A Walk From Hawkley

These ancient yew trees are in the churchyard at Hawkley in Hampshire. I’d discovered them via the Ancient Tree Inventory. We’d come down from London to meet Howard Phipps who was coming up from Salisbury with a windowful of wood engravings in the back of his car. And surprisingly we got there first, so I went looking for trees. Continue reading “A Walk From Hawkley”

Frames of reference

St Paul’s Walden & Around

Another Sunday church, another country walk. This was June last year, and another from the Hertfordshire Walks website. We started out at the church in St Paul’s Walden. I guessed it must be called St Paul’s, but when I searched online just now I found All Saints Church. And I also found its vicar is Canon Stephen Fielding, who we knew from St Mary Abbots in Kensington. What a small world! I wish now that we’d stopped to say hello. He had introduced a Living Advent Calendar to Kensington, so that the windows of local businesses became part of a borough-wide Christmas countdown. We had twice taken part at the Rowley Gallery with special window displays by Joseph Silcott in 2016 and Susie Freeman in 2017. Continue reading “St Paul’s Walden & Around”

Frames of reference

Little Berkhamsted & Essendon

St Andrew’s Church at Little Berkhamsted is, like so many village churches, a place of worship surrounded by trees. Ancient trees are often found in churchyards. I imagine they’re vestigial survivors of the original forest, before it was cleared for farming and agriculture. Or planted as replicas of the Garden of Eden. A woodland glade is a naturally consecrated place. Continue reading “Little Berkhamsted & Essendon”

Frames of reference

Walking In The Woods (3)

This green cathedral is at Jacks Hill, Epping Forest. It was October 2020, the last time it was safe to go walking in the woods. The Covid beast has been at large and we’ve all been advised to stay at home. But deep in the forest, away from the crowds, is perhaps the safest place to be. I’m writing this in late March, the sun is shining outside and I am missing the trees. Continue reading “Walking In The Woods (3)”

Frames of reference

Walking In The Woods (2)

I’ve been coming to Epping Forest for over 40 years, but I never saw this magnificent oak pollard at Rushey Plain pond before today. Complete with wasps nest. There’s always something new to discover here, and it all looks different every time. Continue reading “Walking In The Woods (2)”

Frames of reference

Walking In The Woods (1)

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)”

Frames of reference

Ayot & Ayot Again

Three weeks later and we were back again, to begin again, this time from Ayot St Lawrence instead of Wheathampstead. It was early October and the wasps were still browsing drowsy on the ivy. Continue reading “Ayot & Ayot Again”

Frames of reference

Newport, Widdington & Debden

We crossed the footbridge at Newport railway station, over the West Anglia Main Line between Elsenham and Audley End, forty miles north along the route from London Liverpool Street to Cambridge. The track was quiet, the train had just disappeared and taken all the noise and commotion with it. We were left with a few bubbles of birdsong in its wake. Continue reading “Newport, Widdington & Debden”

Frames of reference

Galley Hill Green

A way-sign lost in the brambles, another signpost in the passage of time. The year telescopes down with each remembered walk swallowed up by the next one. The days are condensed, each shorter than the last (now getting longer), summer sunshine stored away to illuminate winter hibernation. Continue reading “Galley Hill Green”

Frames of reference