Is it possible to be haunted by a place? I think that I may be. In this case it is Ashley Vale in Bristol – an exceptional urban oasis caught between the tracks, containing allotments, woods, hilltops and a pub next door to a farm.
Landscapes, imagined and remembered, have always played a central role in literature.
The fascinating relationship between writers and the British landscape is currently explored in a new exhibition at The British Library: Writing Britain: Wastelands to Wonderlands. Here are some thoughts it inspired.
In you went on foot, down two tight lanes,
ambling, sloping through the allotments,
each earth pocket nailed down like a promise,
with bramble and beanstalk to mark the bounds:
A hundred little empires of roll-ups and potatoes.