The Revd Eric Smith and his wife arrived at the rectory in and they invited well-known psychic researcher, Harry Price, to visit, setting off nexplicable poltergeist activity where belongings were broken and stones thrown at the family and Harry Price. Witnesses claimed to have seen these appear in from of their eyes, although most of the writing was illegible and unintelligible. The family left and successive Rectors refused to live in the rectory and who would have blamed them? Nothing happened until exactly eleven months later when the rectory burned down after an oil lamp fell over in the hall.
Locals claimed to have seen a nuns face peering from an upstairs window and ghostly figures cavorting around. When Price returned yet again in , he discovered the jawbone of a young woman and gave it a Christian burial in an attempt to bring peace to the site. Locals still report supernatural happenings in the graveyard and the place has cemented its reputation as a spooky place to visit, regardless of whether these events happened or not. I knew there was no such thing as phantoms; the many witnesses must be mad, or lying.
I knew I could visit Borley Rectory without fear, return without harm. These are the things I thought I knew. I now understand the true meaning of terror. Drive in either direction on the B near Newmarket and Moulton and you will reach a crossroads caused by an intersection with the B Nearby is the unmarked grave where Joseph, a young lad from a traveler family, took his own life in the 17th Century and was subsequently buried.
This is believed to be his grave and gypsy families erected a cross there in the seventies. Conversely there is also a well established tradition of race goers visiting the grave for good luck too. Should the poor women survive her ducking, she would then immolated on a wooden pyre, surrounded by baying crowds.
Locals report multiple sighting of the ghosts of these witches, all of them carrying their own faggots —the piles of wood on which they would later be burned: a particularly sadistic executioners touch. Staff at the Adam and Eve pub report a sighting of a ghostly hand holding a head in the car park, the terrifying sensation of somebody running hands through their hair and odd noises.
Lord Sheffield, who died at the inn in is believed to be the culprit here. The aptly named part of Norwich known as Tombland is the site of the Grey Lady hauntings, believed to be the earthly manifestation of a very unhappy and inadvertent victim of the plague. When the disease killed the occupants of the nearby Augustine Steward building, the house was boarded up for several weeks to prevent people entering or leaving but sadly a young girl in the house had survived the plague, only to starve to death, unable to escape.
Her grey robes fade away to nothingness below the knees as she drifts around several location in the older parts of the city, it is understandable that after such confinement, unable to escape, her ghost is certainly not going to limit itself to one site. Perusing the Bury Free Press last spring I was intrigued by a letter from a Jean Batram who spoke of her disquiet after seeing a house apparently appear then disappear moments later as she drove through the village of Rougham. Looking across the newly harrowed field I saw a large house on its own very, very plainly. Several decades later, his own great grandson reported the same phenomena whilst out with his horse and carriage.
He drove past it and upon his return trip, noticed the house was no longer there.
A Grave Mistake (Tales of a Dartmoor Village Book 5)
What is so odd about these sightings is that the house is described as not only being very large, making one wonder how locals had such little awareness of such a house being constructed, but was also of Georgian appearance. Remember how under populated rural regions were then and still are? You could not hope to slip in and out of a village let alone build a house in one, unnoticed.
The building of such a house would have involved hundreds of locals, from those sourcing and supplying the raw materials to the many who would have been intrigued and gossiped about the potential inhabitants. The mystery continues although I look away from the alleged site whenever we drive past, frightened that I might accidentally see it which would be NOT a good thing for this frightened of ghost houses person. Rougham Airfield What it is about this little village that makes it so seductive to ghosts? After the wars end, most of the airfields north of the village were returned to the farmers and were reintegrated into the surrounding arable fields, although a few acres became the Rougham Industrial Estate, whilst the remaining grass taxi and runways were turned over for commercial and civil use.
The control tower remains though, and now forms the hub of the Airfield Museum with frequent open days, kite festivals and other events, giving the public a chance to visit.
He was seen and waved to by several of his colleagues as they too arrived back or headed towards their own planes. He seemed to not know that he had died, according to his friends, and apart from their knowing that he was dead, his ghost gave no indication of being in anything other than the rudest of health. Hauntings at the airfield were said to have increased from the seventies onwards, with locals reporting sightings of ghostly apparitions of American servicemen walking the fields and runways of the base and the noise of aircraft could be heard as they landed and took off.
