Monday, 29 December 2014

Spite and Malice, Rawdon

I remember hunting for these some five or six years ago with no luck, so I was very pleased to find it within 15 minutes of getting off the bus this time.

The Cragg wood area of Rawdon is a lovely rambling maze of wall lined carriage-ways and ginnels, with very charming eccentricities to the layout.

Further down the hill towards the Aire Valley, the neat walls start crumbling, the ivy begins to encroach. We asked some friendly locals for directions, who pointed us towards the dark ginnel that leads out of the woods. 

We had sought the Spite and Malice ginnel, named for a feud between the owners of the estates it separated, Barbara Jones in her excellent work Grottoes and Follies suggested that a folly built here still stood in the grounds of a now-demolished house.

The story goes that the Ripley's at Acacia to the west, and the Briggs at Cliffe Cottage to the east disliked each other for some unknown reason and built progressively taller and taller walls to prevent their neighbours from viewing their property. To complicate things further, they both built follies near to the walls which overlooked even the towering walls.

 A much more comprehensive history and theorising as to the background of this story can be found at A History of Rawdon, but as I have found only one old image of the folly online I thought I would share mine too. 

Friday, 31 October 2014


Nearly 2 years ago I went to Llangernyw to see the ancient Yew there: the circumstances of this visit seemed to inspire us and subtly influence our lives in many ways. Wounded Wolf are publishing Phil's book and music called Angelystor with photos by me, you can pre-order it today HERE

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Aetheric Anomalies - Aura Video

We have been very excited to be in collaboration with Stuart from Aetheric Anomalies, who has created a beautiful video to accompany the Hawthonn track, Aura.

More videos to follow, and more Hawthonn tracks very soon! 

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Bryn Gwyn

I'd visited Bryn Gwyn some years ago but was glad to return this weekend with the smallest boy, Phil, our friends John Godbert and his lovely wife Christine. We had been staying across the Menai Strait near a Romano-Celtic hillfort, where you could gaze across the water, at this it's narrowest point, picturing the last face off between the Druids and the Romans.

We had stopped in at Plas Newydd, the golf-course-neat lawn and steep entrance fee (ta national trust) kept us at a respectable distance, but I always feel the manicured monument is somewhat lacking. I love this old photo of Newgrange because of it's wildness, the pebble-dash restoration work is shocking in comparison:

Conservation of old sites is important but it does seem to be regularly attained at a cost to the beauty and atmosphere of the site. The concrete shells of Barclodiad y Gawres, Carnpapple, Unstan seem to rob the places of a little of their magic. 

Bryn Gwyn has little to no interference or preservation, the nearby henge of Castell Bryn Gwyn is tidy but not oppressively so. 

The stones are a short walk away, used as a gateway between two fields.

It's hard to see from this two lonely giants what the largest stone circle in Wales would have been, the stones lean in sympathy with each other. The tallest is a huge shard of rock, just inches thick at the top. Notches show where the lintel of a now vanished cottage stood supported by it. The remains of a newborn baby, a young child, a juvenile and an adult were buried close to where I stood to take this photo, four lives poured into the earth. My little boy ate blackberries from the hedge as I held him in my arms there, fruit from a special place that has germinated it's magic in us. 

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

St Bega's, Bassenthwaite

Down by the edge of the lake, a hawthorn grows. The church of St Bega stands in isolation, we sing a hymn to Bega to take us there.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Where the Hawthonn Grows

The wheel keeps turning, it's a constant process of grieving and celebrating, sometimes both at the same time. The baby keeps us busy but we've had been working on a project together in memory of Jhonn Balance, who influenced us both in many ways. More music, remote psycho-geography, a pilgrimage to follow here.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Ripon, Ledsham and Ledston

It's been six months since I last blogged, I think by June last year I was starting to find walking difficult and sleeping even harder so I had a little less to write about and no motivation to do so. However I'm pleased to say that now I can walk again, although I have a little bundle to carry around with me. Lovernios Aelfric Legard was born on October 17th last year, he has the exploring bug already and we took the opportunity this winter to take him on various ecclesiastical adventures to try and upstage nativity scenes around Yorkshire. Ripon Cathedral was somewhere we'd been meaning to take a closer look at every since we watched the rather wonderful series on the English Church on channel 4. The first episode mentions the Saxon crypt, which has been in use since 672. We were also quite taken by the choir, which has a host of angels carved above us.