Tagged with open spaces



What is it about autumn that is so appealing? We all love the summer, but it’s a time of disruption – people away on holidays, the streets crammed with kids and tourists, it can be a bit much. Autumn feels like a return to normality, to sanity. The students are back, it’s time to slow … Continue reading

Early Fox Hunting

The government recently tried to legalise fox hunting again, but failed in part due to the badly written bill. Here si an account when such debates just didn’t happen, from Highways and Byways of Oxford and the Cotswolds: “The traveller may have a rapid glance at all the various features of the landscape: vast rolling … Continue reading

English Commons

Across England and Wales, there are open spaces called ‘commons’ which are generally rough open spaces for fairs and walking dogs. But what does this term mean? This is from Lord Eversley, Commons Forests & Footpaths: “In most parts of England ansd Wales there exist many ranges of open land, which hae never been subject … Continue reading


This is a highly commended book by poets Paul Farley and Michael Symmons Roberts, subtitled Journeys into England’s True Wilderness, about the regions that divide towns and cities from the countryside They make an interesting point in terms of these regions being a sort of pressure release for teenagers, where parks, school playgrounds and gardens … Continue reading

Graveyards to Public Parks

It seems strange that Victorian people used to go walking in graveyards, but there was a good reason for it. As the cities became overcrowded, the graveyards became dangerously overcrowded, so many were closed and cemeteries and burial grounds built on the outskirts of cities and towns from 1854 when the Health in Towns Act … Continue reading



Yesterday the sun was shinoing brightly, lots of people were out walking dogs and children, then rain started like fairy mist. It wasn’t worth getting out my raincoat. Then I saw it – a double rainbow. It ended in the trees on either side of the playing field.  I saw a woman walking towards me … Continue reading

“The Cry of the Poor”

“The Cry of the Poor- A Letter from 16 Working Men to the 16 aldermen of the city November 1871” This is a rather extraordinary document, the author(s) of which are unknown, but it is a beautifully written document, and tells us much about life in Bristol at the time. It claims to have been … Continue reading

Free Range Journalism

Some years ago I campaigned to stop the building on a city park. Many of the arguments that were thrown at us are eerily similar to those being kicked around regarding press freedom. It’s mostly about the dangers of freedom. But it is dangers that help us to evolve, indeed, you could argue that they … Continue reading

Stillpoint Lizzie

Stillpoint Lizzie

The old woman seemed to have been around for ever. Maybe she was older than the earth she shuffled upon. Messy white hair. Rheumy eyes. A hunchback, a dwarf. A creature from a mythical past, folded in on herself though long decades of crazy isolation. Or so she seemed. She pushed a pram, covered with … Continue reading