Monday, 11 May 2009

Blackcaps and briony

Through bluebelled Gillfield with my old friend and fellow landscape obsessive, Judith. At the edge of the wood we catch the fruity song of the blackcap and spot him in a tree. The ashes are still almost bare in comparison with the oaks - in for a splash?

On Fanshawe Gate Lane the hedgerow is twined with tall twists of briony:

Briony May 09

On the way back, we talk about the peasant poet John Clare and his deep emotional connection with the landscape in which he lived - to the extent that he became ill when moving only 3 miles from it. Judith went on to talk about what the government call "placemaking" and how they have sort of co-opted this idea of emotional connection with place as a way in to "consultation" with local people. Although this can be good in many ways, she feels that it is often shallow and a distraction from the more deep rooted issues. A bit like Tesco stocking organic veg I suppose.


  1. I still haven't made it to Gillfield Wood, the lure of seeing the black bryony is considerable though so will get there after I get back from Dorset.

  2. Well, well, well... thank you for your comments (and discussion(!) ) about Clare... for 10 years I lived in Totley Rise, so know your part of the Yorkshire/Derbyshire borderlands well.

    Are you 'Clare Society' members? If not really worth joining, especially as our Festival Weekend is not too far away (in time - July), (in place - Helpston).

    I am now based in East Devon, so bryony is not exactly a stranger to me!

    Roger R.