They relaxed and drank here and Glenn Miller was reputed to have set out on his fateful flight after visiting the bar. Huge and black with eyes the size of saucers, the Black Shuck pads almost soundlessly behind you, dogging your step and getting closer and closer: your inevitable fate, should you look directly into those eyes, is death within six months to a year. The Black Shuck is a local version of a legend that is common to many parts of the UK and even in East Anglia, he is known by other names: the Galleytrot in Suffolk and Old Scarfe in other parts of Norfolk.
In this version, a Dane, a Saxon and Shuck the dog were inseparable friends who were drowned whilst out fishing one day and the Dane ended up being washed up at Beeston while his friend, the Saxon, washed up at Overstrand. The benefits of tales and legends such as these are pretty clear. What better way to keep people safely at home as night fell, away from beaches, cliff edges and lonely dark lanes than by frightening them? Or they may have functioned as a way to explain what was then, the inexplicable- tragedies, misadventure and disappearances as people attempted to find their way home in the dark, in an inhospitable place.
Curious children can be protected from drowning by an over elaborate tale of how one of their compatriots nearly drowned themselves after venturing too close to the sea. East Anglia is littered get it? This latter description sounds more like the effects of the intense heat of a bolt of lightning. Should you wish to toast the legend of the Black Shuck then there are available locally, several fine ales brewed by some small independent breweries in regional hostelries or via off licences.
Hellhound , a Suffolk brewery based in Hadleigh,started up only a few years ago, has Cerberus as its logo and brews Black Shuck, a 3. We drank it at a Norwich pub called The Murderers, a suitably named place for an ale named after a dark legend. From a land haunted by dogs and people, we turn to a land haunted by an entire disappeared village, a place once inhabited by real Suffolk folk, busy and full of life. By the eleventh century, Dunwich, right on the edge of Suffolk where it meets the tea coloured waters of the North Sea, was one of the greatest ports on the entire east coast with a naval base, monasteries, churches, huge public buildings and its own mint.
Locals lived well off the fat of their labours in shipbuilding and trade and a fishing fleet of more than seventy ships went out every day. From its earliest beginnings as a Roman fort, Dunwich became the capital of a Saxon kingdom and the place where St Felix converted East Anglians to Christianity, and the tenth largest in England with two parliamentary seats.
There was much to be lost when the town eventually tumbled into the North Sea that had provided it with such a good living. Walberswick became prosperous off the back of this because ships were diverted there and this caused animosity between the two towns. During the subsequent storms, houses, churches and windmills were lost and by the sea had engulfed the market place and Dunwich was lost. All that was left was the 13th century Franciscan friary on the edge of the cliff and the Leper Hospital chapel in the present churchyard.
Coastal erosion has not ceased and the land continues to recede at a steady old rate, first recorded in Roman times. The soft boulder clay of this coastline is crowned by a layer of shingle which has an essential impermanence, shifting so much the coastal mappers cannot keep up. Man has not helped either with the construction, in the early 20th century, of a new pier at Lowestoft. That one church tower remained upright on the beach until its eventual collapse in The thundering surge took not only the village, all six parishes of it, but also wiped out an entire hunting forest, hills and the harbour which was stopped up by a shingle bank so impenetrable, its fate was sealed forever.
Today Dunwich is a little village of less than residents although its numbers swell hugely during the tourist season. The Flora tearooms cook and serve up hundreds of thousands of plates of expertly friend fish and chips and the heath teams with walkers and bird watchers. Near to the pub is the Dunwich Museum that tells the tale of this lost place. That lost undersea world, our nearest thing to Atlantis has attracted many pilgrims over the years who come to sit on the sand and perch on the cliff tops, listening for the church bells, ringing their futile and haunted peels from the bottom of the North Sea.
They hear the bells, infinitessimally muted by a hundred of more feet of waters, hear the cries of ghostly children playing on the beach at dusk and see the phantom horseman astride his steed. Said to be a former squire of the Dunwich heathlands now owned by the National Trust , he only appears during the full moon when the tides turn, scaring those that encounter him. Finally, if you are brave and daft enough to visit St James Church at dusk, you may bump into the spectral remains of the leper inhabitants who are said to haunt the churches graveyard.
