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.
Let’s say I was there.
In a hotel near three reservoirs for Wigan.
Let’s say I slipped out back on an unexpected walk,
on a circular path…
I’m back. It’s been a while. The woods behind my parents’ house on Tickenham Ridge haven’t changed hugely in the last few months – the seasons have cycled through and for now the hill is a shining riot of green in a dozen shades.
An hour earlier I was in these woods in company with my two boys, my sister, brother-in-law, two nephews and my Dad, but this time I am alone and things feel different.
Clevedon: the most boring seaside town in all England; filled with dusty, fusty little sepia-tinted shops, selling dull stuff like lacework, horse brasses and pink and blue vintage porcelain salt-and-pepper sets in the shape of Edwardian ladies.
At least that’s what I used to think…
Tickenham, North Somerset is a long village strung along the B3130 road to Clevedon. On the surface, it’s nothing special, a fairly non-descript ribbon development – the kind of place you either live in or pass through on the way to somewhere else.
It seems ridiculous now, but until I set out on this walk it hadn’t occurred to me that Wallsend, is literally the Wall’s End. As you follow the course of the walk, there are plenty more Wall inspired place names like this to take in, such as Walltown, Wall and Heddon On The Wall.
I’ve just returned from a three-day visit to the Port Eliot Festival, in St Germans, Cornwall. It’s hard to put into words just how good and right the place and atmosphere felt. On the last stage of the drive you wind through a series of roads that alternately give views across small fields that are…