The Panshanger Oak

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”

Frames of reference

Garden & Countryside

Sometimes a garden can be the best room in the house, a great place to spend time with friends and family, to walk together and share its beauty, to be diverted and distracted, to pass the time and forget ourselves. We can wander off and make discoveries, tell tales, find reflections and common ground. Continue reading “Garden & Countryside”

Frames of reference

Hatfield & The North


This post is for Hank & Paula, friends from the USA who have visited London so many times I think they know it better than we do. They really should be showing us the sights but instead we go out of town for a change. Last time we went to the Henry Moore Foundation at Much Hadham so it seemed appropriate that this time we should meet by his Large Spindle Piece outside King’s Cross station. Continue reading “Hatfield & The North”

Frames of reference

Heaven’s Rope Swing


Heaven’s Gate is a Capability Brown designed viewpoint overlooking Longleat House in Wiltshire. It’s a wonderful spot, a place to relax and drift away as the clouds unfold before your eyes.

The ground rises sharply to the east as far as Park Hill and Prospect Hill, on the top of which a viewpoint known as Heaven’s Gate looks out over the park. The slopes are planted with hanging beech woods, proposed by Brown but planted towards the end of the C18. Continue reading “Heaven’s Rope Swing”

Frames of reference