That old East Anglian ghost mascot, the Black Shuck likes it here too and its glowing red eyes have been reported to peer at visitors who come here at dusk who in their right mind would want to come to such a spooky place at night? Dunwich has a plethora of animal ghosts with flocks of ghost sheep and cows seen along the shoreline, reminders of the real animals who were once raised here and perished during the storms, their water logged corpses washed up along the shore for months afterwards.
One of the worst tales for sheer weirdness is the encounter a young couple had with a pair of ghostly disembodied legs along the Helena Walk Trail in Hearing strange footsteps following them, they turned around to see these spooky floating legs, hovering a few feet above the pathway. Wearing dark trousers and boots, the legs ran away into the trees lining the pathway and may have belonged to the ghost of the brother of the Lord of the Manor who apparently fell in love with a local serving maid.
Banned from ever seeing her again, he is said to have pined away and died from a broken heart. I do not know how he became separated from the rest of his body. Yet all too often films and books with stories of child ghosts and spirits is there a difference between the two? What lies behind this might be the fear of the partially formed spiritual and religious persona, a child with an incomplete grasp on adult morality and therefore more vulnerable to inculcation by evil. Or maybe the thought of these ghostly spectral children are too vivid a reminder of the vulnerability of our own children, of our family happiness and security?
What could be worse than the spectre of your child, a child, so near and yet so far away, hovering in the doorway, in a wood or other familiar place? I think that as a mother, I would be driven out of my mind by this, not comforted. With ghosts and specifically the ghosts of children A fear of something I want to keep outside has somehow made its way inside and lodged itself into the realms of possibility- that one of my own children might, one day, die before me.
Millingtons story was written in a time when some Protestant and Catholics were making all manner of wild accusations at each other, so it may have had a nefarious and political intent. But folk tales tend to contain a grain of truth…. These circular ponds were created during the Ice Age when water beneath the surface froze to form lenses of ice, pushing the soil upwards. Starting in nearby Stow Beddon, the Great Eastern Pingo Trail is an eight-mile walk that encompasses this phenomena and many other local sights.
To date, no other place has been strongly associated with the tale and it is now believed to be at least partially based upon a true series of events in the sixteenth century.
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Other sources say the Vikings named the woods Waneland, a place of worship which may be another origin of the legend. In pagan times it has been alleged that people sacrificed unwanted children to appease and praise the gods, often by leaving them in remote places. Could these two tales have melded- the pagan woodland sacrifices and the 16th century deaths into one combined source of the legend?
The legend tells that these two children were left in the care of their uncle at Griston Hall on the edge of the woods, following the death of their parents. The uncle plotted to dispose of the two children to stake his claim to the wealth after hiring two cut throats to take them and murder them in the woods. One of the cut throats appear to have possessed a stronger moral code than the uncle though only ever so slightly though and killed the other in order to prevent him from going ahead with the murder.
The surviving cut throat abandoned them there remember the children were aged three and one under two and they died of exposure and starvation. Their bodies were found under an oak tree where robins had covered their bodies with leaves, an absolutely heartbreaking detail. In , the tree that the babes had reputedly been left under was struck by lightning and destroyed. Griston Hall used to contain a wood carving that was described as depicting the tale of the Babes in the Wood, placed there by a family descendant as reminder of his ancestral cruelty.
The village signs of Griston and Watton commemorate the tale and locals will tell of the white wraiths seen flitting from tree to tree in the woods as darkness falls. Ground fog or the spirits of these unfortunate children? Who knows. Watch the clip below which shows a pregnant woman taking umbrage with anti-abortion activists standing outside a BPAS clinic in London. The activists are filming women as they attend consultations, and they wear recording equipment around their necks. Initially they denied filming when she challenges them but watch their capitulation. Aside from taking a moment to marvel at her general awesomeness, we need to stop and think about some of the wider ramifications of allowing people to harass women in public spaces and whether the law should indeed be amended to make this either a criminal act or more easily dealt with through a civil claim.
The Back Off campaign calls for the establishment of zones free from anti-abortion activists in the area directly around registered clinics and pregnancy advice bureaux. Many of these people bear large banners of dismembered foetuses, strew pathways with plastic foetuses and graphic images, distribute leaflets containing misleading information about abortion, and follow and question women as they enter or leave. Often, these people carry cameras strapped to their chests or positioned on a tripod. Women report feeling intimidated and distressed by this activity as they try to access a lawful healthcare service in confidence.
