Saturday, 14 February 2009

Hollow Lanes

Gilbert White, writing in 'The Natural History of Selbourne' describes 'two hollow lanes' which 'are, by the traffic of ages, and the fretting of water, worn that they look more like water-courses than roads. In places they are reduced sixteen or eighteen feet beneath the level of the fields'.
'These rugged gloomy scenes affright the ladies when they peep down into them from the paths above, and make timid horsemen shudder when they ride along them; but delight the naturalist with their various botany, and particularly with their filices with which they abound.'
This hollow lane (from Kearsney up to Scotland Common) must have been used for hundreds of years, the base wearing lower and lower over the ages. It is, of course, 'abounded by filices' or ferns.
Water levels in the valleys are high, and the Stour burst its banks, after the rain and snow.
An early flower shows inconspicuously on Butchers Broom,
and the Stodmarsh flock of Lesser Redpolls, Siskins and Goldfinches has grown to some 40-odd in number .
Tom Tit


abbey meadows said...

Interesting post and some nice pics to go with it.

Warren Baker said...

One of my favourite people Gilbert White, I keep reading his 'natural History Of selbourne'
Like the Redpoll shots.

Mary said...

Lovely! You find the best books to read. Mike tells me that here "hollow lanes" are called "sunken lanes" and during the Civil War were often used as defensive positions. I just learned something from both of you :-) Your photos of the area are very appealing. The Stour is very high! We saw high water crossing Illinois on the way to St. Louis and I imagine back home the Ohio is rising with the melting ice and rains.