Monday, 20 September 2010
I recently read Gilbert White’s The Natural History of Selborne (1788). Selborne, the Hampshire village of which he was curate, is walkable (10km) from Alton, an hour down the line from my station. It was nice the other day, I needed air and exercise so off I went.
I got the route from a Time Out website and followed it on the OS map:
Click (as always) to enlarge. Alton is just off the map, top left. I followed the green blobbed footpath to Selborne.
The countryside in the south-east can be boring -- vast fields of monoculture -- and especially when either the sun’s not out or wind and sky aren’t in some way lively. Sun there was when I left Alton station, though it didn’t last the whole walk, but also monotonous fields, if interestingly contoured, this being chalk country. And unlike Surrey, where one spends too much time in dark woods, after the first mile or two there was alternating woodland, some of it lovely oak, and small fields. And unlike in Surrey where the only livestock are girls’ horses, there were proper animals -- cows and sheep -- as well.
I took some photos, though as a photographer I've rather lost heart since Neil, my son-in-law, got a new camera that takes images that are sharper, brighter and more interesting. I suppose I could buy one but doubt if I’d want to carry it on walks: it’s bulkier and heavier, against mine which could go in my pocket if the dust and fluff didn’t get in the works.
Anyway, by the time the scenery got nice, the sun had gone in and I've concluded that, at least with my camera, taking photographs when there’s no sun is a waste of time. But here are some of the least useless -- including a couple for which the flash provided the sun.
The sort of countryside White walked and rode (and observed and hunted) in:
Inside his church (the arches are Norman, at the stage en route from rounded to pointed):