Appeals to the churches who support these people to reflect on the impact on women have failed.
The Damson Tree (Tales of a Dartmoor Village Book 1)
Women should feel confident that they can approach centres for pregnancy advice and abortion care without fear of intimidation, or anxious that their identity will be compromised by protesters filming outside. Establishing zones free from anti-abortion activists around clinics would provide the reassurance and security women need. There is absolutely no need for the space outside clinics to become a battleground. Wherever one stands on abortion — pregnant women deserve better than this.
Roger Whale (Author of Olives and Whortleberries)
Any supposed concern for the sacred vessel of the pregnant female form does not extend to caring about the effects their intimidation might have upon her and her pregnancy. As far as they are concerned and I draw my conclusions about it from their actions her rights will always come second to their right to challenge her. People should be able to express their views but what anti-abortionists are doing in this case does not constitute an appeal to politicans or even a show of hands.
It is not intended as an entreaty to those that make the law. What it actually is attempting to do is frighten, humiliate and bully a pregnant woman into doing what the protestors want her to do. The protesters intend to make accessing health care which may or may not include a termination such a perceived and actual risk to a womans privacy and dignity that she would rather not do it.
And if she does, the emotional and psychological damage from this harassment may be far greater than any residual effects of the termination. The threat of public exposure is NO basis upon which to make a decision to have a child or not. It is a particularly vicious form of blackmail that says: use a clinic that offers terminations and we will put the film of you walking up its steps online. Research into Post Traumatic Stress Disorder PTSD has shown a positive correlation between severity of symptoms and the perception of threat during the trigger event s.
PTSD has also been diagnosed in the people who work in these clinics because of the threatening conditions they work in. The development of mental health problems may thus occur in women who eventually decide against a termination after using the clinic, flying in the face of the apparent concern these protestors claim they have for women and their unborn foetuses.
The anti-abortion protesters claim that they are not harassing women according to our current laws , because each individual episode does not constitute the course of harassing action required for successful prosecution. They claim that the freedom of speech is an inalienable right.
As things stand now, should a woman decide to pursue a claim of intimidation against her, current legislation requires making a complaint to the police about each individual instance or episode by each individual harasser. So on top of the breach of privacy endured by a woman, further invasions of privacy is incurred through the necessary reporting and subsequent legal action. She will have to make a statement, identify those involved, engage legal representation, attend court, possibly be questioned and endure any media exposure that might result. And the activists know this.
Let me describe some of the harassment that women are exposed to as they try to access advice, support and possibly a termination through a clinic such as the ones run by the BPAS. These tactics also impact upon staff working there or in nearby clinical facilities:. The anti-abortion protestors will again maintain that they operate within the law. It used to be legal to send ten year old children to work in cotton mills but that does not mean that it was right and fair at that time.
The rules and legal conventions of a society may be created in a post-hoc kind of way because, as is often the case , they are preceded by the acts that make them necessary. Amazingly enough, there is no definitive legislation that stops people filming members of the public as they use health-care with or without their knowledge , even if it might be an offence to publish those images without their consent. Filming under these circumstances needs to be stopped and women and the men who respect them are demanding change as a direct result of their own lived experience.
Many of the British based anti abortion activists are supported by the even more virulent American organisations who have the right to free speech enshrined within the First Amendment, which has no literal legal equivalent in the UK. Unfortunately the protestors appear, at times, to conflate free speech with hate speech, and the latter is something the UK does legislate against. It is up to the law to clarify this in relation to what is said to women by protesters in the public spaces outside clinics. As it stands now, a woman can pursue individual claims of harassment under the Public Order Act but these would have to be multiple named claims same as before against each individual which again further reduces her right to privacy and anonymity.
Anti-abortion organisations must not make the mistake of believing a lack of pursuance under harassment laws means that women do not feel harassed by them. Women are not going to use an equally troublesome and archaic legal system that makes is near impossible to gain adequate sanctions. The same limitations apply to the clinics themselves. Each one has the option of taking out restraining orders against individuals or a group, but this is costly, time consuming and the protestors merely circumvent this by reorganising themselves under a new organisational name. The European Convention on Human Rights recognises a right to peaceful assembly in its article It also recognises a right to freedom of expression, allowing individuals to express their opinions.
