Friday 12th July 2013
The Old Berkley Golf Course, Boars Hill
If you leave Oxford, heading due south and cross over the A34 and head towards Abingdon, you’ll soon see the turn-off for Boars Hill. There are many reasons to visit, the perpendicular tower of Ripon Hall, once an Anglican theological college, but now rebadged Foxcombe Hall, and now used by the Open University.
There’s also Lord Berkley’s Gold Course, Abraham Wood, and Chilswell Fields, fine examples of acid grassland, immortalised by Matthew Arnold in his poem Thyrsis. Here’s the excerpt I have in mind.
Runs it not here, the track by Childsworth Farm,
Up past the wood, to where the elm-tree crowns
The hill behind whose ridge the sunset flames?
The signal-elm, that looks on Ilsley Downs,
This winter-eve is warm,
Humid the air; leafless, yet soft as spring,
The tender purple spray on copse and briers;
And that sweet City with her dreaming spires,
She needs not June for beauty’s heightening,
And it’s those dreaming spires that is the reason I’ve wanted to come up here with a camera for years! The view is spectacular, although the elm tree is , in fact an oak! The view is often obscured by cloud, or haze, and all too often I was in the wrong place at the right time. The more eagle-eyed amongst you will note that the compact camera has made a reappearance, as I wanted a wide-angle view that I can’t get with the SLR.
But let’s not get too worried about the technicalities, just enjoy the view. It’s quite something isn’t it?