queen Elizabeth I” but access is by appointment only. I called the recommended phone number repeatedly but got no reply. I also looked on the Ancient Tree Inventory website but they say it is Private – not visible from public access. Continue reading “The Panshanger Oak”
We were in West Dorset at last and I was elated. I’d long wanted to drive these roads. We were in a maze of high banks and hedgerows, hidden from the wind, burrowing back down to earth, gone to ground. Continue reading “Deep Lanes & Holloways”
I’ve been suffering woods withdrawal, I’m yearning for a dose of the green stuff. It seems like such a long time since we ventured more than a few miles from home to go for a walk in the woods. So I’ve been scouring the archives for unposted photos, stashed away overlooked down the back of the sofa or hidden in the depths of a forgotten rucksack. Epping Forest has been out of bounds because of COVID-19 restrictions, but I managed to find a few photos we took earlier, before lockdown. Continue reading “Walking In The Woods (1)”
Another Covid walk, this time back in early September last year. We’d been wondering about returning to Hatfield Forest for months, but each time we checked the National Trust website we were discouraged from visiting. The car park had to be booked in advance, and whenever we tried it appeared to be full. You will be turned away if you arrive without booking. So, in the end, we decided to drive to the nearby village of Hatfield Broad Oak and walk to the forest from there. Continue reading “Hatfield Forest”
Sitting here on lockdown, having earlier walked our prescribed exercise route, carefully plotted through burgeoning local parks and side roads, the trees and hedges heavy with blossom and alive with birdsong, more so it seems than ever this year. Strange contrast with the quiet tragedy unfolding around us, the closed doors and closed curtains and the quiet ambulances in the streets. I’m itchy to be away from here but there’s nowhere to go. So I’m looking back through old photos and I find myself in Sicily, two years ago when we were free to go wherever we pleased. We were staying in Syracuse, on the island of Ortigia, and each day we went off in a different direction. On this day we headed inland, due west to the ancient prehistoric site of Pantalica. Continue reading “Pantalica”
We’d picked up a little brochure of local walks from Tourist Information in St-Florent, and this one was just up the road from the spectacular black and white church of San Michele de Murato. It was listed as Balade dans le Nebbiu (stroll in the fog). The Nebbio is the region of Corsica inland from St-Florent, a hinterland enclosed by an amphitheatre of hills, that takes its name from the heavy mists that descend in winter. Today was not sunny, but thankfully we were not enveloped in clouds. Continue reading “A Walk In The Nebbio”
Three walks in Epping Forest, all within the past few weeks. This time of year I can’t get enough of its green light to escape the city. I never lived in a forest but this place always feels like home. Maybe I did in a previous life, maybe we all did, maybe this is the nearest thing to a prelapsarian London. Continue reading “Epping Forest x 3”
This little painting hung on the wall of our house in Calvi. It looked like the campanile of one of the churches we visited yesterday, perhaps in Calenzana or maybe Montemaggiore.
The Genoese… besides tending their gardens, they built churches, so many over the centuries… that the region was called ‘holy Balagne’; today their bell towers charmingly punctuate the landscape like a series of mild exclamation marks.
Corsica: Dana Facaros & Michael Pauls
But when I took it down I found Église d’Avapessa handwritten on the back. Continue reading “Le Chêne Vert”