In the UK, by law an organiser of a demonstration must inform the local police of their intentions, six days prior to the event and the police have the right to make any changes to that demonstration that they deem necessary. In addition, they organise multiple single gatherings at every clinic in a region that offers termination of pregnancy. As with the law on protests, the police have the right to amend the location of an assembly, limit the number of attendees and shorten the length of time any protest runs for. It is this part of legislation which could be made more appropriate for anti abortion protests outside clinics.
But what it will protect against is pregnant women having their actual personal space invaded: it will protect them from being filmed and photographed and the subsequent placing of the film online; from having literature pushed upon them; from having people questioning them at a distance of less than several feet, jostling and acting as a barrier between the woman and the care she seeks out.
It may be feasible to enshrine new legislation in a similar fashion to that which exists for research facilities where animal experimentation takes place: clauses were included in the Serious Organised Crime Act and Police Act These did not ban all protests or free speech but provided a corridor of protection where women and employees could move in and out of the vicinity free from harassment and infringements of personal space. It also made it easier to protect their cars from attack from people placing incendiary or other devices underneath them, an act of issue- terrorism.
These attacks have also happened in other nations where abortion is illegal. It is an incontrovertible truth that the abortion rate remains pretty stable and similar whether abortion is protected by a countries laws or not. It is an incontrovertible truth that making abortion illegal correlates with a high maternal morbidity and mortality rate. Making abortion illegal will NOT result in more women choosing to give birth or hand over their newborns for adoption. Instead they will seek out an illegal abortion and they will seek it with the same determination, courage and strength that sees them successfully negotiating the threatening hordes of demonstrators outside clinics in order that they retain reproductive autonomy and body agency.
What DOES reduce the rates of abortion is excellent and early access to education in contraception, in relationships, sexuality and autonomy alongside easy and inexpensive access to contraception. It is not a coincidence that many of the groups opposing lawful access to termination of pregnancy also oppose sex education in schools and the provision of contraception to teenagers.
What I find especially arrogant about the act of foisting anti abortion literature on women whilst they attend clinics is the presumption that the women actually need that information at that moment in time or are receptive to it. The act of gaining permission for a termination under British law involves plenty of opportunities to inform oneself as one goes through the legal and clinical protocols. Women talk of the hours of thought expended in coming to a decision to terminate their pregnancy or not to.
Behind the anti abortion lobby lies a profoundly anti women rhetoric, built upon paternalistic ideas of women being undeserving of full agency; of displaced jealousy over their ability to conceive and gestate children; of needing male input and control of their decisions. This rhetoric is usually underpinned by a religious justification- religion being the ultimate in patriarchal systems.
One in three women will choose to have a termination of pregnancy and I feel a measure of quiet pride that I live in a country that is still supportive of that right. The right to protest is not harmed by the womens right to not be protested at directly outside a medical facility.
There are plenty of opportunities for those against abortion to make their feelings known, both online and in the larger world. We must not become a society where decisions are fueled by fear of exposure and approbation by those who do not have to stay and face the consequences of those decisions. For more information and support, contact the British Pregnancy Advisory Service.
Guardian newspaper infographic. The coast of Suffolk with its small towns clustered on spits of land, carved out and isolated by tides and rivers, became a place where traditionally the up-and-coming middle classes from our engine-room cities came to rest up and regain their spirits after maintaining the empire. The two rivers meet at Shotley Gate, merge and eventually flow into the North Sea where the north bank is crowned by the international port and docks of Felixstowe and the harbour town and port of Harwich on the south point.
A passenger ferry transports people between the two. Humans also live on the river and there are quite a few houseboats tilting on the mudflats when the river runs low, then slowly righting themselves as the tide turns and refloats them: the red-sailed Thames sailing barges are a common sight at Pin Mill too as they were once built here.
Buttermans Bay to the right of the pub was named after the fast schooners that carried dairy produce from the Channel Islands and to this day there is still an annual Thames Barge Match held here even though the halcyon days of trading here have now passed. The Orwell River was once a prime trading route between Ipswich, the European mainland and the rest of the country and in the Middle Ages, the wool produced by wealthy East Anglian merchants and farmers was exported via the town whilst hemp, coal, iron and timber was brought in.
