Down in Frosted Hollows … The Land That Time Forgot …

 

    When I show you photographs of the countryside where I live it is usually on walks around the village, the fields behind my home and the soft undulating hills.  But if you go deeper inland you will find something much more primeval.  Places where glaciers gouged out the landscape many millions of years ago.

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    There are thickets of trees, ancient hedgerows, streams and ponds – places to explore with no sign of human habitation.  Mostly it is grazing land around us but down in the hollows only mares tails grow, the land is soggy and the streams run swiftly.  Trees fall down and no one hears them as they creak and crash to the ground.

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     Foxes hunt down their prey with no interference and rooks and crows gather in the treetops kaaking and cawing in conversation.  If you look closely you will see the burrows of rabbits dug between the roots of trees, and badgers holts in the side of soft-earthed banks, evidence of their occupation from the soil that has been removed and deposited outside.  If you look up you will see buzzards circling and soaring, mewling to one another as they keep an eye on the ground below, ready to swoop on an unsuspecting mouse or shrew.

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    In autumn wild field mushrooms grow at your feet and the hedgerows are full of berries, because no one ventures down here to pick them, and the only people to pass through are the odd pack of walkers following the public  footpaths across the fields, a relic of the days when it was the shortest way between villages.

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    It is a secret place -  I always feel as though I am stepping through history when I am down here, there is a medieval fish pond and a small pumping station that was used when the water supply to the village was short.  (At the side of our house we have an old well, the water from which was used to wash clothes, we still have the hand pump that was removed when the well was filled in).

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     The field directly behind our house is called Brabazon Field  named after Sir William Brabazon who owned the land many centuries ago – and if you look carefully on a dry day in summer you can see the grass is paler in colour where it has grown over the foundations of his Manor House.  The area is steeped in history and the oldest house in the village that is still standing was of cruck construction and built in the 1600’s.

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     When I was a child I loved to go exploring; a free range girl who made up stories and told little white lies.  As an adult, I know my younger self would have  loved to make a den down here in the hollows, where she could retreat into a world of her own; a world of make believe that I have never quite grown out of.

Comments

  1. It's reassuring that wild places like that still exist. It does look very wet- I guess that's why it hasn't been built on. Super pictures :o)

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    1. I think the boggy bad drainage could be its saviour - at the moment the land is farmed but Council owned - I can only guess that it will be developed eventually - I just hope I'm not around to witness it.

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  2. Even at my age, I love a bit of make believe. Our house before the one we are in now was built in the 1650's and Charles 11 was on the throne ……. the Great Fire of London was yet to come !! It always fascinated me. Anyone could knock on our door and graze their sheep on our lawn !! …. no-one ever did though !! We now live in a Victorian house which is equally fascinating. We find all sorts of things when we are gardening.
    You live in a beautiful area Elaine and it's lovely to share it with you. XXXX

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    1. When we moved here the old lady next door was a wealth of information about the village - a lot of the old cottages in the village were demolished as uninhabitable - luckily a few survived. Our home was built in the 30's and only had an outside lavatory and no running water, she used to do the 'laying out' for the village and after she died they found her laying out board where the dead bodies were laid and dressed. Fascinating stuff. She also remembered 'gleaning' in the fields after the corn harvest - my how times have changed.

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  3. Hello Elaine,
    And, a world that we are sure you will never grow old enough to be parted from!

    This is indeed a special place since there are so few truly wild, uninhabited places left in England. How wonderful that you can explore it undisturbed with only your imagination for company. When we lived in Herefordshire there were many fine cruck framed buildings in the area, signs of very early settlements. Yes, this is living history!

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    1. The old house lay empty for many years, since the 60's, then it was bought and renovated - I was able to go in before this happened, there was still an old-fashioned range, one room up, one room down and a wash house. The deeds that went with the house were fascinating - all in beautiful latin script.

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  4. Dear Elaine,
    while I read your beautiful lines, I thought: 'That is the ideal landscape for a children's book." And then, in the end, you speak of yourself as a child - won't you make something out of that?

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    1. I guess I could if I put my mind to it Britta - certainly something to think about.

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  5. There is still plenty of real countryside about; your pictures are proof. Why people wish to cram themselves into nasty towns, I will never understand.

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    1. Not everyone likes the wide open spaces like you and me Cro - I suppose I could live in a town if I had to.

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  6. I loved this post and the photos. Lately I've been watching Larkrise to Candleford so seeing your photos of the land's winter primitiveness and reading it's history through your words, indeed makes it a very special place.

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    1. Thanks Bren. I loved the tv series and read Larkrise to Candleford many times - at one time there were only 30 people who lived in this hamlet, now there are one hundred houses and I don'[t know half the faces that I see around. There used to be lots of little shops, blacksmith, a post office etc in the 1800's just like Candleford - now all we have is a church and a pub!

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  7. You can just feel the history in some places can't you? When I see a really ancient tree I think of the things it must have witnessed.

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    1. Ever since we have lived here I have always though of the hollows as a special place - I do feel drawn to it.

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  8. It is astonishing that 'civilisation' can be kept at bay on such a small island. I always enjoyed Time Team when they went up in a helicopter to see the outlines of old settlements shadowed in the grass.

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    1. I agree, there seem to be so few 'wild' places left that haven't been built on or developed. I used to enjoy that aspect of Time Team too.

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  9. Such atmosphere in these photographs. Its just as well perhaps that most want to live in cities or these places would all be built over by now!

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    1. I guess it will probably happen eventually - but I like to think not - at least in my lifetime.

