In Epping Forest

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On May Day, a public holiday given over to celebrations of fertility we went looking for maypoles and morris dancers. We went out to Epping Forest and parked by Queen Elizabeth’s Hunting Lodge. Straightaway, even before leaving the car, there were grand old characterful trees springing back into life, bursting with new born leaves. Maypoles and morris dancers proved more elusive. Continue reading “In Epping Forest”

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Chequers

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Suddenly last weekend there was unexpected sunshine. I fancied the coast, Sue wanted to go west, we wasted time weighing pros and cons and set out later than we should have. We finally settled on the Chilterns, Sue’s homeland and we began our walk from Butler’s Cross at the foot of Coombe Hill, site of geography field trips to the trig point at its summit. The surrounding hedgerows suggested snakes & ladders as much as chequers and the soundtrack was the song of the skylark. Continue reading “Chequers”

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The Devil’s Frying Pan

On this misty morning I’m reminded of a foggy walk last summer to see the Devil’s Frying Pan, though it looked more like the Devil’s Steaming Pan with montbretia (crocosmia x crocosmiiflora) turned up to gas mark 10. Nothing was visible beyond the edge of the cliff path except for a lovely glowing halo, like a white rainbow. Continue reading “The Devil’s Frying Pan”

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William Morris Gallery

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The William Morris Gallery is at Water House in Lloyd Park, Forest Road, Walthamstow. William Morris was fourteen when his family moved here in 1848. They had downsized from Woodford Hall where William’s playground had been Epping Forest. At Water House he played in the grounds, particularly the moated island where he imagined there be dragons. Continue reading “William Morris Gallery”

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The Walls Of Toledo

Lottie said, ‘I don’t know why you’re wasting your time photographing autumn leaves, the story of Toledo is in its walls’. So, never one to ignore an idea for a blog post, and because there are few trees in Toledo, I began collecting images of the casco murallas. Continue reading “The Walls Of Toledo”

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Friday On Sunday

We walked to Friday Street on Remembrance Sunday. The approach from the north was down Hollow Lane which seemed a promising start. A deep cut road through the sandstone overhung with trees leading us into ancient woodlands. On the way we passed congregations remembering the fallen. All around leaves were falling, like memento mori. Luckily the sun was shining and it seemed we were granted a last fantastic dying burst of colour before the winter. Continue reading “Friday On Sunday”

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Ambresbury Banks

A circuit of Ambresbury Banks in Epping Forest, an ancient earthwork built circa 500BC. According to local legend it was the site of the defeat and death of the great British Queen Boudicca at the hands of the Romans in AD61. The Iron Age banks and ditches formed an enclosure used as a cattle fold. Nowadays it is overgrown with beech trees and was covered with a carpet of leaves and beechmast when we visited. A series of lovely undulations striped by tree shadows in leaf filtered light. Continue reading “Ambresbury Banks”

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Bridges & Towpaths

Three Mills is just off the A12 (aka the East Cross Route or the Blackwall Tunnel Northern Approach) an unforgiving stretch of urban motorway that flies over east London with little regard for what lies below. We’ve driven past countless times, most often en route to Brighton, but never noticed. The focus was always straight ahead or checking the mirrors or watching for speed cameras or perhaps just occasionally, Look there’s the Fire Station. There was never any reason to stop, in fact it’s quite difficult to do so and it took a few attempts, but eventually we arrived at the Tesco car park. Continue reading “Bridges & Towpaths”

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Holloway Junction

I’ve had this image as the desktop background on my computer for the last three years. It was the highlight of a walk from West Wycombe to Hughenden Manor. We passed many grand buildings and sweeping landscapes but this place, at the intersection of two sunken paths and the curious steps leading up to where the light filters down through the leaves – Beam me up, Scotty – this was my favourite moment of the walk. Continue reading “Holloway Junction”

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Castle Hedingham

We left the car by the duck pond at Wickham St Paul. After breakfast at Spencer’s Farm Shop of coffee and the best bacon sandwiches north of Columbia Road Market we walked down Rectory Lane past hedgerows heavy with hips and haws, and with elderberries and blackberries. There were hazelnuts and crab apples, hops, sloes, bullace, sweet chestnuts and acorns. There was ivy and bryony and guelder rose too, and there was lots of surprising blessed sunshine. Continue reading “Castle Hedingham”

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