The once bustling docks area in Ipswich is now slowly being restored although the waters bob with yachts and houseboats now instead of the merchants ships that once plied their trade there. Once out in the fresh air, the clanking of halyards in the breeze and puttering of outboard motors, coupled with the sounds of men and women working on their boats will remind you that this is very much a working boatyard and river as opposed to a place for the flip-collared deck shoe-shod regatta brigade.
Brick-edged creeks and streams edged with mossy seaweed run past the paths, the water clear and ice-cold. The brackish waters of the saltings and tidal mud flats act as a magnet for overwintering birds: waders such as the egrets-all orange beak and spindly-legged; avocets which breed here in the summer and the plovers and oyster catchers which feed and breed, then rest on the tongues of land that bisect the lagoons. They are partially camouflaged by the lush summer foliage of sea-lavender and purslane and breeding linnets soar overhead too, far above the scrubby gorse that lines the opposite side of the river and up to the woodlands clustered on the bluffs.
The sandy heathland is a welcoming habitat for the gorse that flowers from mid winter onwards, providing nectar rich blooms for insects to feed on, which are, in turn, eaten by the linnets. The acid-yellow of its flowers carry a heady scent of coconut and saffron on the breeze, melding with the salt and dankness of the estuarine mud to create the unique smell of Pin Mill. On warmer days when the tide is low children paddle by the pub, stepping gingerly over the pebbles on the shore that runs alongside the raised outdoor seating area and car-park whilst dogs plunge in, recklessly.
They are overlooked by the pub windows, the shore reached by a ladder fixed to its wall which is rapidly submerged as the tide comes in. It is possible to head west, in the opposite direction too, upriver, by turning left as you walk down the shaded narrow lane to arrive at the pub which will then be on your right. In the summer, the fields that surround Wolverstone Park are filled with red campion, cornflowers, clover, jack-in-the-pulpit and tall thistles, stiff purple bristles bursting out of their calyxes and as you approach Woolverstone Marina, you will get wonderful views across to the Orwell Bridge which carries the A14 over the river.
Smoked trout, salmon and mackerel plus shell on prawns, crawfish and crab came with Marie Rose sauce and the obligatory granary bread and salad. A starter of goats cheese and red onion marmalade on a shoe sized crouton was large enough to be a main course; the cheese was young and crumbly, lacking the barnyard rigor of older cheeses and possessed instead, a lemony rime.
Sticky toffee pudding with banana fudge ice cream, chosen from a menu of different ice-cream flavours rounded off a lighter meal than we had originally intended; the other choices of pork and apple burgers, smoked haddock risotto and fish stew with a tomato and chili sauce had sold out. We arrived late and were happy we were fed at all. I imagine the Fritto Misto would too- a heap of deep fried prawns, squid, whitebait and gougons of white fish served with a pot of coleslaw.
Nothing was too much trouble for them, including my complete inability to decide between the ice-cream flavours, a decision they appeared to be as invested in as I was. Their advice was considered, patient and great fun too. Staff did not know we were coming, were not told we were reviewing and indeed remained unaware of this until this feature came out. At no time have we received fiscal reward for this review.
November is past its midpoint and sitting here at five pm with the nighttime already pressing against the windows, it is hard to imagine that in just over a month, the winter darkness reaches its zenith and will start to ebb. By now we have nearly forgotten the long summer nights when sleep can prove elusive in a light room, with the thickest of window coverings struggling to keep out those rays sharp enough to find the small gaps between curtains and the edge of the window. Despite the increasing lack of street lights in towns and cities, none of us in the western world will ever experience the dark skies of our ancestors.
That blackness as thick as felt, lit only by stars and the wash of the moon, encouraged us to adopt the diurnal rhythms of the natural world, even when we learned how to push back against the night with light and fire. We have more than our share of crepuscular days when it seems the sky barely makes it past the grey of first light and the moisture in the air is omnipresent and oppressive so the urge to give in and hibernate is understandable.
