Sunday, 1 April 2012

Gun's Lane Close, re-discovered

The 28th March 2012 was really, really exciting for me. You see, the previous week, on Tuesday, I had an 'aha' moment as I walked around our field down past the willows...that grow in a line....beside the sunken rut...that is clearly an ancient roadway. I put the whole lot together and worked out that the willows and the roadway were one; united in the passage of time of hundreds of years but still there, like a footprint that refused to go away. Last year, in this magical area we found two species of orchids too.
spotted orchid
bee orchid

the two 'ditches' that have appeared over the years flanked by pussy willow trees
The field on the right was called Gun's Lane Close

I contacted out local historian and she came with me to inspect my roadway; the two distinct lines that have risen up over the years in the fallow field at the end of our road. She looked at them and decided they were Victorian drains. The field was subject to flooding. I was despondent. Flattenend. I was expecting her to say it was a Highway to somewhere mega important. Damn!!!!! A few minutes later she reflected. She remembered that she had seen a map of the area where another field cut into ours. Yes. This was the boundary and the ditch had been filled in and all that is showing now is the drain on either of the old ditch...and the willow trees....just as they must have been, hundreds of years before. They have grown here, pollarded before they even began life.  Extrordinary. Year, after year, after year they must have pushed up shoots and been cut down repeatedly but they never gave up . Never. Here they are, just as they were then. Lush and magnificnet. In a line, bounding either side of the 'ditch'.

There is one willow tree that stands alone, away from the 'path'. Later, about an hour later, Eleanor re-appeared with a picture under her arm and two copies of ancient maps. My field was on it and there, quite plainly to be seen is my little area....'Gun's Lane Close'. It is THRILLING!!!!! On a separate aerial photograph, there is a second line where the top boundary is shown......and that magnificent willow is standing on it.....a remnant from olden times.

At last I have the answer. I have felt for many years that there was something special about this little bit of the field; the way the willow trees were growing in a line. I have picnicked there with my gandchildren over the years. It has a peaceful calmness about it, a certain indescribable magic; now I know why.
PS A few days later I discovered a further four trees that are growing in a row, but I have not identified the species yet. I'lll get a picture up soon!


Sue said...

What a fabulous story. A little piece of history on your very doorstep, so interesting; thanks for telling us all about it.
I have a soft spot for willows. I take cuttings and grow them...they are my favourite native tree. I can't wait to see the ones you can't yet identify.

jacqueline said...

Dearest sweet Moiral, such a wonderful story!! It's so amazing to have a little history on your field!! This is really interesting and thanks so much for sharing! Happy Easter sweet friend! i hope it was wonderful and everything sweet! Happy week and love to you!