Skip to main content

'Beating the bounds', 'Between the Oaks, along the hedge and down by the brook', and other walks

'Beating the bounds' is a traditional Ascension Day ritual in which the whole parish territorially walked its perimeter and beat children so they wouldn't forget the precise features. There's probably a better explanation than this elsewhere but those are the points I remember.

'Between the Oaks, along the hedge and down by the brook' conjures an impression of bygone rural pedestrian days when meeting someone was arranged with reference to well known landscape features. In Colley Gate for example we had the 'Water Stile', 'The Gulley', 'Lutley Gutter' - a green lane, the Razzle Dazzle - a perilous, sloping brick paved cut through which was treacherous in icy conditions, the 70 Steps - to this day dividing opinion as to the exact number; all wonderfully nostalgic, echoing a time shift identity and a society of character born out of toil and hardship.
A Black Country Rural Idyl from the early-mid 20th Century

Nostalgia is a 'return to suffering or pain', but many of us view the old days and the old ways as something lost yet wonderful, and I think in many cases its the loss of simplicity combined with modern complexities in our day to day lives that creates a yearning for something closer to nature.

Exploring the locality in which we live can be a rewarding experience with positive mental and physical health benefits, especially if carried out on foot with a number of friends or like minded people. The exploration combined with research at the local archives is a most satisfying exercise and one which helps us bond with the land whether it be new or old territory.

A recent publication entitled 'Hidden Histories' provides a wealth of ideas and places to visit, prompting exploration and investigation of the British landscape.
We hope to have a hidden history walk with the writer at Highbury Park early in the new year. Highbury lends itself perfectly to the topic with heat shattered stones from a Bronze Age Burnt Mound, Mediaeval Ridge and Furrow, The Henbury Estate, Highbury - Joeseph Chamberlain's home from 1880-1914 and much more. 








Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Highbury Park Friends January 2017 newsletter

http://highburyparkfriends.org.uk/text/newsletter/HPFbulletinjanuary2017.pdf

Join Highbury Park Friends to get up to date information about this wonderful park - follow the link above for the latest newsletter.

There's so much going on already and this is set to increase as the Chamberlain Highbury Trust look to bring many new and exciting ideas to the Highbury estate and adjoining park land. Check out their website on the links below

https://chamberlainhighburytrust.wordpress.com

https://www.facebook.com/ChamberlainHighbury/

Weekly and monthly activities incuding 'Woodland Wednesdays' with the Rangers and B&BCWT, supported by NIA (Nature Improvement Area) funding.

Woodland Play after school club, every Wednesday at the Orchard - Highbury Orchard Community Interest Company oversee this -

http://www.peopleandland.org.uk/wp/?page_id=250

http://www.peopleandland.org.uk/wp/







A visiting student from Virginia asks -

Questions
Q1 What do you think are the biggest benefits of teaching and using traditional woodland management techniques in city parks?
A1. The essence of a Ranger’s role is to engage the community at large with the aim of encouraging more people to use parks and green spaces. Therefore a range of themes, topics and activities are employed to meet the broad interests and diverse nature of the public, involving people of all ages, abilities, ethnicities etc. 
The ‘woodland’ theme seems to have universal appeal and is steeped in history, ecology, science, spirituality, mythology and culturally, much more.
So generally we can assume people want to learn something new, make something using natural resources and have an involvement in their local green space, so that a few basic skills, some knowledge and a morsel of understanding related to ecological principles allows people to feel good about themselves and enables them to share these good feelings, acquired skills and gained knowledge with…

Ecotones and Succession = TENSION

The term 'ecotone' cropped up this week as a Tree Officer colleague and I looked at Holders Woods in an exercise to describe the woodland structure, composition and current management.
The word ecotone was coined from a combination of eco(logy) plus -tone, from the Greek tonos or tension – in other words, a place where ecologies are in tension. (Wiki)

Ecotones are generally recognised for ecological richness and a good place to observe the 'tensions' and interactions between certain animals and plants.

A woodland edge for example is often regarded as the richest part of a woodland, especially if the edge is bordered by grassland meadow or water.

The Rea Valley in this regard is a wonderful mix of urban ecosystems and ecotones, and one of my favourite locations is the developing oak woodland at the edge of Holders Woods. Undoubtedly the result of acorn planting Jays, we find oaks ranging from year 1 to year 50, but with a majority of young trees around 10-20 years, sugge…