However on those days when our skies are larkspur blue and the air snaps with cold, that is the time to get out and enjoy East Anglia at its most beautiful. Living near the countryside provides us with ample opportunity to defy the impending hours of darkness with hundreds of square miles of outdoor space to explore: nature reserves, country lanes, footpaths and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty AONB.
The postcard perfect images of a landscape under a blanket of snow appear to be more elusive now, sadly. The only vehicle on the road was a snow plough whose operator took pity on me, stopped and gave me a lift all the way even though he was only going as far as the Alpheton turn off.
Like many rural areas all over the country, the downside of snow is that it can bring chaos to the narrow local roads making them impassable but on a fine clear day, there are parts of Suffolk and Norfolk which actually become more accessible in the Winter because the seasonal restrictions on open access land are lifted.
From November to February, the Brecks and Suffolks eastern fringes are opened up for walkers and are at their best, populated by the sere white barked birch, needled clumps of gorse and springy broom and patchworked by the faded purples and pinks of heathers. Protected miniature ecosystems flourish among the dark pine lines along the horizon and along the deliberately uncultivated field margins.
Goldcrests and siskins, lapwings, crossbills, turtle dove, firecrests and woodcock all live and feed here alongside the ever present muntjac and roe deer. The latter is home to many cormorants, silhouetted against the branches of the trees- living Japanese paintings as they hold out their black wings and warm themselves in the winter sun. Clumsy Egyptian geese putter about by the lake side, tearing up and eating the grass and churning it into a muddy slipway. On the river Stour, keep the binoculars handy to spot flocks of Brent Geese their clamouring will give them away , the red breasted mergnasers and long tailed ducks and as you approach its estuary, white fronted geese, goldeneyes and snow buntings, peeping away.
The mud flats and salt marshes are important feeding grounds and migration sites for waders and wildfowl with shelduck, redshank and avocets all common visitors. As the new year beds in, rooks begin to nest again, rising and falling in dizzying spirals and columns against a background of arable land, edged by lines of tall trees, home for centuries to these birds.
Starlings too, murmurate across the skies at dusk, their screeches felt rather than heard. Lackford Lakes is one of the best places to see this awe inspiring sight and has reported starling gatherings of over birds. This is also the place to enjoy the sundowner barks of the many deer that populate the woods and copses nearby.
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The surrounding fen meadows provide panoramic views over the entire Stour Valley and a bucolic place to escape to. River walks along the Stour can be taken from a number of picturesque locations and several of them also follow parts of the old railway line from Clare to Sudbury, via Long Melford and Lavenham plus the beauty of Clare Castle Country Park and its circular walk. This section is about ten miles or you can start off at Bures Hamlet and walk its winding roads through valley cuts, taking the five mile route from Bures Hamlet, Lamarsh and Alphamstone, circling back again to end up from whence you came.
The Sudbury water meadows the oldest grazed land in England make a lovely place to visit in the Winter when the bare trees allow an even more sweeping view from one side of the valley to another and herons, egrets and kingfishers dip in and out of sight.
Jude and Consequences. The Dynasts. Florence Emily Dugdale. Age and Youth. Late Drama and T. The Coming of the End. His Death and After. In Retrospect. Back Matter Pages About this book Introduction This biography contains new disclosures and interpretations of evidence, neglecting nothing significant in Hardy's early years or his later life. It draws from innumerable sources, including all his published writings not least the poems , biographies of him and of contemporaries, correspondence of friends and acquaintances, Emma Hardy's diaries, and many unpublished letters from her and Florence Hardy, and brief background introductions indicate how some of Hardy's friends influenced his career or enriched his life.
Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Set once again in an un-named village on Dartmoor in Devon. But this time the tale is an intriguing Murder Mystery. Local businessman Mark Bosworth has gone missing in unusual circumstances. He is probably the most disliked man in the village, taking great delight in hurting and upsetting peopl This is the fifth book in the series Tales of a Dartmoor Village by Roger Whale.
He is probably the most disliked man in the village, taking great delight in hurting and upsetting people. His absence is welcomed by many, but did any of them have a hand in his disappearance? Detective Sergeant Shirley Ashton is called in to investigate. She is helped by Detective Constable Newman Chaffe but they get nowhere until an idea is put to them by local pensioner, Charlie Blundell. This leads them to a surprise and a whole new set of puzzles.
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