Saturday, 7 January 2012

Pegsdon Hills

As a Londoner by birth and background, I have to say I would probably find it quite difficult to move back to London. I’m a country lad now. All wearing my waxed jacket, flat cap, monocle, plus fours, land rover and shooting serfs, whilst throttling quails with my bare hands and making blood offerings to angry harvest gods who look like the hairy bikers. (not really, I don’t own a gas guzzling land rover!)

One of my favourite places in my adopted home of Bedfordshire is Pegsdon Hills. On the edge of the Chilterns it gives rewarding views after an exerting walk up. We drove past the Hills today, so it inspired us both to write our Haiku’s (check today’s “A Haiku a day”) and I dug through the photos we took of the area over the last couple of summers and in the last Spring just gone (it is obvious these are not January skies in the photos!)

Pegsdon Hills were forged by glaciers in the last ice age and you can see it in the contours of the land. Hills have been shoved up as the edge of the glacier pushed southwards, the power of the cold and ice testing the limits of the temperate world.

It’s amazing to think the ice cap covered most of the UK back then. It feels magical standing up on the ridge and looking down into the valleys and onwards to the beautiful patchwork fields which define southern England. It’s easy to imagine a sheet of ice extending way out in front of you, like a Neolithic pioneer eking out a living skirting the boundaries of their territory.

The ridge at the top of the hills is an old trail, which can be traced all the way to the South-West, dating back to pre-historic times, so I’m sure they are probably some flint tools secreted away somewhere. I haven’t found any yet, but sometimes there is a little sharp glint in the chalky soil, I pick it up excitedly, but it isn’t a tool, just a flint chipped naturally. One day.

The wildlife and nature is incredible, buzzards and red kites circle. A parliament (what a cool collective noun – I had to look it up) of Rooks, murders of crows all lie on the sunny hill banks, floating up in the air like a black cloud when disturbed.

Lapwings nest in a protected field too, beautiful birds.

But the most fun thing we’ve seen is two stoats, playing. We were downwind of them, so they didn’t see or smell us, we stood completely still and watched them play for several minutes. I managed to get a short film, only one of them stars in this clip I’m afraid, it’s a shame as they were chasing each other and rolling around, having great fun. But it’s still a decent clip involving some impressive gymnastics.

And the sunsets. The first pic is a tree that stands alone and defiant on the top of the ridge. It’s bent in the wind, but it stands strong. We’re very fond of this tree.

You can see the same tree in this next photo…. if you follow the line of the fence post upwards, it hits a bushy tree on the skyline… well look right of that, there is a skinny little tree, in fact it doesn’t even look like a tree, it just looks like two tiny dots on top of each other… that’s the tree in the photo above!

Another sunset shot.

* – No serfs were harmed in the writing of this blog.

** – All of the photos (and the film) are mine, all mine and you should ask permission if you wish to reproduce, on pain of having me invoke a harvest god come round your house and beat seven shades of shit out of you with his threshing stick.

1 comment:

Rosanna said...

I loved this post. The description of how the hills were formed by the glacier was fascinating. Really gave a feel of how time shapes and changes all landscapes. Looks like a beautiful place to walk!