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  10. How you brought the hollows to life....your descriptive writing had me hanging onto your every word....I hunted out rabbit holes and searched for signs of badgers.....tell you what, how about we both have a den down there....You bring the drinks and I'll bring the sandwiches! What a wonderful place and such lovely pictures to bring the scenes to life! I did enjoy this!!! xxx

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    1. Thanks Dina - both having a den down there sounds like fun - when can we start.

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  11. That is why I don't enjoy being in a big city. I would much prefer to be out in the countryside!

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    1. I suppose each has their merits but I am a country girl at heart.

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  12. I enjoyed that short trip into history, thank you.

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  13. As a chil, I wandered the the dirt lanes between corn fields chasing monarch butterflies and pretending that I was Rapunzel wearing a wig of long braids made out of an old sheet. Today I can't return to my childhood country roads because they are now a super highway and houses. So lucky are you that you can return to your childhood in a mystical magical countryside as you say lost in time. Love the photos.

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    1. I can just see you with sheets made into braids - Rapunzel was one of my favourite fairy stories. It is a shame how modernisation eats up our childhoods.

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  14. This girl would just love to get lost here too! You are so lucky to have that history and beauty right out your door! To have a place to go where you don't hear anything....I can only imagine how soothing that is! Such stunning photos!! Wishing you a wonderful week Elaine!!! Nicole xo

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    1. Thanks Nicole - I am sure you would love it - it is very peaceful down there - just you and the wildlife.

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  15. I live in your world Elaine....now and as a child. The are at the back of your home is
    very beautiful and unspoilt, I hope you would consider showing us this area during the summer months. I would love to see the changes. It looks a magical place.

    We have a well in our garden (still used). Mr P has added a mechanical pump so that I can top the pond up with crystal clear water.

    Enjoy your space Elaine..........

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    1. I will take some photos later in the year - it looks even better in summer when the trees are in full leaf - it seems even more of a secret place then.

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  16. That should of course read 'the area at the back of your home' My computer seems to have a mind of its own this morning.

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  17. We have hidden away hollows like this not so far from us, parts of the landscape that feel older than the land that surrounds them. When my children were small I used to tell them they were the kind of places where spells could be cast and where wishes come true!

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    1. I guess it's because they haven't been cultivated in any way - magical places.

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  18. Wonderful, timeless pictures. I don't mind open countryside but always feel a bit uneasy in woods. Flighty xx

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    1. I sort of agree Flighty - when I go into woods I am always looking over my shoulder - and it is so easy to get lost in woods too - I have no sense of direction.

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  19. Ah, lovely - I think we are two of a kind, Elaine. All the houses in our small hamlet have their own well (and septic tank drainage!) but I'm very happy to be living with mod cons. None of the inhabitants want any further improvements (other than better broadband) such as street lighting. Without it we can see the stars!
    I note Lucille's comment above about being surprised that our small island still has unspoilt, untrammelled areas. Britain is often described as being grossly over-populated but happily there are still many places in which one can happily get lost!

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    1. We don't have any street lights either and only electricity - no gas.

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  20. I just love these pictures and words. <3

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    1. That's kind of you to say - thanks for visiting.

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  21. I hope it remains undisturbed for a good few years yet, a haven for wildlife and those who appreciate it.

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    1. It being built on doesn't bear thinking about.

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  22. Oh, yes a childhood den would be wonderful. The children from our village used to make dens in the local wood, near the brook and by the sheep dip. How wonderful to have this area of history and mystery so close to your home. Do share more with us through the seasons:)

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    1. I will try to remember to take more photos through the seasons - it will be interesting to show how it changes.

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  23. What a wonderful and interesting place and your description is just wonderful too! Beautifully written! xx

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    1. Thanks Amy - kind of you to say so.

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  24. Thanks for guiding us along as you meandered down the paths of childhood through such a mystical magical place :)

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  25. Beautiful written and images to match, when I was little I would roam for hours and not see a soul. Now I live on the outer edges of Leeds, which I love as I still can find a space in the countryside were no one else walks...
    Amanda xx

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    1. Thanks Amanda. You don't seem to see children roaming and having adventures any more - such a pity - they are missing out on such a lot.

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    2. You made me smile with this comment, you should see my teenage son and his friends, they do a lot of roaming about, only in the dark as they are asleep most of the day...
      Amanda xx

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    3. You made me smile with this comment, you should see my teenage son and his friends, they do a lot of roaming about, only in the dark as they are asleep most of the day...
      Amanda xx

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  26. A wonderful story of place. Most children, I think, would love to roam through those fields and marshy areas. I, myself, would enjoy a walk there, dreaming of ages past.

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    1. The incline is very steep to get there so I don't visit it as often as I used to - coming back up the hill is torture and my heart beats like a drum with the effort - the ground is pretty treacherous underfoot too - great care has to be taken where you place each step or you could sink without a trace! I have found many a dead sheep that have died trying to get unstuck.

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  27. Lovely spot. I think I would have loved that as a child or as an adult. I still love hidden places to wander and dream

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    1. A great place to have an adventure - or for complete solitude.

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  28. Dear Elaine - I so enjoyed seeing your photos of this wild place. Looks like somewhere I would so enjoy visiting. In fact there are similar places here where I live. Thanks for sharing. Hope you are having a great day.

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    1. Hi Debbie
      When we used to walk the dogs down there they loved it and would soon disappear unless I kept them in check - I have spent many a happy hour just wandering.

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  29. The hidden gems are the most beautiful, aren't they Elaine. I love these photos.

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  30. I remember admiring your lovely pictures of the countryside last year. So now when I look at my views of the countryside I think of you too! Sarah x

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  31. Of course you have lovely views now too - aren't we the lucky ones.

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  32. Fabulous photos and I really do like those boots!! Suzy x

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