We walked this in two stages. First, on a crisp morning we stepped out along The Ridgeway from Overton Hill towards Barbary Castle. The day was full of promise and the path clear and true, pointing straight off into the distance. And it was almost hypnotic, so we kept going further and further all the way to Hackpen Whitehorse. We didn’t make it all the way to Barbary Castle as we realised that if we didn’t stop we would have trouble making it back to the car.
What did we see that day? Yellow hammers looping along the hawthorn hedge opposite the yellowing rape seed fields. A dark hollow dew pond surrounded by a black tangle of bramble branches, all monochrome eeriness. Here the supernatural didn’t seem that far away. The Hackpen Whitehorse hidden down below the ridge, impossible to get a clear picture unless you walk right into the valley. And Beech Clumps all skeletal branches. Fields a sombre brown colour but highlighted by acid green.
Under vast skies, we finally crossed the road from Hackpen Whitehorse and walked to Barbury Castle. This day we walked as far as Ogbourne St. George. The fields were worryingly brown. It looked like ripe corn at first but when you realise it was grass, suddenly it was not so appealing. The hedgerows were dotted with bright spots of colour. Blue filed geraniums and cerise Rosebay willow-herb were spectacular amongst the olive green hawthorns heavy with red berries. Red kites hung in the air for a few moments before they melted silently away.
I’m looking forward to working these sketches up into etchings.