Selborne

Selborne was the perfect rendezvous, being halfway between London and Salisbury. We came down and Howard Phipps came up and we met in the middle, in a field just off Gracious Street, the car park of the Gilbert White Museum, where we transferred the contents of Howard’s car boot to ours, in preparation for his exhibition in the Rowley Gallery window. But not before a lovely sunny walk around the outskirts of the village. And this map, embedded in the vicarage wall, dated 2 June 1953, is as old as I am. Continue reading “Selborne”

Frames of reference

The Dorset Coast

The Dorset Coast: from Chesil Beach to the Isle of Purbeck.

Living in south west Wiltshire I am frequently drawn to neighbouring Dorset to walk some of the paths along its geologically varied coastline. I like to draw or paint on location, and I subsequently develop a number of my observations into wood engravings or linocuts. Both are methods of making relief prints, the former being a very English art form developed by Thomas Bewick in the 18th Century, where the engraving is made on highly polished end grain boxwood, which on completion is inked with a roller and printed by hand, in my case using an Albion Press made in 1862. Continue reading “The Dorset Coast”

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Epping Long Green (2)

We first discovered Epping Long Green a week ago – Epping Long Green (1) – but then realised we’d only seen a part of it, so today we came back to explore its full length. We started from Epping Green and walked west, retracing our steps from last week as far as this fingerpost. Then we turned around and walked back and continued east to the furthest extent before returning to where we started from. But not before a quick figure-of-eight turnaround in the woods. Continue reading “Epping Long Green (2)”

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Pantalica

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”

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Greensted Church

From Chipping Ongar we followed the Essex Way, a long straight track heading west out of town through fields of barley, towards a distant dust storm. The path was fragrant with chamomile under our feet, and luckily, by the time we reached it, the combine harvester had stopped to let us pass. Continue reading “Greensted Church”

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Comfrey & Coggeshall Grange Barn

The plan was to take a circular walk from Kelvedon to Coggeshall and back again via Feering through gentle Essex farming countryside. That was the promise of the guidebook, Walks In The Country Near London, but it had slept on our bookshelf since 2003 and it needed waking up. Or perhaps it’s fairer to say we needed waking up, because it seemed like we stumbled and fell at the first hurdle. Continue reading “Comfrey & Coggeshall Grange Barn”

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Tewin & Back Again

Lower Green at Tewin, a pretty village midway between Welwyn and Hertford, 30 miles north of London and the perfect place for a circular countryside walk. We parked beside the green and just as I stepped out a football came flying past, but too quick for me to kick back, it continued into the road and lodged itself under our car. Which is why this picture appears so tranquil. The hectic to and fro momentarily interrupted. “Please mister, can we have our ball back?” Continue reading “Tewin & Back Again”

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A Walk In The New Forest

The other side of this sign warns WATCH OUT Day and Night and it’s just where five donkeys came out of the darkness into our headlights as we arrived the night before. We saw the donkeys but didn’t see the sign. But that’s not why I took the photograph. I was curious about the holly, at first sight it’s a tree but then higher up it’s more like a vine reaching for the branches of the oak tree. High risk root. Continue reading “A Walk In The New Forest”

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Passeggiata In Ortigia

passeggiata /ˌpasɛˈdʒɑːtə/ noun (especially in Italy or Italian-speaking areas) a leisurely walk or stroll, especially one taken in the evening for the purpose of socializing.”

Ortigia is a small island, just under 1km square, attached to the Sicilian city of Syracuse by three road bridges. “It forms the charming old town, best explored on foot and certainly the most pleasant place to stay in the city.” We were there for two weeks this summer and during our stay we discovered many circuitous routes as we strolled around its maze of ancient streets and alleyways. Continue reading “Passeggiata In Ortigia”

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To Win Green

Win Green From Berwick Down

We asked Howard Phipps to fill our window with a display of his wood engravings and linocuts. So it seemed like a good idea to go down and collect them, and take a walk around some of the places that had inspired them. We followed a circuit up to Win Green, a prominent landmark and the highest point in Cranborne Chase, crowned by a clump of beech trees on a Bronze Age bowl barrow. Continue reading “To Win Green”

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