Upper Vatch Mill & a ghost I never saw

Dead rats aside, there was one area of the garden that always made me feel a little uneasy. As the name suggests, there was once a mill here. Upper Vatch Mill was one of several in the area and reputedly the highest around Stroud, at seven storeys. In the late 18th century it was a paper mill, but by the 1820s had become a cloth-mill. By the end of the Victorian era, the mill was gone.

We are the Lambeth trees: Open Orchard

Nationally many apple and other orchards have vanished; abandoned or grubbed up because there’s no longer any money in them.

There’s a mournful chapter on the country’s last orchards in Paul Kingsnorth’s Real England.

Yet, here in London one group of people have set out to plant a series of new orchards, filling South London with saplings of hope.

A half-hidden route to the past: Bristol’s Johnny Ball Lane

For a long time it didn’t have a name. It was just the lane that ran along the back of Mum and Dad’s bookshop…Sometimes I’d dare a peek over the top of the wall, but all that could easily be seen was an area thick with buddleia and other wild flowerings.

My imagination was quick to populate the space further with various other unnamed horrors and I’d quickly scramble back down to the ground and in through the door before sliding the bolts back across in delicious relief.